Laura Ashley Skinner
  December 30, 1983 - January 19, 1987
Find A Grave Memorial

When Laura suffered a broken collar bone, Franklin County Children's Services decided that she was not being abused and she was left to live in the home of her mother and her mothers boyfriend, who would eventually kill her.

Celia Skinner worked two jobs, one was a temporary job during the day and at night, she danced in a bar while leaving her boyfriend, Bruce Lower, to take care of her child since he was unemployed. Laura seemed to be a happy little girl with a big personality, even looking at her picture above, you can see how totally precious this child was. No on could know though that inside her home, Laura was being abused and tortured beyond anything they could imagine.

Bruce, who looked like the average man next door,  was the cause of all of Laura's pain and suffering. Only one day before she died, a neighbor knocked on the door and when Bruce opened the door to see who it was, he had no shame in the fact that he was wearing nothing other than a bathrobe and in the background, Laura was standing in the background, in a bedroom and could be seen from the door, she was naked and crying. For whatever reason, the neighbor didn't tell Celia or report this to the police, until after Laura died, which was the next day.

Laura had over 80 bruises on her body, was raped, sodomized, beaten and had a bit mark on her thigh all because she refused to give oral sex to Bruce. Chances are that this had been going on in this home for quite some time, where was the IDIOT mother who of this child while she allowed this man to brutalize her daughter?

I am unable to find the original charge against Bruce Lower, but I know that reports say he was never charged with the rape evidence all the while claiming he was innocent. Bruce said in court that Laura had bumped her head while eating oatmeal, that she went unconscious and he had not reported it because of the prior incident involving CPS. Bruce said that he went about his day, bringing and carrying Laura with him while he shopped for furniture and then he took her to the park where he claims she fell down an embankment, which caused the bruises. When asked about the bite mark, Bruce said he had bitten her in an effort to wake her up after she passed out.

Bruce ended up with a plea bargained deal of ten to 25 years for involuntary manslaughter. Common Please Judge, Daniel T. Hogan, decided that Bruce was a sexual predator who had tortured Laura and that he hoped she was unconscious during his attacks on her. Unfortunately, Bruce Lower ended up serving only 16 years of his term before he was out on parole. A distraught Assistant Prosecutor said that he had provided ineffective prosecution when he failed to call a witness who had informed the Police that Bruce had told him horrible details about what he had done to Laura, while he and Bruce were in jail at the same time. The witness had said that Bruce told him he was "tanked up on pornography and liquor" and that he had killed Laura when he wanted more sex.

Things don't end there. Since his release in September of 2003, Bruce has been picked up twice on parole violations and both times, he has been let go. Bruce was released off of parole in 2005 after only having been out for 2 1/2 years. Since then,
Bruce also had two restraining orders against him by two different women who say he assaulted them, still he walks the streets a free man.

A man named Bret Vinocur decided that this was just wrong and he decided to do something about it, since he has a web site (www.findmissingkids.com)
that tracks sex offenders:

"When I stumbled on Lower's name, I thought it was a mistake. Involuntary manslaughter? So I called the
sheriff's office. I was told it was no mistake"

Bret had trouble sleeping at night, thinking about Laura's case:

"I don't know if you can become a victim by association, but I am. I can't get this little girl's story out
of my head"

Bret doesn't say that it is Bruce's fault he is out, he says that it is the fault of the system. Bruce was picked up on parole violations where he had liquor and pornography. Todd Marti, Assistant Attorney General,  was willing to listen to Bruce and tried to help by writing a letter to the parole board:

"This case was kind of shocking to be honest. I knew that Lower was not a guy you want on the streets"

Marti put together and appeal to the parole board trying to get Bruce sent back to prison, but the parole board said they had made a decision and were sticking to it. IDIOTS, I use that word a lot and I mean it, IDIOTS! Will they be there to pick up the piece of the next family who loses a child to this monster?

Laura is buried down a little road and her tombstone reads: "Suffer little children". Bret says "She did".

Jason Dhir, a friend of Bret, donated a bench to memorialize Laura in Antrim Park where Bret goes in order to get some peace from all that troubles him. The bench has her name and on a metal plate you can read  Laura's name and some of the lyrics from a song about child abuse called "Concrete Angel"

I am unable to find anything about Laura's "mother" as far as if she was ever charged or not or even how she felt about the death of her daughter.

Return To Laura's Story
Read About Bret Vinocur's Fight

This page was created on May 25, 2014
Death Occurred in the state of Ohio

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