Lauren Spierer: One Year Later
By Jake New
Then the conferences stopped. The search groups dwindled from thousands to a dozen. And the posters began to fade.
Sunday, June 3, marks the one year anniversary of Lauren’s disappearance. Here we look back at a year of questions still left unanswered.
Lauren hangs out with friends at Kilroy’s Sports Bar. Around 2:30 a.m., she leaves with an Indiana University student named Corey Rossman, leaving her shoes and cell phone behind. The pair return to her home at Smallwood Plaza where a physical altercation reportedly occurs with some of the complex’s residents. They then allegedly go to Rossman’s friend’s apartment. At about 4:30 a.m., she allegedly decides to return home and is last seen at the intersection of 11th Street and Morton Avenue.
Lauren’s parents fly into Indianapolis after hearing their daughter is missing. They rent a car, drive to Bloomington, file a police report and begin combing the area around Lauren’s apartment and Kilroy’s Sports Bar. The Bloomington Police Department also starts searching with dogs in nearby areas. Officers conduct searches throughout the city.
Volunteers gather outside Smallwood Plaza to create a search plan. Local residents, students, friends and family map a route to explore Bloomington and lakes Lemon, Griffy and Monroe. Lauren’s mother, Charlene Spierer, tells the Indiana Daily Student that Lauren has a heart condition called Long QT syndrome. She urges whoever knows about her daughter’s location to take her to a hospital. The Spierers meet with police to discuss the next steps.
IU Dean of Students Harold “Pete” Goldsmith announces that IU employees are searching the campus and buildings for any trace of Lauren.
Bloomington Police receive between 30 and 40 tips following the airing of an episode of “America’s Most Wanted,” which featured Lauren’s case.
Police release pictures obtained from surveillance video showing a white, four-door truck. According to time stamps on the videos, the truck circled the block and drove north on Morton Street at 4:14 a.m. The truck was later determined to be unrelated to the case.
The daily volunteer searches end, and the search headquarters is closed. The BPD decides to focus the search exclusively on tips and specific information they receive.
The owners and managers of Smallwood Plaza send an open letter to local media quoting poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, saying they miss Lauren “like hell.”
Lauren’s parents organize a “searcher’s reunion” at IU’s Woodlawn Field. Volunteers are thanked and encouraged to share memories of the search so far.
Local motorcyclists ride 50 miles from Bloomington through Bean Blossom, Ind., and to Nashville, Ind., raising awareness for Lauren.
After originally denying their involvement and even a Lauren Spierer connection, the BPD confirm that they are working with the FBI. Team Adam of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and IU Police begin to search a landfill in Pimento, Ind. The search had been planned since the first week of Lauren’s disappearance, and officers plan to search for 12 hours a day for the next two weeks.
The landfill search is called off. Nine days of combing through more than 4,100 tons of trash results in no new clues. The search ends earlier than expected after investigators realize they are beginning to search through trash from both outside of Bloomington and the correct timeline.
Lauren’s parents, friends and more than 125 people distribute updated fliers about Lauren around Bloomington.
Classes begin at IU for the fall semester. More than 40,000 students are back in town from summer vacation.
Three months have passed since Lauren's disappearance. It’s also Charlene Spierer’s birthday. Charlene releases an open letter, addressed to the person who knows what happened to Lauren. “Do you think we are going to walk away without finding out the answers?” she writes. “Do you think we are going to rest until we find Lauren? We will not. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHO YOU HAVE TAKEN FROM US.”
A concert is organized to raise awareness. Planned by 20 campus groups, it features Brice Fox and Daniel Weber and is emceed by IU Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Crean.
The Spierers reveal that they have hired a private investigative team, led by media personality Bo Dietl, to find information about Lauren. In an interview on a New York television station, Dietl calls Bloomington’s police chief “Gomer Pyle.”
About a dozen volunteers put up new posters around town.
It has been six months since Lauren's disappearance. Volunteers organize a prayer and support walk. BPD Cpt. Joe Qualters releases a statement saying, “The Bloomington Police Department remains as committed to this investigation as we were on June 3, and our vigorous efforts will continue as we seek to provide answers to Lauren’s family and the Bloomington community.”
The University decides to “rotate” the button linking to information about Lauren’s disappearance from the top of its website. Lauren’s family expresses disappointment.
Charlene Spierer tells local media she no longer believes her daughter is alive.
The Spierers announce a poster creation project, asking users to design and submit their own missing posters to a Tumblr blog. The site receives 110 uploads.
Captain Qualters says there does not seem to be a connection between a missing female student in Louisiana and Lauren. BPD had reached out to local police there after hearing about the case which involved a petite, blonde female student going missing late at night. Similar inquiries have become standard procedure for BPD, which has reached out to other agencies about remains found in neighboring cities and states, as well as a man accused of killing three women in New Albany, Ind.
It has been one year since Lauren Spierer’s disappearance.
To read more about Lauren, visit www.idsnews.com/laurenspierer
How to help
Money can be donated to a fund through the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center’s website at iuhillel.org or at findlauren.com.
Anyone with information related to Lauren Spierer’s disappearance is asked to call (812) 339-4477, or send tips to Find Lauren, P.O. Box 1226 Bloomington, Ind., 47402.