News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 15, 2013

Bloomington gets new billboards for missing student

Associated Press

---- — BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Nearly two years after an Indiana University student vanished, firefighters are rebuilding the weathered signs spread across Bloomington that feature a photograph of the smiling 20-year-old.

The 20 large, wooden-framed signs were erected after Lauren Spierer vanished on June 3, 2011, following a night of partying with friends in downtown Bloomington. Firefighters in the college town also are hanging new posters of Spierer, an apparel merchandising student from Greenburgh, N.Y.

The firefighters have received donated materials from several local businesses for the billboards, from the framing wood to the white paint. The posters placed in the wooden frames have also been redesigned. The material for the new posters and fliers was also donated.

The new signs and posters are going up throughout Bloomington just weeks before Spierer would have graduated in May from IU as part of the Class of 2013.

Her mother, Charlene Spierer, has thanked the firefighters in a letter for their efforts to keep Lauren’s image prominent in Bloomington. She also said in an email to The Herald-Times that while Lauren won’t be graduating, she will still “have a presence in Bloomington.”

“Our one and only goal until we find Lauren is to be a reminder, to maintain awareness, to be Lauren’s voice with the hope of getting that one final lead which will allow us to bring our daughter home,” she said in her email.

Bloomington firefighter Lee Chapman told The Herald-Times that helping refurbish the signs urging people who might have information on her disappearance to contact authorities has brought him some personal solace.

His 22-year-old son Robert died in a car accident after his first night on duty as a Bloomington Township firefighter. Chapman said the time he’s spent helping the Spierers “has just kind of filled the void, where I would be thinking too much. At least I got closure on my end.”