Missing and Never Forgotten
Fashion Student Lauren Spierer Missing From Indiana University Since Friday
By CHRISTINA NG
June 6, 2011
Search parties fanned out today looking for an Indiana Univesity student with a dangerous heart condition who has been missing for four days.
Lauren Spierer is a pint-sized student who weighs less than 100 pounds and is 4-foot-11 and had just completed her sophomore year at the school's Bloomington campus.
She was last seen at about 4:30 a.m. on Friday morning walking to her apartment. The Indiana Daily Student reports that Spierer was at Kilroy's Sports Bar Thursday night and then at a friend's party. She was last seen at the intersection of 11th Street and College Avenue. Surveillance footage from her apartment at Smallwood Plaza shows that she never came home.
Her keys were found a block away from where she was last seen, but there have been no other traces of the missing student.
"Lauren is an amazing person and friend. She's artsy, fun, and different," says Becca Lefkowitz, 19, Lauren's best friend since seventh grade. "I can't imagine anyone doing any harm to her."
According to Lefkowitz, Spierer suffers from a condition called Long QT Syndrome, which is a heart rhythm disorder for which she sometimes needs medication. This disorder can cause uncontrollable and dangerous arrhythmias.
Spierer is an apparel and merchandising major and has interned with Anthropologie in New York. She planned to continue there after completing a summer course in Indiana.
Lefkowitz spoke to Spierer's mother today and said the family is "in complete shock" and wanting to wake up from this "nightmare."
Spierer is from Edgemont, N.Y., where her parents Robert and Charlene Spierer still live. They arrived in Bloomington on Saturday and her sister and uncle are on their way there today to join the search.
Friends and supporters have taken to social networking to get the word out. A Facebook page created for her has over 4,000 members, with messages like "Keep the momentum going strong!" and "I am praying every second for you all."
Spierer's mom has used the page to ask people to call in any tips to the Bloomington Police Department, "no matter how insignificant you may think it is."
A Twitter page created @NewsOnLaurenS has over 2,000 followers and continues to grow.
Blair Wallach, 20, has been Spierer's roommate at Indiana University for the past two years and they have been friends since attending camp together at the age of 9.
At home in New Jersey for the summer, Wallach says, "I just hope they find her. She's my best friend and we just need to know that she's okay. We're hoping a miracle happens."
Spierer was last seen wearing long, back stretch pants, a white shirt, and no shoes. A website in Indiana has been set up to organize volunteers and the family is asking that any tip be reported to the Bloomington Police Department at (812) 339-4477.
IU student Lauren Spierer search: Police want more information on car
Police hope enhancement of a streetside video might provide clues in the disappearance of Indiana University student Lauren Spierer.
Capt. Joe Qualters of the Bloomington Police Department said a car, or possibly two cars, caught the attention of investigators reviewing business videos from the area where Spierer was last seen
They are working to make the video more clear in order to identify the kind of car and whether the video captured one vehicle or two similar ones.
He said the car or cars were seen in the area of North Walnut and 10th and 11th street, where the 20-year-old was last seen walking home to Smallwood Plaza about 4:30 a.m. June 3.
“It’s not a heavily traveled street that time of morning,” Qualters said. The video might depict one car circling the block, or two different cars, he said.
Qualters said the driver or drivers may have seen something, or might possibly have been involved in Spierer’s disappearance.
“This is a person who might have information, not a vehicle of interest or a suspect vehicle” at this point, Qualters said. “This is something that has caught our attention.”
Police are “curious,” he said, and hope to release a description of the car or cars “very, very soon.”
When asked by a reporter about rumors that Spierer may have died from an overdose of cocaine, and that panicked friends may have hidden her body somewhere, Qualters said investigators “absolutely” had “heard information along those lines.”
It is among many rumors swirling around the case. “There is a lot of information coming in, and we’ve heard a lot of other things too,” Qualters confirmed. “There’s no shortage of information. I don’t know that there’s been any possibility (about what happened to Spierer) ruled out at this point.”
Monday afternoon, an undercover BPD police car circled the area of 10th and 11th street, near College Avenue. Two young people in the backseat, a man and woman, pointed things out as the car slowly drove numerous times around the block.
A lawyer hired to represent Jesse Wolff, Spierer’s boyfriend of two years, said his client has cooperated with police throughout the investigation.
Bloomington attorney Joe Lozano, a former Monroe County deputy prosecutor, said Wolff called Spierer’s parents to let them know their daughter was missing and also spoke to police about her disappearance before hiring a lawyer.
“He has fully cooperated and done what the police wanted,” Lozano said Monday afternoon. “He has nothing to hide.”
Wolff reportedly has returned home to his family in New York as the search for Spierer continues.
Three other IU students involved in the investigation — Spierer acquaintances Corey Rossman, Jay Rosenbaum and Mike Beth — also have hired lawyers to represent them as the search continues.
On Sunday, an Indiana State Police helicopter scanned the area, searching downtown rooftops, waterways and along railroad tracks. “It was a secondary-type search to make sure we’ve covered all the bases,” Qualters said, adding there may be more air searches.
He also said investigators are expanding their interviews to other friends and associates who may be able to shed light on what happened to Spierer.
Qualters said initial reports of 10 “people of interest” in the case were misleading, since the number of people they are talking to who they suspect know something changes every day. “That’s a fluid number that changes from day to day,” he said, asking the media to stop reporting the number since it changes all the time.
Qualters said police are not “leaning one way or another” regarding whether they believe Spierer was abducted by a stranger or by someone who may have known her.
“We are gathering information at this point and we do not have enough to take us down one particular road as to what happened,” he said after Monday’s daily news conference updating the media on the investigation’s progress.
He said an expert from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is in town to assist in locating Spierer, joining the efforts of special searchers who look for clues on horseback.
Robert Spierer, an accountant in New York, said that despite the search for his daughter entering its second week, “We are very much focused on finding Lauren. We obviously are not giving up hope.”
Her mother, social worker Charlene Spierer, looked into the television cameras at the news conference and told her daughter her family loves her. “Your spirit is with us. We are never going to stop looking.”
She read from an email her daughter sent her parents from a working trip to Israel over Spring Break this year.
“I’m soaking up everything. And living up every single second.”