Laura Ratley used to listen to Panic! at the Disco with her two sisters everywhere they went.
She was turned on to the music by her sister Leah. They would listen to the band on their way to the mall, going out to eat or just driving around.
“When our parents divorced the music helped so much, and music meant everything to her,” Leah Ratley said Wednesday.
Laura Ratley almost never wore makeup, but she was so excited to see the band perform live in Oklahoma on Tuesday she asked her dad whether her younger sister, Alexis, who loved makeup, could get out of school early to help her.
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She wanted to look really pretty, said her father, Bob Ratley.
That was the last time he saw his daughter. Laura Ratley, 20, was killed in a traffic accident on the way home from the concert Tuesday night, along with Rebecca Fulcher, 21, a student at Wichita State University.
Ryan Fulcher, Rebecca’s brother, and Leah Ratley were injured in the accident but released from the hospital Wednesday.
Laura was always a daddy’s girl, Bob Ratley said. Her other two sisters lived with her mom but she asked to live with him about six years ago.
She asked for the room across the hallway from his, and they would often stay up at night and talk to each other through their doors, he said.
At the concert a boy kept standing up on the chair in front of Leah, so Laura offered to switch seats with her sister because Laura always thought of others before herself, Leah said.
Laura and Leah, 24, had spent extra money so they could be close to the stage, and when the lead singer came out toward the crowd, Laura stood up on her seat and screamed.
“She started crying because she was so happy to see them, and she was having the time of her life,” Leah said.
She took selfies and videos. And when the concert ended, she tore off a piece of a long golden streamer and stuffed it in her purse with a handful of confetti, so she could remember the concert forever.
“I’m not at peace, but I kind of am,” Bob Ratley said.
“But … knowing she was at that concert, she felt like she was in heaven being at that concert.”
Fulcher, who was born with a form of muscular dystrophy but wasn’t diagnosed until 2004, traveled around campus in a wheelchair. She was a communications major.
She was a sorority sister at Kappa Kappa Gamma. Tributes to her appeared on her mother’s Facebook page Wednesday from sorority members.
“We loved your daughter to pieces as she brought so many laughs and joys to our chapter,” wrote Alyssa Rule.