Elementary school teacher found dead inside Richmond home, Fort Bend Co. Sheriff's Office says

Jessica Willey Image
Friday, May 31, 2024
Elementary teacher found dead inside Richmond home, deputies say
The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office confirmed that 34-year-old Laura Smith, found dead inside a Richmond home, was a Gray Elementary teacher.

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- A woman found dead during a welfare check inside a Richmond-area home on Memorial Day was an elementary school teacher, the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District confirmed.

According to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, the medical examiner's office ruled 37-year-old Laura Smith's death a homicide after deputies found her in her home in the 6500 block of Snowbell Court. The call came in at 12:01 p.m. on Monday.

The sheriff's office did not initially disclose any other information, including how she died and whether investigators identified a suspect.

Late Thursday, the agency said Smith suffered "traumatic injuries, resulting in her death" and added, "Although we believe this is an isolated incident, we have not identified a suspect at this time."

Smith worked at Gray Elementary in the LCISD.

The district sent a message to parents about Smith's death on Tuesday, which was before the sheriff's office confirmed the death was a homicide.

The message in full read:

"Dear Gray Elementary School Community,

It is with a heavy heart that I address the tragic loss of one of our staff members during the weekend. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones affected by this heartbreaking incident.

Laura Smith was a member of the Lamar CISD family for five years, serving at Williams and then Gray Elementary. She served alongside you, here at Gray, as an Early Childhood SpEd Aide. Laura has four students who attend school in our district, and three of them were ours this year at Gray. Her sudden and tragic passing leaves a void in our hearts and our hallways that words cannot adequately express.

I understand that you may have questions, but I do not have any additional information at this time. Our school counselors and support staff are available to assist any staff member who may be struggling to process this news. As a school community, we will support one another and honor Laura's memory. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends affected by her passing."

Thursday night, neighbors said they feared a killer was at large.

"We don't know what happened, and we haven't heard anything," Nellie Garcia, who lives across the street, said. "It's just heartbreaking."

Garcia said Smith, her law enforcement husband, who, state records show, recently worked for the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office, and their four daughters were active in neighborhood events.

FBCSO said family members requested the welfare check but would not say who saw the victim last and when due to the ongoing investigation.

"I just hope they can find out who did this and that justice will be served," Garcia added.

FBCSO urged anyone with information about the case to contact its non-emergency line at 281-341-4665 and choose option one. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may contact Fort Bend County Crime Stoppers at 281-342-TIPS (8477).

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