Troubled Laura (23) jumped to her death at New York beauty spot

A loving young woman, star student and talented athlete, took her own life by jumping from a cliff at a popular New York beauty spot.
Taughannock Falls where Laura fellTaughannock Falls where Laura fell
Taughannock Falls where Laura fell

Colne woman Laura Foulkes (23) was seen crying and texting moments before she jumped to her death at the Taughannock Falls State Park on July 31st last year.

Her devastated mother Mrs June Foulkes told an inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court that her daughter was a loving and talented girl, but had struggled with depression and an eating disorder.

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The former Clitheroe Royal Grammar School student had been living in New York state with her father since July, 2014, but was planning to return home to Colne before the end of the year.

The inquest heard how Laura, who also suffered from borderline personality disorder, had been treated at a number of clinics in America, latterly at the Castlewood Treatment Center in Missouri where she stayed for two months.

However, she was forced to leave the clinic because of insurance purposes, which her mother described as a real setback.

Mrs Foulkes said: “Laura tried and tried and tried so hard but she felt defeated. I think she had got weary of it.

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“Laura believed that going to Heaven would be the answer because she could find peace.”

The inquest heard a statement from Kelly Tyrell who had spotted Laura on the cliff top and had called 911 when she did not respond to her.

Miss Tyrell said Laura was wearing her headphones at the time – her mother said she was listening to “Ave Maria” and “Purple Rain”.

Mrs Foulkes added: “Laura had written letters and my family which I am not ready to read yet, but my family have told me she reveals in the letter what she was listening to.

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“Laura had a strong faith and she had also said in the letter to me ‘when your time comes, I’ll be waiting for you.’”

Her mother went on to explain how Laura had been doing well at Castlewood, and even though Missouri was quite a distance from New York, she had settled there well.

“Laura knew she needed 24/7 care and she was doing well. However, after two months she had to leave due to her insurance purposes.

“This was very unfortunate and was a big setback for her. When she returned to New York state I could tell was fed up. Laura was a talented girl who was a strong swimmer, runner and lifeguard.

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“Laura was a very caring person and a really good listener who was very kind and loving.

“She could speak Spanish fluently and was a gifted swimmer. Laura also loved reading and was a big thinker.”

Captain Jack Adams, from the New York State Police, wrote in a statement that Laura had jumped from the cliff two to three minutes after she was spotted by Miss Tyrell.

Dr Robert Stoppacher, medical examiner’s officer at the Onondaga County Health Department, conducted a post-mortem examination, and gave the cause of death as multiple traumatic injuries.

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Laura had been airlifted to the Upstate University Hospital, Syracuse, but died the following day from her injuries.

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor, concluded that Laura had taken her own life.

He said: “Laura showed an avowed intent in letters to her family and in her diary of what she was planning to do.

“I really hope that although time may never heal, her family may understand a little more and find some comfort.”

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