When 12-year-old Laura Smither disappeared from her hometown of Friendswood, Texas in April 1997, her parents Bob and Gay were devastated. A promising young dancer, she took off for a morning jog without her mother's permission and never returned. The family was utterly distraught and the local community mobilized to search for the girl. Despite the tireless efforts, no one was able to locate her until she was found in a muddy location close to a reservoir several weeks later. The case remains unsolved to this day.
While Smither gave full cooperation to the Police, she was dissatisfied with how the investigation was going and waited for her daughter's killer to be brought to justice. In 2015, William Reece was connected to the murders of Tiffany Johnston and Laura Smither by forensic evidence. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in 2021.
In the years following her daughter's disappearance, Smither and her husband launched the Laura Recovery Center in Friendswood. The not-for-profit organization fights against child abduction and helps families of missing children to find justice. It also collaborates with other groups that have similar missions.
The couple has worked hard over the years to make sure that what happened to their daughter doesn't happen to other families. They have spoken at conferences and media appearances to raise awareness about the case. They have been advocates for families who are still waiting for answers and even traveled across the country to train law enforcement officers on how to handle missing person cases.