10 years and no answers in Lauren Spierer disappearance

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The last time anyone saw Lauren Spierer, she was walking up 11th Street toward North College Avenue in Bloomington and headed home after a night of partying on June 3, 2011.

The 20-year-old IU coed disappeared into the night.

“To this day my thought process has always been what happened in Lauren’s disappearance can be attributed to one of three different avenues,” said Mike Ciravolo, President of Bo Dietl and Associates, a New York City private investigation firm hired by Spierer’s parents to solve the mystery. 

“Jesse Wolff has never been properly alibied to anyone’s satisfaction,” said Ciravolo, referring to Spierer’s boyfriend who told investigators he was watching a basketball game with roommates at his house several blocks away from the last place Lauren was spotted and from where he failed to reach her through phone calls and text messages. “The last person had eyes on him at about two-thirty and then they all went to bed.

“We could not disprove that he was at home, but we couldn’t prove it either, so, to my satisfaction, Jesse Wolff is still out there without an alibi.”

At the time of the disappearance, sources told Fox 59 News that Spierer had spent the preceding holiday weekend away from Wolff and with friends at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to observe the 500 Mile Race and had told her longtime boyfriend that she wouldn’t see him on the night of June 2nd because she was suffering from a migraine headache.

During our initial investigation, multiple witnesses told Fox 59 News and Bloomington police that instead, Spierer rotated through the nearby townhouse of a friend and Kilroy’s Sports Bar before returning to her apartment at The Smallwood at Ninth & College, after drinking alcohol and ingesting prescription drugs and leaving her sandals and cellphone at the bar.

“Lauren had a bad heart,” said Ciravolo. “She partied that night and perhaps she could have expired from natural causes, her heart had stopped, maybe she hadn’t taken her medication and her body was disposed of.”

During the last couple hours before she disappeared, Lauren was accompanied to the bar by Corey Rossman, who returned with her to The Smallwood only to be punched by a man identified as a “fraternity brother” of Wolff who spotted him with his friend’s intoxicated girlfriend.

Rossman helped Spierer walk two blocks up an alley to his nearby townhome.

In that alley, the next day, a woman reporting for work found Spierer’s keys.

Upon entering his townhouse, Rossman vomited and was put to bed by his roommate, Mike Beth, who told investigators that Spierer asked him to continue partying.

Beth, who was sober, told Spierer that he had been up late studying for a final exam that was due in a couple hours, it was nearly three a.m., and he was going back to bed.

That’s when Beth walked Spierer to the townhome of Jason Rosenbaum, two doors down where the friends had watched a basketball game before splitting up and Lauren and Rossman left for the bar.

Rosenbaum told investigators that Spierer dozed off but perked up and decided at 4:30 a.m., despite his advice to stay, decided to walk back home to The Smallwood.

Rosenbaum said he last saw Spierer a block away at the corner of 11th & College.

“He claims he yelled out, ‘Text me when you get home,’ but she had no phone,” recalled Ciravolo. “She left her phone at the club. He says he thinks if memory serves him correctly, he may have seen a dark shadowy figure intersect with Lauren when she got to the corner and out of view, but he’s not sure, he’s not positive.”

It should be noted, in early June of 2011, there was a faint light on the easternmost corner of Rosenbaum’s townhouse building, casting illumination onto an alley, and a large tree between the alley and the corner where Jason said he spotted Spierer starting to head southbound toward her apartment.

“Those boys up there have not been very cooperative,” said Ciravolo. “They lawyered up quickly, put up the legal veil.”

In the summer of 2011, the students, their lawyers and Bloomington police said the witnesses offered varying degrees of cooperation, some volunteering to surrender DNA and undergoing polygraph examinations.

Ciravolo said there is still a third distinct possibility that explains Lauren’s disappearance.

“Could an opportunist have come by and taken a 95, 100-pound little five-foot girl who had a few drinks and taken her off the street?” he asked. “If it was an opportunist who snatched her off the street, he was local on June 3rd. I would probably say he lives in that area.”

Investigators are still perplexed that no one has come forth with the slightest telltale clue that has led to a definitive answer.

“I would have thought with the three scenarios that I pointed out someone would have caved, someone would have had a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment, some moment of conscience and made a phone call,” said Ciravolo. “That’s never happened with fraternity brothers, that’s never happened with fellow students, its just never happened.”

Though Bloomington police said on June 4th they launched a search of the neighborhood where Lauren was last spotted, it was eleven days later when officers were spotted going door-to-door asking for information, but by that time, many students had left IU for the summer and returned home.

BPD also delayed by several days the release of the final surveillance photos from inside the Smallwood of Lauren leaving that morning and have not released other videos taken from a nearby alley along her path to the townhouses of Rossman and Rosenbaum.

In July, more than a month after the disappearance, BPD and other law enforcement partners unsuccessfully searched a landfill in Vigo County for evidence of Lauren’s whereabouts.

After a summer of frustration, Robert and Charlene Spierer retained the services of the New York private investigators.

“We came in three months later and a lot of the kids were not around by the time we got there,” said Ciravolo, “and for a lot of witnesses it wasn’t as fresh in their memory, but we did the best we could with the circumstances and the cards we were dealt

“I spent three weeks in Bloomington and while we were there, we interviewed a lot of important witnesses, a lot of students who were very close with Lauren, some were close with her family.

“Some of the people wouldn’t talk to us. I think I talked to somewhere between 46-52 witnesses during those three weeks. Lengthy interviews. Many of those people interviewed I would always finish my interview with, ‘Have you spoken with the Bloomington detectives? Have you spoken with the police officers for the Bloomington police department?’ and the vast majority had replied that, no, they hadn’t been approached, they hadn’t been asked, nobody knocked on their door, nobody made an appointment to bring them to the station to speak to investigators

“So, a lot of interviews, somewhere between 46 and 52 witnesses were never talked to by anyone but myself, and that would be in September 2011 and that would be three months after the fact.”

At one point, Dietl referred to Bloomington Police Chief as, “Gomer Pyle,” a characterization that further poisoned the cooperation between local investigators and Ciravolo’s staff.

“The Bloomington police, upon our arrival, they were not happy to see us,” said Ciravolo. “They didn’t seem to share in our enthusiasm for this is a big case, we’re here to help, we’ll be happy to share anything we uncover with you, we’re not here to steal anyone’s thunder. We’re here to help find Lauren.

“We didn’t get a warm reception and we were met with kind of a stonewall.

“The chief of the Bloomington Police Department has never shown any cooperation towards us.”

Chief Diekhoff turned down a Fox 59 News request for an interview but released a statement on YouTube where he cited 3500 tips received along with the dozens of interviews his officers conducted over the years.

“Many times, we are asked if Lauren’s case is listed as a cold case. The answer to that is an unequivocal no,” said the chief. “A cold case is a case where no information or leads have come in and the case file sits dormant. That has never been the case regarding Lauren and there has always been something to follow up on.

“The Bloomington Police Department remains as committed to seeking answers regarding Lauren’s disappearance, as we were on June 3rd, 2011, when she was first reported missing.”

Charlene Spierer declined a request for an interview, responding, “It’s just too painful especially when there has still been no progress.”

Lauren’s mother post a statement on Facebook:

“This is what I know. What happened to Lauren was shocking. It is inconceivable to have spoken to Lauren hours before discovering it would be for the last time. Shocking that someone so loved could vanish without a trace but entirely possible. It did happen and ten years later I still struggle. The space that once held hopes and dreams for Lauren will never heal. It is replaced by an ache fueled by the not knowing. I have learned to manage my days, months and years, but in an instant, something will happen which sends me reeling back to the day it all happened. I try my best, I will survive, I will never forget. I do not need a day like today to remember because every day is a day of remembrance.”

If you know anything about the disappearance of Lauren Spierer, call the Bloomington Police Department – (812) 339-4477, or, Beau Dietl & Associates – (212) 557-3334.

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