Co-workers remember mentor

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    Friends of Laura Lee Crane, a former teacher at TCU’s Starpoint School, said Wednesday they will be closely following the trial in connection with her murder of more than a year ago. Robin Davis, a friend, student and co-worker of Crane’s, said that although it will be very hard, she will follow the case in hopes of seeing justice prevail.

    “I will be checking on Mr. Crane and his daughters a lot,” Davis said.

    The trial for the kidnapping and murder of Crane started Wednesday, said Sherri Lockridge, coordinator for residing judge, Wayne Salvant. The defendant in the case is Edward Lee Busby Jr., the 33-year-old man who took authorities to Crane’s body Feb. 3.

    Crane was the director at Starpoint for more than 20 years. She disappeared January 30, 2004. Kimberly Payne, a facilitator at the school, said Crane was a close friend to all at the school.

    “She was here for a very long time,” Payne said. “She was very near and dear to us.”

    Crane, 77 at the time of her death, was last seen by friends Jan. 30, 2004. She had stopped by a friend’s house who stayed close by and then went to Tom Thumb on Hulen Street. According to police reports, that is where Busby and his girlfriend, Kathleen Latimer, kidnapped Crane.

    It was also reported that Busby and Latimer put Crane into the trunk of the car and duct-taped her eyes, ears and mouth but didn’t realize she was dead until after stopping the car and opening the trunk.

    Lockridge said there is no set time table for Busby’s trial to be completed.

    “The trial should be completed by Thanksgiving,” Lockridge said. “I can’t give an exact date as to when the trial will come to a close, but it should be no longer than that.”

    Davis said dealing with this trial will be one of the hardest things she will have to do in her life.

    “I’ve known her almost my entire life,” Davis said. “She taught me everything I know. She was really my professional mother.”

    The things Crane taught Davis will stick with her for the rest of her life, Davis said.

    “She taught me how to work with and take care of children,” Davis said. “She taught me that every kid has the ability to learn. I just have to keep going and continue learning.”

    Payne said Crane will be remembered for the relationship she had with everyone not only while at work but away from the job as well.

    “We all worked for her,” Payne said. “We all trained for her. We all were close with her. She was a mentor and a friend.”

    Crane had retired from teaching in 1990. She continued to work with children at her home after retirement. She had been a teacher at Starpoint since the ’60s.