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Entries in Indiana University (13)

Monday
Sep052011

Lauren Spierer's Mother Releases Letter to Daughter's Abductor

Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- In a chilling letter addressed "To whom this may concern," Charlene Spierer speaks directly to those responsible for the disappearance of her daughter, Lauren Spierer, three months ago.

Lauren Spierer, 20, was last seen on June 3 leaving a sports bar in Bloomington, Ind., where she was a student at Indiana University. Classes have started again at IU, and Charlene recalls in the letter the excitement her family felt last year as Lauren began her freshman year.

But, she writes, "this year is considerably different. We packed and shipped all of Lauren's things home. 19 boxes. ... I won't go into the details of what it was like to pack Lauren's things. I will just tell you it was excruciating."

The investigation into the disappearance of the petite fashion major has taken many turns, yielding thousands of tips and at least 10 persons of interest.

In the weeks immediately after she went missing, some of Lauren's friends came under scrutiny for not coming forward voluntarily to provide information to the police.

There was speculation that Spierer may have overdosed on cocaine, and those with her panicked and disposed of her body. One month after she went missing, a body turned up in an Indiana creek, but it was later determined that it was not her.

"Much has happened over the past three months. I won't bore you with the details, if you've even gotten this far in reading this letter. I will say we have had the support and guidance of a multitude of people which has helped keep us going," Charlene writes in the letter published on a website dedicated to providing news on Lauren.

Charlene and her husband, Robert, are offering a reward of $100,000 for information that leads to finding their daughter.

Search efforts are ongoing in Bloomington, and a Facebook page, Twitter feed, website and blog continue to offer updates on the investigation, as well as pleading with the public to help find Spierer.

"If you think for a minute, her father and I are going to disappear, think again. We are just as determined today as we were day one," Charlene Spierer writes. "Do you think this is a game? This is no game. We are in this for the long haul ... we will NEVER give up."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul052011

Indiana Body Not Missing College Student Lauren Spierer

Blair Wallach(INDIANAPOLIS) -- The body found in an Indiana creek Sunday is not that of missing college student Lauren Spierer, the Marion County Coroner's Office in Indianapolis said Tuesday.

"It appears as though this is an African-American female and not that of Lauren Spierer," Chief Deputy Coroner Alfie Ballew said.

A forensic pathologist and forensic anthropologist have determined that the "physical structural characteristics" of the body, including bone structure of the face, dental structure of the mouth and hair on the head, indicate that the body does not belong to Spierer.

The autopsy is ongoing and the coroner's office will work with the Indianapolis Police Department to determine the victim's identity and cause of death. While the process, which will involve microscopic sampling, might take up to several weeks, the cause of death might never be determined.

The body was discovered Sunday night at Fall Creek, located about 65 miles north of Bloomington, Ind., where missing Indiana University student Spierer was last seen June 3.

Witnesses reportedly spotted the body floating in the water at the creek's edge just before 7 p.m.

"Once we find out who she is, then we can backtrack and try to determine the events that led to her demise," said Kendale Adams, Indianapolis police public information officer to ABC's local affiliate WRTV.

Spierer was last seen at 4:30 a.m. at the intersection of 11th street and College Avenue, walking home to her apartment after a night out at Kilroy's Sports Bar and, later, a friend's party. Surveillance footage from her apartment at Smallwood Plaza shows that she never returned home. The last trace of the missing student was her keys, found one block away from where she was last seen.

Police in Bloomington have named 10 persons of interest in their ongoing investigation, including Jesse Wolf, Spierer's boyfriend who first reported her disappearance, and Jason Rosenbaum, the last person to admit seeing Spierer.

Sunday marked one month since the 4-foot-11, 95-pound fashion major disappeared.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun282011

Last Person to See Missing Lauren Spierer Denies Lack of Cooperation

Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- Twenty-year-old Jason Rosenbaum has become the center of attention in the search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer. Rosenbaum was the last person to admit seeing Spierer before she disappeared in the early hours of June 3.

So eyebrows rose when Rosenbaum hired a high-profile Indianapolis lawyer and reports surfaced that he had left his Bloomington condo in the middle of search efforts.

However, Rosenbaum's attorney, James Voyles, is denying speculation about his client's less-than-forthcoming behavior.

Voyles released a statement Monday afternoon declaring his client's cooperation: "Mr. Rosenbaum has fully cooperated with the investigation of the disappearance of Lauren Spierer and will continue to do so. He has provided full statements to the police and passed a polygraph that has also been provided to authorities. Mr. Rosenbaum hopes for nothing less than Lauren to be found and to be safe."

Voyles did not respond to messages left inquiring whether his client had submitted DNA samples or why Rosenbaum felt the need to get a lawyer.

Rosenbaum is one of at least ten persons of interest in the case. Others include her boyfriend, Jesse Wolff, and fellow students David Rohn, Corey Rossman and Mike Beth. DNA samples have been collected from some of the persons of interest, according to the Bloomington police department.

At a press conference last week, Bloomington Police Capt. Joe Qualters said, "Nobody that has been mentioned in this investigation has been cleared."

The search for Spierer has had an enormous social media presence, and this continued with reports about Rosenbaum. People on Twitter have been demanding that Rosenbaum speak and be investigated, and a blog called "Jay Rosenbaum Needs To Talk" has been created.

All of this comes after police and Spierer's family publicly expressed frustration last week at the lack of information from Spierer's friends.

Capt. Joe Qualters said the words "perplexing," "curious" and "disturbing" might be the adjectives chosen to describe Spierer's friends' behavior. "All in all, I think I'd probably characterize it as unfortunate," Qualters said.

Last Saturday was "Find Lauren Day" in Bloomington and more than 500 volunteers came out to search for the missing student, but no new information was reported.

A $120,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to Spierer. Her parents are offering $100,000, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is offering $10,000, and Spierer's apartment complex is offering $10,000.

The petite blonde is 4'11" and weighs less than 100 pounds. She has been missing for 25 days after a night out with friends in Bloomington.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun242011

Frustration with Silent Friends in the Search for Lauren Spierer

Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- The search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer ended its third week with the lack of information from her friends as a main point of interest in the case.

Only one of her friends voluntarily came forward to share information in the investigation, police have said. The others had to be tracked down by investigators.

Three weeks ago Friday, the 20-year-old disappeared after a night out with friends in Bloomington, Ind.

City police have acknowledged investigating speculation that Spierer may have overdosed on cocaine and that the men with her might have panicked and disposed of her body. In a Monday press conference they said that was just one theory in the case.

At Friday's news conference, Capt. Joe Qualters said the words "perplexing," "curious" and "disturbing" might be the adjectives chosen to describe Spierer's friends' behavior. "All in all, I think I'd probably characterize it as unfortunate," Qualters said.

"I am extremely disappointed by the fact that only one of Lauren's friends has called the Bloomington Police Department with any information," Spierer's mom Charlene Spierer at Thursday's press conference.

"Why?" Charlene Spierer asked, "I guarantee you Lauren would have been the first to call."

Qualters said Friday that 1,500 tips, 175 items of evidence and over 300 hours of video have come in since the beginning of the investigation and that the relevance of these items continues to be evaluated. At least 10 persons of interest have also been named and no one has been cleared.

But when a reporter asked if the police have a better idea Friday of what happened to Spierer than three weeks ago, Qualters replied simply, "No."

Qualters drew attention to a new poster behind him and announced that Saturday is "Find Lauren Day," an effort to draw more search volunteers and dedicate a full day to the search.

The captain also said that Friday would be the last of the daily press conferences. In the event of big news, he will call the media back or send out press releases. He emphasized that the outward appearance of drawing back on the investigation doesn't mean they are not still working hard on it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun152011

New Photos Released of Missing Student, Truck of Interest

Goodshoot RF/Thinkstock(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- Police searching for missing Indiana student Lauren Spierer released surveillance photos Wednesday of Spierer on the night she disappeared, and a truck seen in the early morning hours near the spot where she vanished.

Her father, Robert Spierer, made an emotional appeal for help as he held up the photo -- showing Lauren in a white V-neck blouse and black leggings -- at a news conference in Bloomington, Ind.

The photo showed the Lauren her family knew and loved, he said. "She's a happy, smiling, beautiful young lady on her way out for the evening…that's the Lauren we're looking for," Robert Spierer said.

"She's very dear to us…we want to get her back just to embrace her and tell her we love her," he said, as his wife Charlene stood nearby silent and somber.

Police appealed for any information about the truck, described as a white Chevy Silverado or Colorado four-door shortbed from the mid-2000s, with equipment in the back and writing or a logo on the doors.

They hope its driver can provide information about the disappearance of Spierer, 20, who had just finished her sophomore year at Indiana University.

Bloomington Police Capt. Joe Qualters said the truck was seen circling the block between 4:14 a.m. and 4:24 a.m. on June 3. "We're talking about a very close proximity to the location where Lauren was last seen," he said.

"We are treating it as hopefully someone who can provide information to us," he said.

Spierer was hanging out with friends at Kilroy's Sports Bar, where she left her phone and shoes, and at an apartment on June 2 and in the early morning hours of June 3. She was with three male friends in the apartment near where the white truck was seen. One one of those men, Jay Rosenbaum, told police she left the building to go home around 4:15 a.m.

Qualters has acknowledged speculation that Spierer may have overdosed on cocaine and that the men with her might have panicked and disposed of her body. But he said in a Monday press conference that was just one theory in the case.

Spierer -- who is only 4-foot-11 and weighs less than 100 pounds -- has a heart condition, Long QT Syndrome, a disorder that causes potentially dangerous irregular heartbeats.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun142011

Search for Missing Indiana University Student Goes Viral

Courtesy Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- A new poster has been released in the search for missing 20-year-old Indiana University student Lauren Spierer.  While the poster includes the typical photo, physical description and contact information, it also has a more unusual feature.

Beside Spierer's photograph is a QR barcode, a square black and white barcode that can be photographed with a cellphone application that then takes you to a website.  In this case, it's the official Find Lauren website run by her family.

This is just the latest in a search effort that has utilized multiple forms of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, websites and an upcoming blog.  Each of these has both "official" accounts coming from friends and family and "unofficial" pages run by other supporters.

The NewsOnLaurenS Twitter account has over 19,000 followers to date.  The account sent out a tweet on Tuesday that read, "WOW! We have followers averaging 34 tweets per minute! Thank you for doing all you can virtually to get out Lauren's information!!"

The account is constantly tweeting and even live tweets the daily press conferences with Spierer's family and the Bloomington Police Department, sending bite-sized news updates into the digital universe.

Spierer's best friends Blair Wallach and Becca Lefkowitz were among the first to start tweeting when the young woman disappeared on June 3 at around 4:30 a.m.

The Spierer family's Facebook page, "Official Lauren Spierer Updates From Her Family," has over 18,000 "likes" on Facebook.  The family posts several times a day on this page.

The buzz created by family, friends and supporters helped get the case a two-minute segment on America's Most Wanted on Saturday night, after which the Bloomington police received dozens of tips from viewers.

Many of Spierer's friends have taken to tweeting celebrities, in hopes that they will re-tweet the message and photos to their millions of followers.  And they have.  Personalities from Ryan Seacrest to Anderson Cooper and Lady Gaga to Kim Kardashian have all re-tweeted.

According to Trendsmap.com, a website that tracks searches and Twitter mentions around the world, the #FindLauren hashtag on Twitter, which connects all the similar tweets, has been trending in the United States, England, Japan and India, among other countries.

Spierer disappeared 11 days ago after a night out with friends at Kilroy's Sports Bar in Bloomington.  No arrests have been made in the case but police have identified 10 persons of interest.  DNA samples have been gathered from several of these people who were allegedly among the last to see Spierer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun132011

Missing Indiana Student's Mom Makes Emotional 'Mother's Plea'

Courtesy Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- Missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer's mother sent a pointed message Sunday: "I want to say to the person who has Lauren or has harmed Lauren: Shame on you!  In relationship to that, the person who knows this person who's not coming forward with the information, I beg you to come forward."

In the 10 days since Spierer, 20, has been missing, her father Robert Spierer has been the main public voice of the family, but a visibly distressed Charlene Spierer spoke passionately at news conferences in Bloomington, Indiana on Saturday and Sunday.

"I am here for you 100 percent," Charlene Spierer said to her daughter.  "I will never leave you.  I love you with all my heart, and I need you back."

Making a "mother's plea" on Saturday, Charlene Spierer said, "I'm not comfortable with this, but I just want to say that as I travel throughout Bloomington, Lauren is with me everywhere.  She's here.  I go down Kirkwood, I see her, I hear our conversations.  I step on the IU campus, I see her, I hear our conversations.  She's everywhere here to me, she's everywhere, but she's nowhere.  Somebody knows where she is.  She's somewhere."

America's Most Wanted aired a two-minute segment Saturday night on Spierer's disappearance and Bloomington Police Department Capt. Joe Qualters said 30 to 40 tips were received after the show and they are expecting more.

"We are very hopeful we'll finally get that phone call to find Lauren," Qualters said.

Qualters also revealed that it was Spierer's longtime boyfriend who reported her disappearance to the police on the afternoon of June 3.

Police have called Spierer's boyfriend one of 10 persons of interest, but Hadad Tamir, Spierer's roommate, said the couple has a loving relationship.

"He really cares about her," Tamir said. "Lauren was his life, his number one priority.  He would never do anything to hurt her."

Spierer disappeared after a night out with friends at Kilroy's Sports Bar in Bloomington.  No arrests have been made in the case.  DNA samples have been gathered from several of these people who were allegedly among the last to see Spierer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun112011

Lauren Spierer Disappearance: DNA Collected From Several Men

Comstock/Thinkstock(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- Investigators in the case of missing 20-year-old Indiana University student Lauren Spierer have collected DNA samples from several young men who were allegedly among the last to see the young woman.

Two of these men are Spierer's friends, Corey Rossman, the student she was with on June 3, the morning she disappeared from Bloomington, Ind., and Mike Beth, his roommate.

"I was not the last person with her," Rossman said. "This is all I can say, I'm sorry, but I just hope that they find her as soon as possible and I'm praying for her and her family."

After spending the evening with friends at Kilroy's Sports Bar, police say Spierer left at about 2:30 a.m. with Rossman to go back to her apartment complex. Footage from surveillance cameras show Spierer and Rossman arriving at the building where Rossman's attorney says he was punched in the face.

"We don't know who, why or what was said, but that punch caused him a temporary memory loss," said Carl Satzmann, Rossman's attorney.

Rossman says he does not remember Spierer walking him back to his apartment and leaving him with his roommate. His lawyer says the first thing he remembers from that night is waking up the next day.

After leaving Rossman, Spierer went to another friend's apartment and that friend last saw Spierer walking towards her own apartment around 4:30 a.m. Surveillance video shows her walking with an acquaintance in an alley where her keys and coin purse were found by police.

Spierer's longtime boyfriend is also one of 10 persons of interest.

"We continue to speak with him. He's cooperative," Bloomington Police Lt. Bill Parker said at a press conference.

Spierer's boyfriend, also a student at Indiana University, was the first to express concern when she did not return his text messages.

Hundreds of searchers have been combing Bloomington and beyond every day since Spierer's disappearance. Police have received hundreds of leads but no arrests have been made.

The family of the missing student is offering a $100,000 reward for her safe return.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Missing Student's Boyfriend a Person of Interest

Courtesy Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- Police have no suspects in the disappearance of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer, but said Friday that her long time boyfriend is one of 10 persons of interest.

"We continue to speak with him. He's cooperative," said Bloomington Police Lt. Bill Parker at a press conference.

Spierer, 20, has been missing for a week. She disappeared after partying with friends at a sports bar.

Spierer's friends say that the missing student and her boyfriend have a loving relationship. The unidentified young man, also a student at Indiana University, was one of the first to become alarmed when Spierer didn't return his text messages on June 3.

"He really cares about her. Lauren was his life, his number one priority. He would never do anything to hurt her," said Hadar Tamir, Spierer's roommate.

Bloomington police are continuing their search efforts which so far have turned up no trace of the fashion student. Divers are searching nearby Lake Monroe and a reservoir. Police are using dogs and setting up traffic check points to search for clues. They are also conducting polygraph exams of possible witnesses and pore through surveillance tapes.

"We're not losing hope. We're concentrating on this case completely and finding Lauren. We certainly want to find her alive and we hope that's the case," said Parker.

America's Most Wanted is slated to run a story about Lauren Spierer on Saturday. Police hope it will generate more tips in the case.

The search for the missing Indiana University student has encountered an unusual hurdle. One of the last people to see her alive claims he is suffering from memory loss.

Two hours before Spierer vanished, surveillance cameras captured her coming from Kilroy Sports Bar back to her apartment building with a friend, Corey Rossman. The cameras captured a scuffle between Rossman and another young man at the Smallwood Plaza apartment building complex.

"He was punched in the face. We don't know who, why or what was said, but that punch or punches caused him a temporary memory loss," said Carl Satzmann, Rossman's attorney.

Spierer and Rossman left the apartment building and she escorted Rossman back to his apartment. She was there for about an hour with Rossman and another young man.

Rossman doesn't remember Spierer walking him back to his apartment and the first thing he remembers is waking up the next morning, his attorney said. Police have searched Rossman's car and cell phone.

After returning Rossman to his apartment, Spierer left for another friend's apartment. That friend saw her walk towards her own apartment at about 4:30 a.m. last Friday. The pint-sized student, who weighs less than 100 pounds and is 4-foot-11, was last seen three blocks from her apartment.

Surveillance video also shows Lauren in an alley walking with an acquaintance on the morning she disappeared. The alley is the same place where her keys and coin purse were found by authorities.

The parents of Spierer are offering a $100,000 reward for the safe return of their daughter.

Making time even more crucial is Spierer's dangerous heart condition. She has Long QT Syndrome, an irregular heartbeat, and takes medication to treat the condition.

The apparel and merchandising major is originally from New York. She had just finished her sophomore year at the university. She was taking a summer class before heading back to New York to intern with retailer Anthropologie.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Missing Indiana Student's Friend Claims Memory Loss

Courtesy Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- The search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer is hitting an odd roadblock because one of the last people to see her alive claims he is suffering from memory loss.

Spierer, 20, has been missing for a week. She disappeared after partying with friends at a sports bar.

Two hours before Spierer vanished, surveillance cameras captured her coming from Kilroy Sports Bar back to her apartment building with a friend, Corey Rossman.  The cameras captured a scuffle between Rossman and another young man at the Smallwood Plaza apartment building complex.

"He was punched in the face.  We don't know who, why or what was said, but that punch or punches caused him a temporary memory loss," said Carl Satzmann, Rossman's attorney.

Spierer and Rossman left the apartment building and she escorted Rossman back to his apartment.  She was there for about an hour with Rossman and another young man.

Rossman doesn't remember Spierer walking him back to his apartment and the first thing he remembers is waking up the next morning, his attorney said.  Police have searched Rossman's car and cell phone.

After returning Rossman to his apartment, Spierer left for another friend's apartment.  That friend saw her walk towards her own apartment at about 4:30 a.m. last Friday.  The pint-sized student who weighs less than 100 pounds and is 4-foot-11 was last seen three blocks from her apartment.

Spierer's long time boyfriend was one of the first people to become concerned about her after she stopped responding to his text messages.  Police have also questioned him.

The parents of Spierer, Robert and Charlene Spierer, have traveled from New York to aid in the search.  They are offering a $100,000 reward for the safe return of their daughter.

On Thursday, police conducted a water search of Lake Monroe and searched the city's reservoir.  They have no suspects but continue conducting polygraph exams.

The only trace of Spierer that has been found is her keys.  They were found a block away from where she was last seen.  She left her cell phone and shoes at the sports bar that she'd visited earlier in the night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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