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No new evidence found as Lauren Spierer landfill search concludes





After nine days of combing through more than 4,100 tons of trash for evidence related to missing IU student Lauren Spierer, investigators have finished searching the Sycamore Ridge Landfill without finding any new clues.

"The fact that no evidence related to this case was discovered is unfortunate, but we are confident that the proper area at the landfill was identified and thoroughly checked by the officers working there,” Bloomington Police Department Chief Michael Diekhoff said in a press release.

The operation finished at noon Friday after it became apparent that the waste being extracted and searched was from outside Bloomington and out of the designated date range.

Beginning Aug. 16, up to 30 law enforcement personnel from the BPD, FBI, IU Police Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children searched the landfill for 12 hours per day. The landfill’s heavy machinery operators also helped the investigators.

The area searched was approximately 70 feet by 120 feet by 20 feet. Up to 60 truckloads of waste a day were retrieved from that area and spread out for law enforcement to search, BPD Capt. Joe Qualters said. About 500 tons of trash were searched daily.

Planning for the search began during the first days after Spierer’s June 3 disappearance, Qualters said. Dumpsters in the area of 11th Street and College Avenue, the last place Lauren was seen, were searched immediately after she was reported missing.

During the week of June 6, police contacted the waste collection companies that provide services to that area. It was determined that all Bloomington waste is moved to a transfer station south of the city and then to Sycamore Ridge Landfill in Pimento, Ind., Qualters said.

Pimento is about 12 miles south of Terre Haute, Ind.

The waste taken from Bloomington at that time was identified, and Republic Services, the company that operates the landfill, isolated and secured that area, Qualters said. No further waste was dumped there.

“We very much appreciate the efforts of everyone involved, and the cooperation of those affiliated with Sycamore Ridge Landfill and Republic Services has been outstanding,” Diekhoff said.

— Jake New

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