Parents of Slain Auburn Student Blame Lack of Security for Daughter’s Death

At issue is the university’s decision to merge its police force with the city’s and whether the choice not to retain its own force impacted campus security.

The parents of an Auburn University student who was murdered in 2008 appeared before the Alabama Board of Adjustment this week. Jim Burke and Viviane Guerchon asked the board to award them $1 million because they believe Auburn University did not have adequate security, which contributed to their daughter’s kidnapping from a campus parking lot, reports the Daily Journal.

Burke and Guerchon told the board they believe Auburn University’s decision to merge its police force with the city’s department resulted in a lack of security on campus. Guerchon said the family visited the university two or three times before their daughter enrolled and that no one mentioned the school did not have its own police force.

The former Auburn University chief of police, Tommy Dawson told the board the merger provided more officers on campus who were better trained. Dawson went on to say that not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about what happened to Lauren Burke, but that he still believes the police could not have done anything differently.

Lauren Burke was an 18-year University of Auburn freshman from Marietta, Georgia. She was kidnapped from a campus parking lot at gunpoint after visiting her boyfriend. Burke was then forced to undress and fatally shot off campus when she tried to escape. Courtney Lockhart was convicted of capital murder in this case and sentenced to death by lethal injection.

The Board of Adjustment is scheduled to vote on Nov. 12.

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