WAYLAND, Mass. — April 1, 2021 is a very difficult day for Malcolm Astley and Mary Dunne.
This is the day their daughter, Lauren Astley should have turned 28 years old.
“I miss the real birthday, I miss her. It’s a day of mixed feelings,” Mary Dunne told me.
Instead, this is the 10th birthday they’ve observed without their only child.
“I am periodically on the verge of tears, as much as from joy as from sorrow,” Malcolm Astley told me. “She was a mighty peaceful baby and joyous almost from the start. Those are qualities I wish I could hang on to, as much as she did.”
Lauren Astely was murdered on July 3, 2011.
The 18-year-old Wayland High School graduate’s body was recovered from a remote marsh, not far from her home.
Weeks before the murder, Lauren broke up with her high school boyfriend, Nathaniel Fujita.
Nathaniel was ultimately convicted of first degree murder and is now serving a life no parole sentence.
Prosecutors said at trial Fujita’s rage over the breakup was his motive for murder.
Ten years later, Lauren’s family is trying to save lives, working to prevent break up violence.
“The most dangerous time is breakups in relationships, or the day of a divorce,” Malcolm Astley said. “It’s pretty clear that’s what’s going on. And that’s a formula we can work with.”
The family has created the Laura Astley Memorial Fund.
Its mission: to go to schools and educate students about healthy and unhealthy relationships, the warning signs, and where to get help.
All lessons learned from a tragedy in Wayland.
“There wasn’t enough of a safety net for both of them to reach out and say this isn’t right, or I’m depressed or I’m scared,” Mary Dunne said.
Thurday night, Wayland TV will screen a video memorial for Astley which will feature contributions from Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and a 2012 video message from then-Vice President Joe Biden.
To learn more about the Lauren Astley Memorial Fund, click here.
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