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Winterbottom family deals with grief by helping others - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Winterbottom family deals with grief by helping others

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

"It in some ways seems like it was yesterday. It's something you carry with you constantly, all the time," Ned Winterbottom said.

Ned Winterbottom carries a heavy burden-- the loss of his daughter, Laura, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered at random in Burlington eight years ago.

Laura Winterbottom loved the outdoors and her job, teaching art to kids. To honor her legacy, the Winterbottoms started a memorial fund.

"The Laura Kate Winterbottom fund has two main missions. One is to honor who Laura was in life, and the second is to try to deal with the things that caused her death," Ned said.

The fund has raised $90,000, giving money to groups like Burlington City Arts, the King Street Youth Center and Women Helping Battered Women.

Reporter Kristin Carlson: How is your family able to go on?

Ned Winterbottom: Part of the way we do that is through the fund. It has pulled us together as a family. We all work on it. It's in some ways the center of our lives at this point; it really holds us together.

"A friend of mine said that when something like this happens there's one of two reactions you can have. One is you can focus on the person who perpetrated the crime and become centered on that person. And the other is that you can take that and try to do something for people who have been victimized by the same event that took your child. And that's what we've chosen to do," Ned said.

A path where there is still pain, but also pride and healing.

"People say one of the best therapies is to do something for other people and it's really true, you get a lot of satisfaction, consolation out of helping somebody who may have either suffered the same tragedy or somebody who is disadvantaged in life. It's very important to be able to do that," Ned said. "I think Laura would be pretty proud of her family. I really think she would be pleased at what we are doing in her name."

Embracing the loss by choosing to live and honor a life ended too soon.

Laura Winterbottom's killer, Gerald Montgomery, is spending 43 years in jail. Her parents agreed to the plea deal because they wanted to avoid the pain of a trial and having to relive the crime.

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