NY Student Missing, Foul Play Suspected


Police said Tuesday they suspect foul play in the disappearance of a 20-year-old Indiana University student from Westchester County but have little information about what happened to her.

Dozens of volunteers headed back out to look for signs of Lauren Spierer in the area where she was last seen at about 4:30 a.m. Friday, walking alone toward her apartment in downtown Bloomington. Spierer's parents said they continue to organize search parties three times a day.

"We're not going to give up," Robert Spierer told reporters at a news conference, as his wife, Charlene, wiped tears from her eyes.

Spierer said his daughter is full of life and always on the go. She volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans and spoke to her mother almost every day.

"She's a loving girl," he said.

The Spierers are asking anyone who saw their daughter Thursday night or after to contact police.

"Every little piece of information that we get is important," Robert Spierer said.

Bloomington police Lt. Bill Parker said Spierer went to a friend's apartment after being at a nearby sports bar, then left for her own apartment about 4:30 a.m. Her friend watched her walk to the street corner near his apartment, Parker said.

"She's never been seen since," Parker said.

Investigators have Spierer's purse and some keys, which were found along the route to her friend's apartment. But Parker said they aren't sure whether Spierer left them on her way to or from her friend's home. She left her cell phone and shoes in the bar.

Posters featuring Spierer's picture are plastered around Indiana University's stately campus and on lamp posts and in shop windows in the college town's downtown area.

Robert Spierer said he and his wife — who traveled from their home in Greenburgh, N.Y., to Bloomington for the search — have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have volunteered to help. Lauren Spierer's sister, Rebecca Spierer, thanked volunteers Tuesday as they drank water and slathered on sunscreen before heading out in the mid-morning heat to distribute fliers and search for clues.

Among those helping the family are the parents of IU student Jill Behrman, who was 19 when she went missing during a bike ride near Bloomington in 2000. Hunters found her skeletal remains three years later in a remote field about 15 miles from the city.

Eric Behrman, Jill's father, said he would encourage Spierer's family to remain positive and hopeful.

"It brings back the memories," Behrman told The Associated Press Tuesday. "We couldn't help thinking what initially we went through."

Anyone with information about Spierer's disappearance is asked to call the Bloomington Police Department at (812) 339-4477.

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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