Laura Recovery Center

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The Laura Recovery Center is a non-profit organization that works to prevent kidnappings and abductions and to recover victims of such events. The center is located in Friendswood, Texas, and is named for Laura Kate Smither (April 23, 1984 - April 3, 1997), a 12-year-old girl who was abducted near her Friendswood home and murdered.


The center was established by Smither's parents, Bob and Gay Smither, in April 1998 in response to their daughter's murder. On April 3, 1997, Laura Smither was abducted near her home while she was jogging. After her disappearance, more than 6,000 volunteers searched over 800 square miles (2,000 km²). Her body was discovered seventeen days later, on April 20, in a regional water retention pond ten miles from her home. Smither's murder remains unsolved.

The center focuses on education and organized community searches related to child abduction and child safety. Resources for families with missing children are offered on the center's website, including a free online flyer creation page, online child ID and online access to the LRC Search Manual.[1]


The Laura Recovery Center has organized numerous community led searches for abducted children, including those for Danielle van Dam and Morgan Harrington. The search for van Dam was the group's first out-of-state effort[2] and was one of the largest volunteer search efforts in Californian history, with hundreds of volunteers searching deserts, highways and remote areas for weeks.[3] A volunteer party organized by the Center found her body.[4]


  1. ^ Laura Recovery Center: Searching for a Missing Child - LRC Search Manual
  2. ^ Ma, Kenneth. "Volunteers scour county for Danielle", North County Times, February 10, 2002. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
  3. ^ "Body Confirmed as Danielle van Dam". ABC News. February 28, 2002. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  4. ^ Madigan, Nick (March 1, 2002). "Grim Guesswork Led to the Body of San Diego Girl". New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2014.

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