"She was so filled with energy, energy and enthusiasm, and it was contagious," JoAnn Winterbottom says of her daughter, Laura. "I miss that. I miss that."
JoAnn says Laura loved Vermont, loved the outdoors, and loved her job: teaching art to kids.
"If a child or children were present, she would get on the floor with them at their level and play with them," JoAnn says.
But Laura's life was cut short.
In March 2005, the 31-year-old woman was kidnapped, raped, and murdered in Burlington.
"The mourning doesn't stop. There's no point at which it has stopped or do I anticipate it will ever stop," JoAnn says.
She channeled her anger and sorrow into action, starting the Laura Kate Winterbottom Memorial Fund.
The organization helps local charities and its latest project is Laura's Room: a safe space for victims and their children at the Women's Rape Crisis Center in Burlington.
"This is a good place. This is a place that Laura would like," JoAnn says.
"That's what survivors and their families need during a moment of crisis, that space that feels private and safe and welcoming at the same time and Laura's Room supplies that," says Elle Petcavage, of the Women's Rape Crisis Center.
The Memorial Fund will help WRCC pay for many things, including renovations to the room, toys, and children's books.
The room will be used for counseling, exams, and support group meetings; at a time when the crisis center has seen a 25-percent increase in people seeking services.
Money raised at the upcoming Laura's Walk will also support the project.
"The community was affected by Laura in so many ways in her life, even more so than in her tragedy. This is a way to further her memory," Petcavage says, "to further her passion for children."
Her mom says Laura was a bit shy and not one for the spotlight, but she's certain Laura would be honored.
"I could see her observing in the background with a smile of approval," JoAnn says. "In her quiet way she would be pleased and proud."
Laura's Walk will take place this coming Saturday at Oakledge Park in Burlington. Proceeds will also help Women Helping Battered Women, which supplies so-called "Laura's Kits" to elementary students. The kits hold games, books and art projects that help teach kids how to deal with emotions surrounding violence and how to end the cycle.
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One Georgia man is going all-out to light up his home for Christmas this year. For J.R. Adams, decorating his home elaborately with lights, music, and Santa Claus on a motorcycle is a childhood dream come true. "IMore >>
One Georgia man is going all-out to light up his home for Christmas this year.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:13 AM EST2013-12-05 06:13:06 GMT
Vermont State Police need your help to find a hit and run driver. They say Wednesday afternoon an older model red Subaru wagon driving north on Route 14 in Williamstown crossed into oncoming traffic, enteredMore >>
Vermont State Police need your help to find a hit and run driver.More >>
Thursday, December 5 2013 1:12 AM EST2013-12-05 06:12:17 GMT
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Thursday, December 5 2013 1:11 AM EST2013-12-05 06:11:32 GMT
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Wednesday, December 4 2013 8:05 PM EST2013-12-05 01:05:10 GMT
Burlington's deputy police chief is off the hook on drunk driving charges after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors Wednesday.More >>
Burlington's deputy police chief took a plea deal Wednesday, and then announced his retirement. The plea gets Andi Higbee off the hook for drunk driving, but the resolution of the case also ends his 24-year career with the BPD.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:45 AM EST2013-12-04 14:45:58 GMT
Police are looking for two Massachusetts men in connection with an assault and robbery in Burlington's South End. It happened Tuesday afternoon on Marble Ave. Investigators say Bryan Frazier, 30, and Rashad Sabree,More >>
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Wednesday, December 4 2013 9:31 AM EST2013-12-04 14:31:50 GMT
An accused murderer has fired his investigator. Dennis Tribble was convicted of murder twice. The 63-year-old Vermont man was convicted of shooting and killing Michael Borello in 2000. But the VermontMore >>
An accused murderer has fired his investigator.More >>
Wednesday, December 4 2013 6:24 PM EST2013-12-04 23:24:21 GMT
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges. Police say Joshua Loura is now linked to three break-ins in Wolcott and Johnson. He was already accused ofMore >>
He's already in jail accused of burglaries, now a Lamoille County man is facing more charges.More >>