Mission Statement: The LAURA RECOVERY CENTER exists to prevent abductions and runaways and to recover missing children by fostering a Triangle of Trust among law enforcement, community and a missing child's family.

In loving memory of Laura Kate Smither

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"Hope leads us on the path unknown, as we forge together, lighting the way home ..."

The Laura Recovery Center proudly announces that Friendswood High School graduate Alexander Rudd is the 20th recipient of the Laura Smither Scholarship. This annual $3,000 merit based scholarship honors the memory of Laura Kate Smither, who was abducted and murdered in Friendswood, April 3, 1997 and the committee is overjoyed to give the scholarship to Alex Rudd this year.

Alex was born in Indiana with British heritage. He traveled with his family and lived in Singapore for 6 years before moving to Friendswood. In 7th Grade he wrote and composed a song to raise money for lymphoma charities in the UK to help a friend of his, Nils, who was battling the disease. The song is entitled “Turning Grey Skies to Blue for Nils” which you can see on YouTube. In addition, Alex has explored sacred choral music with the St. Paul's Choral Scholars, was passionate about playing soccer, and is an enthusiastic student. In his Freshman Year at Friendswood High School he found his passion - musical theater. This year he gave an outstanding performance as the Lead Actor in FHS's production of “Les Miserables”, starring as Jean Valjean. This Summer, Alex is performing the Male Lead in the TUTS production of “Once On This Island” at Miller Outdoor Theater, June 7 – 10.

The small town of Friendswood was forever changed by the devastating abduction and murder of Laura Kate Smither on April 3rd 1997. Laura became Friendswood's child that day and every parent became more vigilant for the predators that we learned were amongst us. But the angels amongst us triumphed, with neighbours helping neighbours, and citizens stepping forward to find their town's missing child. The incredible outpouring of love that this Friendswood community gave to the Smither family and the organization to search for Laura, became the standard for searching for a missing child. Nineteen years after Laura lost her life, the man responsible for this heinous crime finally confessed to being responsible for her death, and for the murders of Jessica Cain, Kelli Cox and Tiffany Johnston in addition. On April 3rd, 2017 - the City of Friendswood marked the 20th anniversary of Laura's abduction and murder, with a public celebration and remembrance of Laura's life, in Stevenson Park, Friendswood, Texas. Hundreds of people came to the event, and the community recognized that the Triangle of Trust that was established in the search for Laura, was how every child should be searched for.

The celebration concluded with the releasing of butterflies into the park. Butterflies are a symbol of resurrection and our hope in the future.

Thank you for praying the Justice For Laura Novena with us these past many years.

On September 1, 2016, as a result of exceptional work by the Friendswood Police Department and the Texas Rangers, we received an answer to our prayers when William Reece was indicted in Galveston County for the abduction and murder of Laura Smither and Jessica Cain. He has been moved to Oklahoma where he is awaiting trial , for the abduction and murder of Tiffany Johnston. When this case is concluded we hope that Reece will be returned to Galveston County to face his charges for Laura and Jessica.

As a result of this we are suspending the Novena. We are so grateful to you for praying with us, and ask that you continue to find forgiveness in your hearts for this broken individual who committed these crimes. Laura's Legacy is one of love, and in that love, there must be forgiveness.

God bless each and every one of you.
From our hearts to yours

David, Bob and Gay Smither
Remember Laura



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Prayer of Thanksgiving

Merciful and Loving God,

We give you thanks for hearing our prayers over these past 20 years, and for granting us the assurance that the man who murdered our precious Laura will never again have the opportunity to harm another child. We surrender him to your justice – while we still lift him up into your mercy.

We know that in the unfathomable depths of your love, that justice and mercy are united in the Person of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Even as we rejoice in temporal justice, we beg divine mercy on the soul of Laura's killer. Convert him and draw him into your eternal embrace.

Amen.

Laura Smither Scholarship

In loving memory of Laura Kate Smither - 1984-1997

The Laura Smither Scholarship is a merit based scholarship in the amount of $3,000.

Deadline: March 31st annually.

Eligibility: City of Friendswood residents.

An Application for the Laura Smither Scholarship can be downloaded below from this page.

The scholarship committee will announce each year's scholarship recipient through the local papers.

Previous Laura Smither Scholarship winners are:

  • 2017 Alex Rudd (Webster University)
  • 2016 Benjamin Strope (University of Texas)
  • 2015 Molly Chen (Duke University, NC)
  • 2014 Caroline Landon (University of Pennsylvania)
  • 2013 Ryan Bynum (Auburn University, AL)
  • 2012 Ellen Zhou (Princeton University, NJ)
  • 2011 Cody Westphal (Texas Christian University)
  • 2010 Elizabeth Conger (North Western University)
  • 2009 Lena Silva (Rice University, Texas)
  • 2008 Erin Ellis (University of Notre Dame)
  • 2007 Veronica Arnold (Texas A&M University at Galveston, Texas)
  • 2006 Trudy Taylor (Pepperdine University, CA
  • 2005 Jennifer Robicheaux (Trinity University, Texas)
  • 2004 Michael Giordano (University of Houston, Texas)
  • 2003 Olivia Bartlett (Rice University, Texas)
  • 2002 Rachel Kyle (Rice University, Texas)
  • 2001 Tiffany Eppelheimer (Georgetown University, DC)
  • 2000 Jared Bourgeois (Brigham Young University, UT)
  • 1999 Laura Byrne (Wheaton College, IL)
  • 1998 Kathryn Klima (Duke University, NC)
1. Don't Wait
2. Call 911
3. Create a Missing Child Flyer
4. See the LRC Search Manual

If you have a missing child: Don't wait – Call 911 NOW and do everything you can to cooperate with law enforcement!

You can create a missing child flyer by clicking the CREATE FLYER link above.

If you believe that a ground search is needed for your child, please call KlaasKids Search Center at 1-850-525-4807.

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