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Mar-31-2007 16:21TweetFollow @OregonNews
Candlelight Vigil Announced for Memory of Laura Smither and Billboard Released in Unsolved Adre'anna Jackson CaseMelanie Mendalson Salem-News.com
The "Remember Laura Smither Public Vigil" happens April 3rd.
(FRIENDSWOODS, TX.) - A candlelight vigil planned for April 3rd will honor a little girl who was murdered in 1997. It will be held at 7:00 PM. on Tuesday, at Stevenson Park in Friendswood, Texas. The public is invited to the event which will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Laura Smither's abduction and murder. Calling for justice during the vigil will be Laura's parents, Bob and Gay Smither, Friendswood Police chief, Bob Weiner and Laura's priest, Reverend Robert Waring. During the vigil there will be prayers, "Justice for Laura" bracelettes handed out, and lighting of candles symbolizing "lighting the way home'' for children missing nation wide. Laura Smither had her whole life ahead of her. Full of energy, she enjoyed ballet, diving, girl scouts and much more. She was a gifted child who had much to offer this world and everyone in it.
On April 3rd 1997, this beautiful little girl vanished after she went for a run. The twelve-year old cadet scout's family knew quickly something was wrong, very chillingly wrong. Police were notified and a massive community search began. Eventually, over six thousand volunteers and a battalion from the National Guard and the marines joined in the efforts to search for missing Laura Smither.
The community came together for the Smither family and friends to rally around them in this difficult time. They searched tirelessly to no end, in the hopes of bringing her home safely. Seventeen days later and 14 miles away, her remains were discovered in a retention pond. For the family, it was the culmination of an immense tragedy. Laura had been abducted and murdered. The case is active, yet no charges have been filed in Laura's case. Her family seeks "JUSTICE FOR LAURA". They are asking the person responsible to do the right thing and come forward. If you would like to be a part of the Justice for Laura Candlelight Vigil you may contact Laura's Recovery Center at 281-482-5723.
We might mention, In Memory of Laura, the family has offered resources for others. They have helped many families with missing loved ones from this Region as well. Nationally Recognized, Laura's Recovery Center, currently has posted on their website, Joseph Pichler from Bremerton Washington, Missing Micheal Jari from Naselle, Washington, and Brooke Wilberger from Corvallis, Oregon, as well as many others. Please click & visit LauraRecovery Center at LRCF.org to see many still missing in our Region and Nationally. In both the cases, of Laura Smither and Adrianna Jackson, their killers have yet to be brought to justice. Laura Recovery Center, offered help when Adre'anna Jackson of Washington went missing. In our interview below with Sergeant Lawler, he elaborates on others who offered additional resources. L&C Missing Ribbons.org received word that Adre'anna Jackson was missing in their state of Washinton. They immediately notified the Laura Recovery Center, as they aid in missing children's cases nationally. They were very instrumental in getting the word out by handing out fliers and posting her missing information on their LRCF website. Executive Director Bob Walcutt states that, "Laura's Recovery Center Foundation has developed a search manual for searching for missing and abducted children. It's a search manual for how civilians can run a full scale search." To view and print this manual you can click their LRCF.org site link.
Adre'anna Jackson case in Washington The Suspicious death of Adre'anna Jackson has Lakewood Police in Wa. reminding the public their help is needed with these new billboards. Lakewood, Washington Police announced new billboards in the unsolved case of Adre'anna Jackson. They held a press conference on March 25th 2007 at 1:30 PM. A billboard unveiling took place at Union Avenue and Center Street in Tacoma, Washington. Attending the event were all representatives from all participating agencies.
Beginning March 26th-April 30th all five of these billboards will go up featuring her picture and a $60,000 reward that is offered.
As stated in a Crimes Stoppers News Release, "Crime Stoppers of Tacoma- Peirce county is proud to announce a media campaign partnership with Clear Channel billboards, Lakewood Police Dept. and the F.B.I. to solicit information on the unsolved death of Adre'anna Jackson."
In an electronic interview with Lakewood, Washington Police Sergeant Chris Lawler, who works on the case of Adre'anna Jackson, recently answered some questions for Melanie, who also works with the L&C Missing Ribbons Organization. She asked him to bring us up to date in the unsolved case of Adre'anna Jackson. His statements remain unedited, here is what Sergeant Lawler had to say during their interview. "Thank-You, Sergeant Lawler, for taking the time to answer a few question for Salem-News.com. We want to ask you some questions in the Suspicious death of Adre'anna Jackson. To let our viewers know, You are with the Lakewood Police Dept. in Washington state." Q- Melanie: To catch our viewers up on the case. What is the story of her disappearance and the latest you can share with us? A- Sergeant Lawler: Adre'anna Jackson, a 10-year-old girl from the Tillicum area of Lakewood , disappeared while walking to school on the morning of Friday December 2nd, 2005. It was snowing that day and school had been canceled. Neither Adre'anna or her parents knew the school was closed. She was last seen walking towards her school and despite intense searches, was not located. She was not found until two boys discovered her remains on April 4th, 2006, in a vacant lot approximately 2 miles from her house. Her death remains unsolved. Q- Melanie: Tell us about the new billboard to aid in the suspicious death of Adre'anna Jackson? April 5th, 2007, is the 1-year Anniversary, of when your department had the grim news of Confirming her remains. Can you share who helped contribute to this new bill boards and how it came about? Where have you chosen to place the billboards? A- Sergeant Lawler: The billboard campaign is designed to remind the public that her death remains unsolved and that there is a $60,000 reward. We are asking for the public's help because we believe that someone out there knows something, but has not come forward. We are hoping that seeing Adre'anna on the billboard will prompt someone to finally come forward to help us. They donated over $56,000 worth of materials and billboard space. We also are using the billboards a way to get people thinking about the case again. The billboard was an idea we had for some time, but didn't have anyone to contribute the funding and space. Clear Channel Outdoor was contacted and they graciously agreed to help. They helped with the design and made it all happen. All of the billboards are up and are at the locations listed below.
Q- Melanie: Are there other plans in the works to help bring awareness to the unsolved crime of Adre'anna Jackson? A- Sergeant Lawler: We want to contact the landowner of the lot where her remains were found to see if he will let us erect two signs that have the billboard design on them to remind the neighborhood that the case is still active. We are also trying to work on mailers to specific areas too. Q- Melanie: Your police department and Crime stoppers of Puget Sound and others were kind enough to help fund a reward in Adre'anna's case. What do you want our viewers to know, if they think they might have information on the case but don't know if it's relevant or not? What would you say to them? What is the reward amount currently ? A- Sergeant Lawler: The reward is actually funded by private donors, Crime Stopper's of Puget Sound , and the FBI. We want the public to realize that all information may be helpful. Even if someone thinks that what they know is insignificant, they should still report it. Let us decide on whether or not the information is relevant. We want all information that anyone may have related to this case. The reward is at $60,000. Q- Melanie: Can you share with us what kind of help was offered by Laura's Recovery Center and Operation look out &and others to your department when Adre'anna was missing? How were these offers helpful to your department? A- Sergeant Lawler: Organizations like Laura Recovery, Operation Look-Out, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, etc. were very helpful early on in offering to help in any way they could. Organizations offered manpower, resources, funding, websites, and help with distributing information about the case. This case was enormous and we appreciated all of the outside help we could get. Q- Melanie: What would you like Adre'anna's Family to know if they by chance read this interview? A- Sergeant Lawler: I stay in pretty regular contact with Adre'anna's mother. I want her to know that this case remains a very high priority for the Lakewood Police Department. We consider the case active and we are still pursuing all tips we get and continue to follow-up on the case when we get new information. We will continue to work on this case until it is solved. Q- Melanie: If anyone has any information in the case of Adre'anna what dept and number should they contact? A- Sergeant Lawler: They can call the Lakewood Police Department at 253-830-5000 or Crime Stopper's at 253-591-5959 if they want to remain anonymous. Melanie: "Sergeant Lawler, we appreciate all your Lakewood Police Department is doing to continue this quest for answers. Thank-You, for helping the public understand Adre'anna's case and how they can be of help. (This concludes our Electronic Interview with Sergeant Lawler)
Melanie Mendalson works with the organization, L&C Missing Ribbons Organization Legacy for Laci & Conner & all missing, which can be found on the Web at: beautifulpoems.tripod.com. As an advocate for the missing and sadly, murdered, she will contribute articles to Salem-News.com regularly in a unique partnership between activists and media that we sincerely hope helps bring resolution to many of these cases.
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