It has now been 286 days since Indiana University student Lauren Spierer went missing. I had written about it several times last June when it first happened and certainly hoped and expected the case would be solved by now. Sadly, there has been no new information, clues or otherwise that would lead her family closer to finding her.
I have had a personal interest in the case as my own daughter went to Indiana, lived in Smallwood Plaza where Lauren lived and was last seen and frequented the bar where her phone and shoes were left behind. It hit too close to home. A scenario that every parent dreads and pray will never happen in their family.
Traveling on business, today I drove through Bloomington, IN. There are billboards with her photo, larger than life asking if she has been seen. Does anyone know anything, etc. When she first went missing, social media exploded. The twitter feed for #findlauren was non stop. I watch the feed everyday and find it amazing that it is still very active. There are dozens of tweets every day. Friends and family are not giving up.
Every article I read about the case really says the same thing over and over. Her mother Charlene however, periodically writes letters to the person that knows what happened to Lauren. It is in these letters all of us can truly feel the pain of a parent:
March 2, 2012
To whom this may concern,
Thoughts on a page. You and I share unique roles; we are both insiders, forever bound by the senseless circumstances of June 3, 2011. You were with Lauren, you know what happened and you know where she is. Maybe you spend every day trying to forget. I am Lauren’s mother. I have a front row seat in this never-ending nightmare. The smallest task requires tremendous effort. Being home, going places for the first time where Lauren has been. Hearing one of her favorite songs. Hearing a song she would love but may never hear. Waiting at a light, waiting in line. Always, always on edge. Always waiting for a phone call which will tell me Lauren has been found or even that the smallest piece of information has made it’s way into the right hands. Waiting to find out if a Twitter rumor is true…waiting to hear if the body recently found is Lauren’s. Imagine waiting to hear if a body that was just discovered is your daughter’s? I spend every day trying to find answers to the questions, which will end this mystery. Whatever the events of the night, you hold the key to what happened to Lauren at night’s end. I wonder if you give Lauren a second thought. I wonder what type person it takes to watch our grief as we face another day. I think about you all the time. I wish for one instant you were in our place, waiting, praying, hoping. I wish you knew what it felt like to have lost a loved one. Missing…The despair that comes from the realization that someone knows the whereabouts of your missing child is indescribable. I wish you could feel that heartache. I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish you were experiencing the same excruciating pain we are. I wish for today, I held your fate in my hands.
Nine months. A lot can happen in nine months. The miracle of life, the joy of a child joining a family and all that she brings.
Nine months is a long time to maintain the silence of one so determined to keep a secret. I know there is not much I can control. I know all of our efforts to date have not resulted in finding Lauren. Nine months is a long time. Memories fade and life goes on but I promise to never let you forget. I promise to be a constant reminder should your memory fail you. I can do that, at the very least. We will never stop looking for Lauren. You should know that we are just as determined to find Lauren today as we were on June 3, 2011.
Hoping today is the day….
Despite months searching, detective work and spots on America's Most Wanted the search is no further than it was in the beginning.
How can anyone read this letter and not feel inclined to help? The weekend Lauren went missing there was talk here in the suburbs about it. Many kids from Chicago and the suburbs attend or attended IU. It could have been your own child, a close friend of your child. If you can imagine being in Charlene Spierer's shoes, please share this story.
Lauren was last seen June 3, 2011. All the details on the case can be found at www.findlauren.com. The reward has been increased to $250,000. Anonymous tip line: 812.339.4477
Let's help find Lauren.