20-year-old Lauren Spierer vanished from her off-campus apartment on June 3, 2011 in Bloomington, IN. Lauren had moved to Bloomington from an affluent neighborhood in Westchester, NY, and said to have been attending Indiana University College studying fashion merchandising and planned on beginning an internship at Anthropologie, a New York clothing store upon completion. She had just completed her sophomore year at the university prior to her disappearance.
It is believed Lauren left a local sports bar at approximately 2:30AM with Corey Rossman, a male acquaintance she had met at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a few weeks prior. They first headed to her Smallwood apartment building on College Avenue and 8th Street but never entered her apartment. It is believed she then went to an apartment complex on 11th Street and Morton accompanied by Rossman. Authorities investigating Lauren’s disappearance confirmed Lauren had been at Kilroy’s Sports Bar, a popular night spot for underage drinkers. Witnesses claim Lauren and Rossman became very intoxicated while there. When Lauren departed she had left her cell phone and shoes at the bar.
Arriving at Lauren’s apartment building soon after departing Kilroy’s, a video surveillance camera on the fifth floor of the building shows that an altercation occurred between several men, one said to be Lauren’s boyfriend, Jesse Wolfe who allegedly was upset that Lauren had been out with Rossman. The pair left the building approximately ten minutes later heading to Rossman’s apartment building. The nature of the altercation has not been publicly disclosed.
Additional reports indicate Lauren appeared incapacitated when she left her apartment the morning of her disappearance stumbling out of the elevator, falling against a wall and had to be helped up by Corey Rossman, a male acquaintance who led her out of the building. A statement made by Carl Salzmann, attorney for Rossman , claims Lauren had helped Rossman walk home after he was punched In the face during an altercation and suffered memory loss as a result. In addition, Rossman’s top-dollar defense attorney has indicated Rossman has passed a polygraph. Rossman claims the only memory he has is waking up the next morning in his bed which has been collaborated by others. According to attorneys for Rossman and his roommate, Mike Beth, Lauren simply escorted Rossman to his apartment where his roommate proceeded to put Rossman to bed.
Jay Rosenbaum, a neighbor and mutual friend of Rossman and Beth, claims after leaving Rossman’s apartment, Lauren arrived at his residence a few doors away. Rosenbaum claims he urged Lauren to stay the night because she appeared intoxicated but claims she left at approximately 4:15AM. Rosenbaum told authorities he last saw her rounding the corner of the building. It is believed Lauren was last seen at approximately 4:30am walking barefoot in the vicinity of College Avenue and 11th Street on her way to her own apartment on 8th Street. Police have stated video footage does not show Lauren ever arrived at her residence. Authorities also believe Lauren lost her purse and keys along the way.
Along with Rossman, Rosenbaum has also hired James Voyles, said to be one of the highest paid attorneys in Indianapolis. Voyles claims Rosenbaum has fully cooperated with authorities passing a polygraph, and submitted DNA. However, in any missing person case when ‘persons of interest’ retain a defense attorneys the tendency is to stop cooperating with the authorities that are investigating the disappearance. For the families of missing, who are desperate to know anything it can only add to the frustration and ambiguity.
As founder and former CEO of the National Center for Missing Adults, during my nearly twenty years working in the field I witnessed families of missing persons display incredible courage when faced with the unimaginable. They also face an experience that is life changing, affecting them emotionally, psychologically, physically and even spiritually. When a loved one mysteriously vanishes the level of trauma caused by ambiguous loss these families experience can’t be measured.
Dr. Pauline Boss, known for her groundbreaking research on ambiguous loss states on her website, ambiguous loss suffered when someone you love is missing differs from ordinary loss in that there is no verification of death and no certainty the missing person will come back or return the way they used to be. For families of missing persons, ambiguous loss freezes the grieving process and family members fluctuate between hope and hopelessness. Suffered too long, the psychological effects can make it impossible to move on with their daily lives. Dr. Paula Boss refers to ambiguous loss as certainly one of the most profound of human experiences.
Searching for Lauren
Upon hearing news of their daughter’s disappearance, Robert and Charlene Spierer immediately flew to Bloomington to assist in the search for Lauren. In the months following her disappearance, they have made repeated emotional public pleas asking for help, even asking local home and business owners to check their garages, fields, surrounding wooded areas for anything that may help bring their daughter home. Charlene also reported Lauren suffers from a rare inborn heart condition called Long QT Syndrome that can lead to palpitations, fainting and sudden death raising urgency to find her.
Leads received by authorities have included a tip that Lauren overdosed on cocaine and those with her panicked and disposed of her body. According to Captain Joe Walters of Bloomington Police Department, they are not ruling this lead out. According to officials, weighing less than 100lbs and suffering from a heart condition, the mix of alcohol and cocaine can be be a deadly mix.
Authorities have conducted extensive ground and canine searches of the surrounding area and the sycamore Ridge Landfill in Terre Haute and Lake Monroe where divers utilized sonar equipment but found nothing. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance.
Using Resources to Find Lauren
Twenty years ago families of the missing faced significant challenges to spread word that a loved one was missing. They were primarily dependent upon making local pleas to media and law enforcement issuing public notifications. With the emergence of social media, families of missing persons can now set up their own websites, Facebook pages, even Twitter accounts enlisting the help of the public throughout the country and world.
The Spierers have been tireless in their search for their daughter appearing on national news, organizing volunteer searches and using social media. It is reported over 70,000 people joined a Facebook event to help in the search across the country. An additional 11,000 joined a Twitter feed in Lauren’s name.
They also hired a well-known private investigator Private detective Richard “Bo” Dietl, formerly a New York City police officer to investigate their daughter’s disappearance. Dietl has been reported as criticizing the Bloomington Police Department’s handling of the case, their lack of cooperation with his investigative efforts and even compared Police Chief Michael Diekhoff as A Gomer Pyle . It must be noted, it is important and beneficial during any investigation for private investigators to attempt to maintain a cooperative relationship with the investigating law enforcement agency as information sharing between both investigative parties is paramount to effectively analyze information and develop new leads. Unfortunately, now there is clearly well publicized tension in the air between Dietl and Bloomington Police Department. Stuck in the middle of the squabbling and potential attention diverted from important aspects of the case is Lauren Spierer.
In my experience, maintaining public awareness of a person’s disappearance is critical and increases the potential of generating that one lead that can assist law enforcement with moving forward with the investigation. It is only through cooperative relationships between those trying to assist that this can be achieved with effectiveness, and it’s important to remember that missing person cases are solved through the help of law enforcement, media, advocacy groups and other resources and most importantly, the public. We must presume someone out there knows something or may have witnessed something they may not think it relevant but with repeated coverage of a missing person case, leads are generated to try and help solve these cases
A Mother’s Plea
Back in September, Lauren’s mother released a letter that was directed at the yet to be identified person responsible for her daughter’s disappearance. In the letter, Charlene tells of the excruciating pain she felt as she had to pack Lauren’s personal belongings and shipped them back to New York. Directed at the individual she wrote, “You know where she is. You are guilty of a heinous crime.” She went on to write, “This is no game. We are in this for the long haul Do you think we are going to walk away without finding out the answers? 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. We will NEVER give up!”
This heartbreaking letter no mother should ever have to write, Charlene ends with, “Dearest Lauren, We are loving you. Missing you. Always, Mom.”
For additional information:
Charlene Spierer Letter @NewsOnLaurenS Twitter Feed
Spierer Family Website: http://www.findlauren.com/
Last wearing white tank top, with a light colored shirt with half sleeves and scoop neck worn over and back and black leggings with silver zippers at the ankles.
Height: 4’ 11”
Hair: Blonde, shoulder length
Bloomington Police Department 812-339-4477
REWARDS OFFERED FOR LAUREN SPIERER’S SAFE RETURN
Lauren’s Apartment Complex Offering $10,000
IN Colts Owner, Jim Isray Offering $10,000
Robert & Charlene Spierer Offering $100,000
Sources: UK News Mail Online, Indiana News Center, True Crime Report, ABC RTV6,
Author – Kym L. Pasqualini
Founder, National Center for Missing Adults
& Social Network Advocate
Missing Persons Advocacy Network
Phone: 800-889-3463 (FIND)