WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Mixed emotions are the best way to describe Vern and Bianka Landavazo’s reactions to Lauren’s Law being passed. Overall though, they are happy they have been able to keep their daughter Lauren’s legacy alive by doing something to help other families.
“Right now it's still kind of sinking in. To me the amazing part has just been the journey,” Vern Landavazo said.
It is a journey that Vern and Bianka began back in December of 2016 – just a few months after their daughter Lauren was shot and killed while walking home from school.
It was not until this year that Lauren's Law started to finally move through the Texas legislature and ultimately get passed. “When it happened it was very emotional, a lot of tears, bittersweet that we even have to do this because of our daughter,” Bianka said.
Lauren's Law changes Texas Capital Murder law when it comes to the murder of a child. Before, in Texas, to be sentenced to life without parole or the death penalty the victim had to be under age 10. The age of the victim has now been changed to any child under the age of 15.
Although the law will not change the outcome of the trial following their daughter’s murder, the Landavazos still call the passing of Lauren’s Law a victory.
However, the journey to get there has not been easy. “The anxiety and the stress and the emotions that all come with it, it’s a victory but it doesn’t bring our daughter back,” Bianka said.
Even though the legislation process has been long, they plan to continue to their journey to make more changes.
Vern stated, “Even if you lose, even if you don’t get what you’re fighting for, we tried and we’ll try again.”
Texas District 30 Senator Pat Fallon helped introduce and fight for Lauren’s Law. He worked closely with the Landavazo family during the whole legislative process. He said in a statement to news Channel 6:
“The passage of Lauren’s Law (SB 719) was my highest personal priority this session. No parent should ever have to attend the parole hearing of their child’s murderer. Life without the possibility of parole for these evil life-takers is the justice and fate they will now get in Texas.”
“Lauren’s parents, Vern and Bianka Landavazo, have demonstrated tremendous courage, strength, and commitment in sharing their daughter’s story. They have channeled their grief into a fierce dedication to protecting future children. Bottom line is that this bill is now on the Governor’s Desk because the Landavazo’s personal visits to the Capitol. The other legislators couldn’t turn away and were compelled to listen to the horrible, deeply painful and senseless tragedy that they’ve had to endure. In short, Vern and Bianka put a face on justice. They made it personal and in doing so they changed Texas for the better. I’m awed by their commitment, dedication and bravery. All Texas parents, myself and my wife included, owe them a debt of gratitude.”