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

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



LauraLaura



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.

Note: Deadline for 2017 extended to April 15, 2017

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:

  • 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)

The Laura Recovery Center proudly announces that Friendswood High School senior Benjamin Strope is the 19th recipient of the Laura Smither Scholarship. This annual $3,000 scholarship honors the memory of Laura Kate Smither, who was abducted and murdered in Friendswood on April 3, 1997.

Benjamin has accomplished a lot during his high school career. Last summer he applied to Methodist Hospital as a patient care volunteer, but was selected to work directly with the research staff at the Methodist Research Institute. He discovered that he had a knack and a love for research work, contributing to the work of the lab in the area of cardiac regeneration. This summer Benjamin will be back in the lab at M. D. Anderson, working with staff to study new ways to fight cancer.

Benjamin has contributed to his community by volunteering in many areas. After participating in the Friendswood Summer Day Camp program, Ben worked as a volunteer for 3 years where he enjoyed the interactions with 60 to 70 younger campers. He is in the Math and Science club through which he volunteers to tutor younger students in the Friendswood schools. Ben is president of the National Honor Society at Friendswood High School and volunteers with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Camp Periwinkle, Space Center Futbol Club special needs camp, and has received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. In addition to all this, Ben found time to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, maintain a 4.0 GPA, was on the debate team, and played basketball for 3 years!

Benjamin will study biochemistry at the University of Texas this fall, then go on to medical school and hopes to combine medical research and practice.

Laura's parents, Bob and Gay Smither, are so proud of all past scholarship recipients and the many accomplishments they have made in their lives. The Smithers and the Laura Smither Scholarship Committee have no doubt that Benjamin will represent the scholarship and the memory of Laura well.

The Laura Smither Scholarship is a merit based scholarship open to all the children of Friendswood. Application forms can be found on line at www.LRCF.org. The deadline for the scholarship is March 31st annually.

Tax exempt donations to the Laura Smither Scholarship Endowment Fund will be gratefully received at Wells Fargo Bank in Friendswood or by check mailed to the Laura Recovery Center at 2600 Ware Dairy Road, Friendswood, Texas 77546 designating the Laura Smither Scholarship.

Laura Kate Smither

Laura Kate Smither
April 3, 2016, marks the 19th anniversary of the abduction and murder of Laura Kate Smither. No one has been charged in her murder. Laura's brother, David, has prepared a nine day prayer series (a Novena) to seek the softening of Laura's killer's heart and that God's justice be accomplished for her. Please join us in this nine day prayer for justice for Laura. You can begin at any time - all prayers are available on this page. Please read the Introduction, then follow the prayer suggestions over a nine day period.

Pray Until Something Happens

Pray Until Something Happens

Laura and David 1996Laura and David 1996

Annually the Smither family invites the public to join them on a mass novena prayer for Laura. This is usually only once a year, at the time of Laura's April 3rd abduction and murder anniversary date. If you would like to be on the E-mail list for these prayers with the Smither family, just send an e-mail addressed as:

To: J4L-R@smither.net

with a subject line as follows:

Subject: subscribe

If you subscribe to the mail list you will receive a daily message for the nine days of the Novena, starting with the Introduction. This is generally 9 days prior to the anniversary date of April 3 or beginning with the anniversary date. The Smither family is VERY grateful for your prayers at ANY time, and take this opportunity to thank you for remembering Laura in this way.

If you would like to pray the novena at any time, it is available below in PDF form for download.

Please pray this additional prayer with us this year:

Abba, Father,
You have revealed Yourself as the God of Love Who desires all Your children to be saved, and Who will run to embrace any soul who sincerely turns back to You. We lift up the soul of Laura's killer, Your beloved child who has wandered in a far away land squandering the inheritance which You, his most Loving Father, have bestowed upon him.  We beg the Holy Spirit to sing Your song of Love into his heart.  Speak to his soul of his dignity and beauty as Your child, and give him the confidence to turn back to You in trust and repentance. We ask this through the infinite merits of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Mercy Whose compassion knows no bounds.
Amen.

Here is our original Invitational E-Mail from 2009.

Laura's priest, who helped us so much in 1997, forwarded our invitational e-mail with a heart felt cover letter.




The novena prayer prepared by Laura's brother, David, is available below.

1. Don't Wait
2. Call 911
3. Create a Missing Child Flyer
4. See the LRC Search Manual

The Laura Recovery Center proudly announces that Friendswood High School graduate Molly Chen is the 18th 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.

Molly is a young lady of many interests, spanning both the sciences and the arts. She will graduate 4th in her class from Friendswood High School this year. Molly has chosen to study Computer Science and Bioinformatics at Duke University, where she has been accepted. Molly is interested in mental health issues and hopes to bring the power of computer science and databases to help better the lives of patients. As a preview of her university study she placed well in the Friendswood and Galveston county science fairs with an original project which looked at the relationship between DNA abnormalities and mental disorders. Molly intends to continue her studies on mental health issues.

She has volunteered in numerous ways, giving back to our community through church related activities and doing impressive work to combat teen suicide through online resources, including working with 7 Cups of Tea – an active listening online resource for suicide prevention. The compassion Molly exhibits in doing this work will undoubtedly lead to great work in the mental health field.

Molly's accomplishments include tutoring through the Math and Science Clubs, serving as President of the Latin Club, and membership in the National Honor Society, the National English Honor Society, the National Technical Honor Society, and the National Art Honor Society.

Laura's parents, Bob and Gay Smither, are so proud of all past scholarship recipients and the many accomplishments they have made in their lives. The Smithers have no doubt that Molly will represent the scholarship and the memory of Laura well. The Laura Recovery Center and the Laura Smither Scholarship Committee wish Molly Chen every success in her college years and beyond. God Speed Molly!

The Laura Smither Scholarship is a merit based scholarship open to all the children of Friendswood. Application forms can be found on line at www.LRCF.org. The deadline for the scholarship is March 31st annually. Tax exempt donations to the Laura Smither Scholarship Endowment Fund will be gratefully received at Wells Fargo Bank in Friendswood designating the Laura Smither Scholarship in the memo of the check. Donations may also be mailed to: Laura Recovery Center, 2600 Ware Dairy Road,
Friendswood, Texas 77546.

The Laura Recovery Center proudly announces that Friendswood High School graduate Caroline (Carey) Landon is the 17th recipient of the Laura Smither Scholarship. This annual $3,000 scholarship honors the memory of Laura Kate Smither, who was abducted and murdered in Friendswood, April 3, 1997. Laura's parents, Bob and Gay Smither, are so proud of all past scholarship recipients and the many accomplishments they have made in their lives. The Smithers have no doubt that Caroline will represent the scholarship and the memory of Laura well.

Caroline is a Friendswood High School Senior, graduating 5th in her class this year. She has excelled in many areas during her high school years and is a member of the National Honor Society since 2012 and a National Merit Finalist this year. She has many science accolades, a stellar academic record and has also given a great deal back to our community through volunteerism.. She has served on the FHS student council, including as President since 2013. Her work experience includes research for the University of Houston and organizing and mentoring girls at the engineering GRADE Camp.

Caroline LandonCaroline Landon

Caroline has been accepted into the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She will also be taking classes in the Wharton School of Business. This interdisciplinary approach to her education is exactly what Caroline was looking for – as she has a vision of solving one of the vexing problems of green energy, that of energy storage, by incorporating Landon Energy Storage, her own business. Caroline has been a successful competitor in area Science Fairs throughout her high school career, with several projects based on her interest in energy storage.

Caroline has contributed directly to her community while maintaining an excellent academic record. As an example of her community volunteerism she conceived of and created the Book Buddies program – a program with 25 volunteers from area schools which collects and records children's literature for distribution though Head Start, Woman's Shelters, and the County Library.

The Laura Recovery Center and the Laura Smither Scholarship Committee wish Caroline Landon every success in her college years and beyond. God Speed Caroline!

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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