JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (Jan. 29, 2016)– A source told FOX59 that a Bloomington Police detective, with a criminal defense attorney present, sought a DNA swab at the Johnson County Jail Thursday night from a man whose former property was searched by FBI agents as part of the Lauren Spierer investigation.
Justin Wagers, 35, has been housed at the jail in Franklin since last August on public indecency charges.
Wagers previously lived at an address on Morgantown Road outside of Martinsville where federal agents and Bloomington investigators searched for evidence in the disappearance of the IU coed who vanished in June 2011.
“We did assist the FBI at a location in Morgan County as part of the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Lauren Spierer,” Bloomington Police Lt. John Kovach, a patrol supervisor not connected to the case, said.
Investigators spent several hours Thursday searching the property with a cadaver dog and also visited a Wagers family plot near Trafalgar.
A source said Bloomington Police confirmed to Charlene Spierer that they were following up on a tip that Wagers might have knowledge of her daughter’s disappearance.
Lauren Spierer disappeared after a night of drinking in downtown Bloomington off the IU campus. No actual evidence of her disappearance has ever been discovered.
Throughout the course of the investigation, federal agents, local police, private investigators hired by the Spierer family and FOX59 have tracked down several tantalizing leads that have yet to solve the mystery.
As far back as 1999, Wagers was arrested repeatedly for exposing himself in several central Indiana communities.
While Wagers’ criminal record includes charges of intimidation, harassment and violation of a protective order, there was a single minor misdemeanor charge of battery causing injury which was eventually dropped.
Wagers was not in jail in the spring of 2011, when Spierer failed to return home from a friend’s Bloomington townhouse, but his criminal history does not include charges associated with violence or weapons as might be expected of a prime suspect in the young woman’s disappearance.
Wagers’ attorney would not comment on FOX59’s report of an attempt by Bloomington Police to seek a DNA sample from his client.
“Mr. Wagers has no knowledge regarding the disappearance of Lauren Spierer,” wrote attorney Chris Eskew, “or any other missing person.”
If investigators were successful in obtaining a DNA swab, a development often accompanied by a search warrant, it would be valuable as evidence only if investigators could compare the sample to substances recovered from the crime scene or a body, neither of which detectives have.
Last summer, investigators arrested Wagers as he was charged with exposing himself in several Johnson County communities.
In mid-August, IMPD detectives allege Wagers was captured on surveillance video exposing himself in a Goodwill store on Indianapolis’ south side.
Robert and Charlene Spierer engaged the services of Bo Dietl Associates, a New York City private investigations agency, to conduct its own probe into their daughter’s disappearance.
Associates of the Dietl firm, or its own investigators, have visited Indianapolis often over the last four-and-a-half years, three times since last summer, in an effort to uncover new information and chase down potential leads.
People familiar with the investigation were coincidentally in Indianapolis Thursday night when word of the Morgan County FBI search was reported.
A spokesperson for the Spierers told FOX59 that the family is following news reports on this latest development as well as reaching out to its own investigators and authorities.