Dana Laskowski, a single mother of triplets, was found dead in her home in Washington 15 years ago. Her death story will be re-enacted on Betrayed, a hit crime television show on Investigation Discovery. The episode detailing Dana Laskowski’s story is titled “Strangled By Love.” In addition to the reenactments, law enforcement officials will give inside details of the case. For the murder of Dana Laskowski, Emily Lauenborg spent just over five years in prison.
One of the things people remember most about Dana Laskowski was that she loved being a mother, and she was good at it. In fact, she was so good at it that she once participated in a television interview about caring for small babies. Dana Laskowski had triplets of her own and worked as a professional babysitter. Although Dana had a stable life, along with good looks and youthful appearance, she also enjoyed smoking, drinking, and hanging out with teens, something that would end up harming her in the future.
Investigators arrived at Dana Laskowski’s home in August 2001, where they found the young mother lying unresponsive on the couch. The position of the body was strange. She was twisted slightly at the hip with one arm folded behind her and the other arm placed above her head. A blanket and a pillow were placed on top of the body. Looking at the scene, it appeared that she was simply sleeping. But, the body was cold to the touch, and she was pronounced dead.
The police had several suspects to consider. Her jealous ex-husband and the new man in her life, who seemed a bit controlling. Police honed in on the ex-husband but lacked evidence against him. Detectives also took a look at Amanda, Dana Laskowski’s troubled niece, who seemed very distraught by Dana’s death.
Amanda engaged in heavy drug use, but police learned that she abruptly stopped using drugs just after Amanda’s death. On a hunch, they decided to find out why her behavior changed so drastically and why Dana’s death had such an impact on her.
They got that answer and more after a tipster told police that it was Emily Suzanne Lauenborg who had committed the murder. Seventeen-year-old Emily Lauenborg was Amanda’s best friend, and detectives found out that Dana and Emily didn’t really like each other at times.
Amanda ended up confessing to police that she had gone to Dana Laskowski’s home late one night for drug money. She was with Emily Lauenborg at the time. According to Amanda, the situation got out of hand after an upset Dana Laskowski insisted that she wasn’t giving them any money and that they needed to leave her house immediately.
The situation became deadly when Dana Laskowski put her hands on Emily Lauenborg in an attempt to get her out of the door. That’s when Emily used her powerful strength and wrestling skills to put Dana in a rare type of choke hold.
The choke hold became fatal when Emily continued to apply pressure, causing Dana Laskowski to gag until she lost consciousness and died. For her cooperation, Amanda was never prosecuted. Emily Lauenborg was charged with murder. Although she looked tough on the outside, when Emily had to face the judge, she was tearful, according to Seattle Times.
“Emily Suzanne Lauenborg wept throughout the Friday court hearing at which she pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree murder charges in the Aug. 31, 2001, death of Dana Laskowski. Laskowski was sympathetic to them and sometimes left her window unlocked so the teens could come in and do their laundry or shower, documents say.”
After spending approximately six years in prison, Emily Lauenborg was released from prison. Today, it appears that she is married and lives under her new married last name, which can easily be found in related searches for “Emily Lauenborg.”
Aside from ID’s Betrayed, the murder of Dana Laskowski also inspired an episode of Unusual Suspects.
[Photo by John Roman Images/AP Images]