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Laura Recovery Center Desperate for Funds

A small Houston-area non-profit that helps people search for and find missing children is in need of help itself from the community. The Laura Recovery Center is on the verge of restructuring unless new sources of funding come in. Laurie Johnson has more.


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The Laura Recovery Center was founded in 1998, a year after the abduction and murder of Laura Smither. The parents of the 12-year-old Friendswood girl launched a search and rescue organization to help other parents who find themselves in the midst of the unthinkable.

Bob Walcutt is executive director of the center. He says they run on $120,000 a year which covers one full and one part time employee, along with the cost of searches and educational programs.

“This is the first time that we have been in this kind of a situation. Donations have been down this year. When Hurricane Ike hit a few years back, we were going to have a gala at that time. Well the hurricane pretty well wiped that out. And the following year we were going to try to do another gala, but the economy was so bad at that point it just never came about. So we’ve been kind of struggling ever since then.”

In fact they’re struggling to the point that they have just enough funding for another three months of operation. Walcutt says he’s not sure what they’ll do if they can’t raise more support.

“To be honest with you I don’t really know what the outcome would be. We’re going to keep operating, obviously, as long as we can. And whether that means to be a totally volunteer organization or maybe change the structure somewhat — I’m not really sure.”

The Laura Recovery Center has assisted in 99 searches across the nation. The organization is entirely supported by contributions.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF News.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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