When Gary Windass murdered Rick in June 2019 he was found out by one of Rick's associates, Sharon Geary, who threatened to tell the authorities unless Gary financially supported Rick's daughter in his absence. In April 2020 Gary summoned Laura to his shop, after learning that she had been pocketing some of the money he'd given her for Kelly's school funds, and warned that Rick would kill her if he found out. Not one to be blackmailed Laura absconded leaving Kelly in the care of her friend Summer's guardian Billy Mayhew.
Gary, who was uncomfortable about Kelly remaining on the street as her presence threatened his secret, enlisted Sharon to help find Laura and began suggesting to Billy that Kelly belonged with her mother. Private detective Lenny Isaacs was brought in, after Sharon's search proved unsuccessful, and he soon located Laura's new residence in Rochdale. Gary paid Laura a visit and told her that Rick would continue to pay for her living expenses if she took Kelly back - to which she agreed. Gary's relief that the Neelans were leaving the street was short lived as they moved into a house round the corner on Inkerman Street.
By December, Laura had abandoned Kelly again and this time she was placed into foster care. When Laura returned in May she discovered that her daughter had been fostered by Imran Habeeb and Toyah Battersby and was being investigated after the death of Seb Franklin.