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, USA, 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.

History and aim[edit]

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]

When the center accepts a case one of the first actions taken is to post a flyer with information about the missing child. The flyers are posted to the Center's missing child page.[2] Once on-line, the flyer can be e-mailed and faxed by any visitor to the site to help distribute information about the missing child. The Laura Recovery Center began adding Quick Response Codes[3] to its flyers in October 2010. The QR Code will direct users of smart phones to a page where they can help distribute the flyer. A map showing the locations of Laura Recovery Center open cases, organized searches and other Center information is available on the Center's website.


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[4] and was one of the largest volunteer search efforts in Californian history, with hundreds of volunteers searching deserts, highways and remote areas for weeks.[5] A volunteer party organized by the Center found her body.[6]


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

External links[edit]