Lauren Spierer was ready for summer. It had been a particularly rough semester, and she and her friends were planning on ringing out the end of the school year in fine style.
As the night wore on and the liquor continued to flow, Lauren and her friends became increasingly more rowdy and rambunctious. At two A.M. she left the bar, in search of a more accommodating place to drink. Little did she know, the truly unexpected turns that night would take.
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It was a cold January evening, and Charlene and Robert Spierer were expecting their first and only daughter. Lauren Spierer was born in January 1991 in Upstate New York. She grew up in Scarsdale, a town in lower Westchester County. She was a bright, outgoing child and did well in school, eventually graduating from Edgemont High School in 2009.
After high school, Lauren enrolled at Indiana University to study textiles merchandising. Born into a Jewish family, Lauren was very active in the Jewish community at school. She even spent one of her spring breaks planting trees in Israel on behalf of the Jewish National Fund. She even got to attend college with her boyfriend…
Lauren met her boyfriend, Jesse Wolff, while attending summer camp in Pennsylvania. She had also met another would-be college friend named Jay Rosenbaum at Camp Towanda. All three would eventually attend Indiana University together in 2009 and would remain part of the same circle of friends.
Drinking with Friends
The night of June 3, 2011 was like most others for Lauren and her friends. The group had decided to pre-game before the bar by drinking at a friends house. Once they had gotten themselves a bit buzzed, the group headed to the bar to indulge in some much-needed partying. After all, the semester was finally over…
Depart the Bar
Drinks at the bar progressed until around 2:30 am, when Lauren, clearly very drunk, wandered out to the street with her friends, leaving her shoes and cell phone at the bar. She was headed back to her apartment complex with her friend Corey, who then became involved in an altercation with another group of students at the complex. With nowhere else to go, the duo headed to Corey’s place around 3 am.
A Friend’s Place
Once they had gotten to his place, Corey Rossman threw up and hastily made his way to bed. Lauren, still very drunk, was left with Corey’s roommate who took her next door to his friend Jason Rosenbaum’s apartment. Seeing what a drunk and debilitated state she was still in, Rosenbaum offered to let her stay on his sofa. Lauren refused and said “I want to keep going, I want to go…” before walking out into the street, away from the apartment….
History of Addiction
Lauren had a history of partying a little too hard. The 20-year-old had even been arrested for public intoxication a mere nine months beforehand. The last recorded sighting of Lauren Spierer occurred around 3 am, when a stumbling, barefoot Lauren was seen being fireman carried by her friend Corey as they made their way to his apartment.
This video footage was not the last time Lauren was seen alive, however. Witnesses report seeing her at approximately 4:30 am on a street corner in Bloomington. This was shortly after she had left Rosenbaum’s apartment. She was reported missing the very next day, but the news didn’t reach her parents in New York until sometime later on the 4th…
A Parent’s Nightmare
After receiving a disheartening, shocking phone call from the Bloomington Police. Charlene and Rob soon found themselves standing at a podium in front of news cameras. They wanted the world to know that Lauren was missing so that anyone who knew anything could help find her. “My first thing is to say to the person that has Lauren or that has harmed Lauren,” said Charlene Spierer. ‘Shame on you. Shame on you..”
The ensuing search gripped the community and the nation at large. Hundreds of volunteers joined as Lauren’s parents and Indiana authorities began a massive land search. The search covered abandoned quarries, forests, and even a local landfill. Despite their best efforts, the initial investigation found no trace of Lauren Spierer. It was time to delve a little deeper…
Initially, the police ruled out Lauren’s friends Corey Rossman, his roommate, and Jason Rosenbaum, of being involved. Without those three men, there was barely any additional information to go on. In desperation, Lauren’s parents hired a group of private detectives to help suss out what might have happened to their girl.
The investigators worked their way through a series of leads which involved a number of ex-convicts, Indianapolis drug dealers, and even members of a notorious biker gang. But the leads all seemed to go nowhere. In the end, the investigators decided to start out by looking closer to home, to the people she partied with: Lauren’s friends…
Circle of Fiends
And so the private investigators decided to start with those closest to Lauren: all of the various young men she had been with the night she disappeared. As soon as they began investigating them, however, many of the young men hired lawyers. This was a defensive move and one that only managed to rouse further suspicion about their participation in the girl’s disappearance.
Wolfe in Sheep’s Clothing
Lauren’s longtime boyfriend, Jesse Wolfe, who had been exceptionally helpful and involved in the first few days after the disappearance was whisked away by his parents. This was exceptionally odd, as most of Lauren’s friends had described him as “the most loving boyfriend,” surely he couldn’t have harmed Lauren. That much was confirmed. As for Corey Rossman…
Corey Rossman had initially been ruled out by Bloomington Police. But he had started the night out with Lauren, even carried her to his apartment. A DNA test confirmed that he was willing to cooperate, but further investigation revealed that the young man didn’t know anything. Corey had completely blacked out on the night of the disappearance, either from the alcohol or the blow to the head he received during the fight at Lauren’s apartment.
Stranger in the Night
With the friends and boyfriend ruled out, it was up to the private investigators to follow a few other leads. One distinct possibility was that a stranger, someone who just happened to be driving around Bloomington at 4 am, might have seen the disheveled Lauren as the perfect target for an abduction. This corroborated with a report from police that said a white truck was spotted on the night of Lauren’s disappearance, not far from where she was last seen…
Investigators discovered that an ex-convict, James McClish, who had just been released from prison a few days before the disappearance, had been driving a white truck. Not only that, but McClish was living in a halfway house a mere 10 minutes from where the girl disappeared. A woman from McClish’s past told police that they should check him out, alleging to previous acts of violence.
One of the private investigators approached McClish and got him to agree to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence in the disappearance of Lauren Spierer. A veteran polygraph tester conducted the test and McClish answered calmly and clearly, sticking to his denials on all questions about Lauren. He was telling the truth. There was only one more lead to follow…
The police had initially thought to investigate some of the rowdier biker gangs roaming Indiana at the time of Lauren’s disappearance but eventually gave up, as they had no cause to believe any of those men had taken the girl. The Spierer’s PIs went to work looking into the so-called “Sons of Silence”, centering their investigation on the leader of the gang, Robert Strange. But Robert too was innocent of the crime and the investigators were left once more without any leads.
Investigators were given the name of an inmate at an Indiana prison, a young man named Corey Hamersley. Corey was serving a 24-year sentence. After getting in too deep with the drug scene at IU and firing on police officers after a drug-induced meltdown, he told police he recognized Lauren and remembered her ODing at a house party. He claimed that the people at the party, scared of what might happen and not knowing what else to do, threw her body in the Ohio River. Her body was never recovered, but the search continues. Police have since speculated there was a link in this case to another from the same area. The case also received renewed interest from national media when TIME Magazine listed Lauren’s disappearance as one of the “5 Most Mysterious Unsolved Disappearances of All Time.”