Lauren Spierer, a 20-year-old Indiana University sophomore, disappeared after a night of partying with friends on June 3, 2011 in downtown Bloomington. It was the last time anyone saw her.
On June 3, 2011, 20-year-old Indiana University student Lauren Spierer was enjoying an evening out at a bar with a bunch of friends. Her boyfriend, Jesse Wolff, hadn’t joined her. But he texted back and forth with her before eventually heading to bed.
Surveillance footage captured Spierer leaving the Bloomington bar just before 2:30 AM. She was accompanied by a friend named Cory Rossman. Several witnesses who had seen Spierer at the bar claimed that both she and Rossman were very intoxicated when they left.
Rossman and Spierer reached her apartment complex but left again shortly afterward. They walked through an alley just before 3:00 AM. They arrived at Rossman’s apartment, and his roommate, Michael Beth, escorted the young man to his room.
Spierer refused to stay and said that she wanted to return to her own home. She ended up at the apartment of Beth’s neighbor, Jay Rosenbaum. He claimed that Spierer left at 4:30 AM and that he saw her for the last time as she was heading south on College Avenue.
Boyfriend Jesse Wolff sent Spierer a text several hours later. But he received a reply from a bar employee indicating that Spierer had forgotten her phone at the establishment. Lauren Spierer was never seen again.
In 2015, 22-year-old Hannah Wilson was found murdered and umped in a vacant lot 10 miles from the Bloomington campus after being reported missing. Daniel Messel was charged and convicted for the crime. Police investigated any possible links between the Spierer disappearance and the Wilson murder, but nothing came of their efforts. To date, no suspects have been named and no new clues have emerged.
Timeline of Lauren Spierer Disappearance:
JUNE 2, 2011 / LATE EVENING
Lauren Spierer, dressed in a white tank top, a white blouse, and black pants, leaves her apartment building, Smallwood Plaza, for a night on the town. She is accompanied by David Rohn, another IU student from her building. The two go to 5 North Town homes, just a few blocks away from Smallwood, to hang out with friends who live there. The friends being Jay Rosenbaum and Cory Rossman, Rosenbaum’s neighbor.
Rohn, from Manhattan, attended the exclusive Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School on the Upper West Side. His attorney, Ron Chapman, confirms that Rohn left Smallwood with Spierer, and that surveillance footage shows Rohn returning at about 12:30 a.m., June 3, and remaining there until around 11 that morning. Rohn later took an FBI-administered polygraph test that showed “no deception.”
JUNE 3, 2011 – 1:46 A.M.*
After walking a few blocks southeast from 5 North Townhomes, Spierer enters Kilroy’s Sports Bar. She shows false identification to get in. (*Date and time from official Bloomington Police Department timeline.)
JUNE 3, 2011 – 2:27 a.m.
She is seen exiting the bar with Cory Rossman. Lauren left her cell phone and shoes at the bar. She had taken off her shoes when she walked out onto the sand-covered patio. Rossman walked with Spierer to her apartment complex.
JUNE 3, 2011 – 2:30 a.m.
She is then seen entering Smallwood Plaza apartments, where her residence is located. A passerby named Zach Oakes noticed her level of inebriation and asked if she was okay. Rossman reportedly replied: “She’s OK, I got it.” Oakes stated that he told Rossman to take her back to her room. Rossman cursed at Oakes, which led to an altercation in which Oakes punched him, knocking him to the floor. Rossman claimed that this blow caused him to lose his memory of the evening.
JUNE 3, 2011 – 2:42 a.m.
Exits apartment complex. Police reported that Spierer did not go to her fifth-floor apartment during this short visit. Surveillance video shows Spierer stumbling and Rossman helping her to her feet and walking out of the building. A few minutes later, she is witnessed by a bystander sitting down on a staircase and falling backwards, hitting her head on the concrete step. The noise of the impact was loud enough for the bystander to hear it and ask whether she was all right. According to the woman, Rossman replied, “She’s OK, I’ll take care of it.” After they continued up the street, she is witnessed falling again. Because of her intoxication level, she didn’t raise her hands to cushion the blow and her face hit the ground unguarded. A few steps later, she fell a third time. At this point, Rossman began carrying Spierer.
JUNE 3, 2011 – 2:48 a.m.
After she left the apartments, she entered an alley that runs between College Avenue and Morton Street. Security cameras mounted on nearby apartments show her exit the alley at 2:51 a.m. and walk toward an empty lot. Spierer’s keys and purse were found along this route through the alley. Spierer and Rossman arrived at Rossman’s apartment shortly after. Michael Beth, his neighbor, was in his own apartment studying. Rossman himself was very intoxicated and stumbling. He vomited on the carpet on the way upstairs. Beth stated that he escorted Rossman to bed. He then tried to persuade Spierer to sleep over for her own safety. He claimed Spierer said she wanted to return to her own apartment.
JUNE 3, 2011 – 3:30 a.m.
Beth said he then phoned his neighbor, Rosenbaum, wanting him to take care of her. Beth said that Spierer was attempting to get Beth to drink with her at her own apartment. She eventually went to Rosenbaum’s apartment, where he observed a bruise under her eye, presumably sustained in the falls earlier in the evening. She told him she didn’t know how she got the bruise. Two calls were placed from Rosenbaum’s phone shortly before she is reported to have left. Rosenbaum said Spierer placed both calls, one to Rohn and one to another male friend. Neither picked up and no messages were left.
JUNE 3, 2011 – 4:30 a.m.
Rosenbaum reports that she left the apartment. This is the last reported sighting of Lauren Spierer. He reported last seeing Spierer at the intersection of 11th Street and College Avenue, headed south on College. She was last seen wearing black leggings, a white shirt, and no shoes.
Several hours later that morning, Jesse Wolff sends Lauren a text. He gets a reply back from an employee at the bar. He reports her missing.
JUNE 3, 2011 / 4:35 A.M.
A homeless man reportedly hears a woman scream just west of where Spierer was last seen.
Rumors of the scream began circulating shortly after news of Spierer’s disappearance got out. A reporter from the Bloomington Herald-Times later looked into the claim, but it’s not clear whether police ever ran down the tip. Speculation on the homeless man’s identity centered around a well-known Bloomington man named Franklin “Road Dog” Crawford, who died just a few days after Spierer disappeared.
Clues and development
An Internet sleuth later claimed to have seen a tweet that showed Rosenbaum might have been hosting unidentified visitors from Michigan that morning. The tweet, if it did exist, is no longer posted publicly, but reports of it raised questions about what the visitors might know. “There were other people around,” an attorney for Rosenbaum said “And I believe the police have all their names and information.”
JUNE 9, 2011
Lt. Parker confirms the police have “persons of interest” in the case, but will not reveal who they are.
JUNE 13, 2011
A reporter at a press conference asks a BPD spokesman if the department has heard rumors that Spierer might have died from a drug overdose and that fellow students might have panicked and disposed of her body. “Have we heard information along those lines?” he replies. “Absolutely.” The theory is amplified by her parents’ earlier announcement that their daughter had Long QT syndrome, a rare heart condition.“ How that figured into the events of the evening I don’t know,”
JUNE 15, 2011
BPD releases grainy surveillance images of a white pickup truck that appeared to pass twice through the area where Spierer was last seen on the morning she went missing.
In one of the pictures, the truck seemed to have something in the bed just behind the extended cab—which, in the public’s imagination, resembled a huddled human form. Police cleared the driver a few days later.
But random abduction remains a valid theory: “There’s always the possibility that some stranger picked up a young girl—she was out there alone, and she was a very small girl—at 4 o’clock in the morning and dragged her into their vehicle,” says Cutter, the P.I.
Strange cases, but are they connected?
Police probe link between murder of Indiana student Hannah and 2011 disappearance of Lauren Spierer as it’s revealed they were in the SAME BAR during final hours they were seen alive
April, 24 2015 – Hannah Wilson
Hannah Wilson was abducted from the IU campus early Friday morning on April, 24 2015 and her body was found near Lake Lemon in Brown county sometime later that day. Police quickly arrested 49 year old Bloomington resident Daniel Messel and charged him with the murder.
Messel has a long criminal history of violent crimes against women and has served time in prison. The similarities in the cases of Lauren Spierer and Hannah Wilson are striking.
In fact the similarities in 4 cases are quite stunning. 4 young women, 3 of them IU students, had been abducted and killed between 2000 and 2015. The other cases are:
May 31st, 2000 – Jill Behrman
IU student Jill Behrman was the first, disappearing on May 31st, 2000. Her remains were found in a rural wooded area of Morgan county by a hunter in 2003. John Meyers was convicted of the murder in 2006 but his conviction has been highly criticized as there was virtually no evidence linking him to the crime.
Behrman left her Bloomington home and went for a bike ride on May 31, 2000.
According to court records, Behrman logged off her computer at 9:32 a.m. and did not report to work at the student recreational center for her noon-to-3 p.m. shift. She also missed a planned lunch date with her dad and grandparents.
Authorities found Behrman’s bicycle on June 2, 2000, near North Maple Grove Road and West Maple Grove Road, about 10.5 miles from her home.
There was widespread media attention. Volunteers searched the Bloomington area for clues to Behrman’s disappearance. A $25,000 reward was offered to anyone who could help find her. The reward was raised to $50,000 and again to $100,000.
The case took several false turns before investigators homed in on Myers.
A hunter found human bones in woods near Warthen and Duckworth roads in Morgan County on March 9, 2003, nearly three years after Berhman disappeared.
Investigators found wadding and pellets typically found in 12-gauge shotgun shells.
“The cause of Behrman’s death was ruled to be a contact shotgun wound to the back of the head,” court records said.
Myers drew investigators’ attention soon after Behrman went missing, court records said.
He lived in Ellettsville, about a mile from where Behrman’s bike was discovered. Witnesses reported seeing a white van in the area on the day Behrman disappeared. Myers, records said, had access to a white van through his work.
Police interviewed Myers and his parents in June 2000. In 2001, Myers called the FBI to report finding a bone and women’s panties in a tree near where he had been fishing. He told his mother they might be helpful in the Behrman case, records said.
In March 2002, court records said Myers was in Monroe County Jail on an unrelated charge when he told a correctional officer he had found letters in food trays that contained information about Behrman’s disappearance.
“Myers additionally compiled a list of places potentially providing clues to Behrman’s location,” records said. State Police investigated the locations, which included gravel pits, records said.
Investigators later concluded that Myers killed Behrman because his girlfriend broke up with him and he was angry.
Myers was arrested in April 2006. A jury convicted him of murder in October 2006. A judge later sentenced him to 65 years in prison.
Later, Judge James Sweeney of the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis vacated the murder conviction against Myers, a move that lead to his release. “In the end,” Sweeney wrote, “these serious errors all but destroyed the defense that trial counsel presented to the jury and tainted the entire trial.”
September 19th 2009 – Crystal Grubb
On September 19th 2009 year old Bloomington woman Crystal Grubb disappeared. Her body was found in a cornfield on October 1st by a farmer on his combine. No one was ever charged with the murder.