News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 16, 2013

Case of missing IU coed goes to national media

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Charlene Spierer stands in the doorway of her New York home looking at the boxes she and her husband packed and collected from their missing daughter’s Bloomington apartment the summer of 2011.

Nineteen months later, those 19 boxes remain untouched, unopened, unpacked.

Now, those boxes have been photographed and published, illustrating the grief Robert and Charlene Spierer experience every day. The continued search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer has again taken to the national stage — this time in the latest issue of People magazine, with millions of readers in print and online.

The Spierers said they hope by telling their daughter’s story to a popular national magazine, they’ll finally get the one lead that will bring them closure and bring their daughter home.

“Our sole objective is to get that one lead. Anything that we do. If we have one lead, it will have been worth it. That’s our whole objective, to get that one person,” Charlene Spierer told The Herald-Times in a phone interview Friday evening after “Life without Lauren” hit newsstands.

In the article, the Spierers tell People magazine that police and investigators aren’t getting tips or leads as frequently as they used to.

Lauren Spierer was reportedly last seen about 4:30 a.m. on June 3, 2011, at the intersection of 11th Street and College Avenue. It’s been reported she was walking home alone toward her Smallwood Plaza apartment after a night out at Kilroy’s Sports Bar and 5 North Townhomes. She was 20 at the time of her disappearance.

An apparel merchandising student, she would have been a senior this year, getting ready to graduate. This coming Thursday, Lauren Spierer would be celebrating her 22nd birthday.

After months of meetings, the Spierers invited People magazine staff to their suburban New York home for what Charlene Spierer described as a personal interview and story.

The five-page article includes family photographs, pictures of Lauren as a child, and a brief statement from Lauren’s older sister, Rebecca.

“I think it was a chance for us to get the story out to a lot of people,” Charlene Spierer said.

Robert Spierer described the experience of having reporters and photographers in their home as difficult. “It was hard to do. It was a tough experience, having someone in your home.”

Magazine staff did not go into their daughter’s room. Charlene Spierer didn’t either. She still can’t, she told People.

“If these articles, these interviews are the way to do it, we’re just going to have to keep doing it,” Robert Spierer said. “It makes it frustrating, the more time that goes by. Because we try. We try different things through the media. Different ways of pleading for help. We’re just going to keep trying until someone does come through.”

The continued search for answers has been and will be featured on national television.

In December, the Spierers spoke about their daughter’s disappearance on an episode of Katie Couric’s daytime talk show. The episode was titled “Vanished: Gone Without a Trace,” and featured several families who are searching for missing loved ones. The segment was filmed in front of a live studio audience.

And the Spierers said they have been in contact with Dateline NBC producers who are working on an episode about Lauren’s disappearance. The Spierers said Dateline crews may do some filming in Bloomington this week. But a finished episode and television airing are still months in the works.

“If that one person that we’re looking for sees it and responds to it, then we’ve accomplished what we wanted to,” Robert Spierer said.

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