Missing Lauren Spierer: Cold Case Finds New Lead After 5 Years

When Rob and Charlene Spierer dropped their daughter Lauren off at Indiana University for her first year of college in 2009, they didn’t expect what was to come. Early one morning, after a typical night of partying, the 20-year-old college student mysteriously disappeared. What exactly happened that led to her disappearance and why has she been missing for five years and counting? In 2017, investigators might have a possible lead and the answers to questions that have yet to be answered. Read on to uncover the mystery.

After Partying, Lauren Spierer Went Missing

After Partying, Lauren Spierer Went Missing

Most college towns are rife with alcohol and substance abuse and the town of Bloomington, Indiana is no different. It was the evening of June 2, 2011, and the end of a semester, which gave Lauren Spierer a good enough reason to want to go out and let her hair down. Up until then, she was a happy and healthy 20-year-old college student. Growing up in Scarsdale, New York, Lauren Spierer came to Indiana University where she studied textiles merchandising and was active in her school’s Jewish community.

A Typical Night Of College

A Typical Night Of College

Spierer even had a steady, healthy relationship with her boyfriend, Jesse Wolfe, who she met years before at a summer camp in Pennsylvania. Spierer and Wolfe had been dating since high school and together—along with other friends from their summer camp, including friend Jay Rosenbaum—all went to Indiana University for college. On the night of June 2, 2011, Wolfe had decided to sit that one out and watch that year’s NBA Playoffs, not knowing that he would never see his longtime girlfriend ever again. Without Wolfe, Spierer and a pal went to the apartment of mutual friend Jay Rosenbaum to start the night.

When Things Start Blurring

When Things Start Blurring

Surveillance footage from Spierer’s apartment complex shows Spierer leaving her home. It was just after midnight on June 3, 2011, when Spierer started her night at Rosenbaum’s apartment, where she began partying and “pre-gaming” before she actually went out in public. There, she met his neighbor, Corey Rossman, with whom she would spend a majority of the night. It was about 1:46 A.M. by the time Spierer and Rossman eventually ended up at Kilroy’s Sports Bar, a local hangout for many Indiana University students. They didn’t spend much time there, but somewhere along the way, Spierer would leave her cell phone and shoes at the bar. They left Kilroy’s about 40 minutes later, according to security footage.

She Might Have Made It Home

She Might Have Made It Home

Rossman and a newly barefoot Spierer left Kilroy’s at about 2:27 A.M. and began a short trek to the Smallwood Apartments, where Spierer lived. There, they encountered several people who noticed Spierer in a highly inebriated state. Apparently, these people took issue with the way Rossman was handling Spierer. According to reports, Rossman and the individuals got into an altercation over something unrelated to Spierer, but nonetheless, Rossman was punched in the face and fell to the ground. Although they were steps away from Spierer’s apartment, the pair decided to leave the premises and walk several blocks away to Rossman’s apartment.

Lauren Loses Her Identity

Lauren Loses Her Identity

Surveillance footage obtained from security cameras at neighboring apartments show Spierer and Rossman leaving the Smallwood Apartments shortly after 2:40 A.M. Rossman and Spierer walk through an empty alleyway, where Spierer apparently dropped her purse, in which her keys and ID were held. At this point in the night, Spierer and Rossman were reportedly heavily intoxicated. Not only were copious amounts of alcohol consumed, sources say that Spierer had engaged in cocaine and prescription drug use. Eventually, Spierer and Rossman made it back to his apartment. Reports say that on the way up the stairs, Rossman got sick and once inside his apartment, he headed straight to bed, leaving Spierer with his roommate, Mike Beth.

Lauren Refuses To Settle Down

Lauren Refuses To Settle Down

Beth claims to have tried convincing Spierer to stay the night at their apartment since she was clearly inebriated. She refused to stay, so Beth ultimately took Spierer back to Jay Rosenbaum’s neighboring apartment. After noticing the state that his longtime friend is in, Rosenbaum tried to convince Spierer to sleep on his couch and go home in the morning. She again refused, saying she wanted to keep going. Rosenbaum let Spierer use his phone from which she made two calls, supposedly to track her lost one. Rosenbaum allowed Spierer leave his apartment at around 4:30 A.M.

Lauren Spierer’s Last Known Sighting

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According to a report by ABC News, Rosenbaum watched from his small balcony as she walked to the corner of 11th and North College. He told investigators that he thought he saw someone in the shadows intercept her. This was the last reported sighting of Lauren Spierer. Several hours later into the morning of June 3, 2011, Spierer’s longtime boyfriend Jesse Wolfe sent several text messages to her phone. After Wolfe finally received a response from an employee at Kilroy’s who found Spierer’s phone, he filed a missing person’s report that afternoon. Later that night, Spierer’s parents received a phone call bearing news that no parent should have to hear.

Devastated Parents, Unconcerned Boyfriend

Devastated Parents, Unconcerned Boyfriend

Spierer’s parents arrived in Bloomington the following day and within a short amount of time, Spierer’s disappearance became national news. Hundreds of community members banded together to conduct search parties and put up posters. According to an ABC News report, “Early on police said they suspected the chances of ‘foul play’ were ‘very great.’ Otherwise, they said, Lauren would have made contact with someone.” According to ABC News, Wolfe “helped with the searches the first couple days but then his parents came and took him away, [Spierer’s dad] said. ‘I thought it was odd,’ he said.” Spierer’s own boyfriend didn’t seem to look too hard for his missing girlfriend.

A Serious Accusation

A Serious Accusation

Authorities on the case received almost 3,000 tips, but soon tensions ran high as the early days in the search for Lauren Spierer remained fruitless. Suspecting that Spierer’s disappearance was a result of her circle of friends, Spierer’s parents ended up filing a civil suit against the three men that were known to have last interacted with Lauren. Corey Rossman, Jay Rosenbaum, and Mike Beth were slammed with a negligence lawsuit and they all quickly lawyered up. Although a private investigator hired by the Spierers interviewed a couple of the men, the devastated parents still have their doubts that the men aren’t being entirely truthful.

The Boyfriend’s Parents Were Having None Of It

The Boyfriend’s Parents Were Having None Of It

Pictured: Jesse Wolfe

Although the focus was on the three men, Spierer’s parents were also suspicious of Jesse Wolfe’s account that he was sleeping as these events occurred, so apparently, two years of dating their daughter weren’t enough to maintain their trust. USA Today reports that Wolfe “passed a privately administered lie-detector test and [wouldn’t] take one with Bloomington, Ind. police because they aren’t to be trusted,” according to Wolfe’s parents. Another USA Today report said that “In his toughest comments yet about the persons of interest, Robert Spierer implored the parents of each of them to ‘take their sons to the police station and allow for the law enforcement to (perform) polygraphs.”

The Prime Suspect

The Prime Suspect

Pictured: Corey Rossman

Spierer’s father seemed to primarily blame Corey Rossman, the man with whom his daughter spent a majority of the night, for her disappearance. “I feel if she never met Corey Rossman, she’d be alive today… His claim of memory loss is laughable,” Spierer’s father told USA Today. The report goes on to say that Spierer’s parents would particularly like to hear from Rossman. “Unfortunately, Corey continues to refuse to talk to us, talk to police,” Robert Spierer said. “It’s continuously frustrating that we can’t have a face-to-face with him.” Rossman, who allowed the police to take a DNA sample, denied involvement in the disappearance early on but was still quick to hire a lawyer.

A Stonewall Stance

A Stonewall Stance

Corey Rossman refused to speak to the press

Rossman’s lawyer claimed that he sustained memory loss from being punched in the face and falling to the ground during the night in question. Oddly enough, he was reportedly the least cooperative with the Spierers and their private investigators during the initial investigation. When the news of the disappearance first broke, Rossman told reporters, “I was not the last person with her and that’s all I can say, I’m sorry… But I hope that they find her as soon as possible and I am praying for her and her family.” This statement was from 2011 and since then, Rossman has refused to talk to any more news reporters in regards to the situation, although his attorney noted that Rossman was still in cooperation with the police.

Assuming ‘Duty Of Care’

Assuming ‘Duty Of Care’

Pictured: Jay Rosenbaum

Although Mike Beth was one of the men faced with the negligence lawsuit from Spierer’s parents, a district judge ultimately dismissed the suit against him by 2013. A report found on Indiana Public Media states that “Citing previous cases, [U.S. District Judge Tanya Pratt] ruled [on Dec. 2, 2013] that Beth had no duty to care for Spierer. Her parents had alleged that Beth had assumed ‘duty of care’ for a visibly intoxicated Lauren when he offered her a place to sleep and then escorted her to Jason Rosenbaum’s apartment. Beth’s defense argued that Spierer and Beth had no special relationship and so Beth had not assumed legal responsibility for her despite offering her assistance.”

Insufficient Evidence And Still No Answers

Insufficient Evidence And Still No Answers

By 2014, already three years after Lauren Spierer’s disappearance, judges dismissed the suits against Rossman and Rosenbaum as well. A USA Today affiliate reported that “Judge Tanya Walton Pratt [said] in her ruling filed Tuesday that Robert and Charlene Spierer of Edgemont failed to show there is enough evidence against the men to proceed to trial… ‘Unfortunately, there could be any number of theories as to what happened to Lauren and what, if any, injuries she may have sustained,’ Pratt said. ‘Without evidence to prove these theories, it would be impossible for a jury to determine if whatever happened to Lauren was a natural and probable consequence of her intoxication, without any other intervening acts that would break the causal chain.'” The Spierer’s subsequently appealed the ruling.

The White Truck Abduction Theory

The White Truck Abduction Theory

Because suspicion of the three men that last had contact with Lauren Spierer was inconclusive, investigators on the case still looked to other possible theories about what may have happened. Of the numerous tips that authorities received in regards to the disappearance, there were a lot that mentioned a white truck. Former FBI cold case agent Brad Garrett, who worked alongside the P.I.’s hired by the Spierers offered the theory that Spierer might have been abducted off the streets. Surveillance footage from the night of the disappearance revealed a white truck driving around where Spierer was last seen. At the time that the disappearance was fresh news, Bloomington police didn’t rule out the possibility that the white truck in question may have played a role.

Linked To An Ex-Convict

Linked To An Ex-Convict

Pictured: James McClish

Former agent Garrett theorized that the white truck could have easily passed by Spierer as she stumbled down the street alone and the driver could have took advantage of the situation. This led Garrett to discover an ex-convict named James McClish, who was released from prison after assaulting his ex-wife. As it turned out, McClish drove a similar white truck and lived at a halfway house just minutes from where Spierer vanished. One tipper who knew McClish alleged that he killed Lauren and buried her on a farm in Southern Indiana, according to ABC News. Garrett approached McClish, who agreed to take a lie-detector test arranged by 20/20 to prove his innocence. After the test determined that McClish had nothing to do with the case, he said, “I wish you guys the best of luck, I do.”

Parents Never Give Up

Parents Never Give Up

As the years went by and Lauren’s case grew cold, the increasingly anguished Spierers still haven’t given up. Spierer’s father told ABC News, “We were not getting information from the police, as far as what they were doing, what they were finding.” The Bloomington police began to shut the Spierer’s out, even withholding additional surveillance footage that could be keys to finding Lauren. However, the Bloomington Police Chief told the media that the investigation was still open and that they were still updating the Spierers on their findings. It wasn’t long before the Spierers began to come to terms with the idea that their daughter was already dead.

Pieces Fall Into Place

Pieces Fall Into Place

Image Source: Inside Edition

It wasn’t until 2016 that former agent Garrett told ABC News, “I think I am one interview away from putting this case together.” Garrett received another tip that led him to Indiana state prison inmate Corey Hamersley. Hamersley was once an exemplary student-athlete at Indiana University before the school’s rampant drug scene got him into a drug-induced altercation in which he fired at police, earning him a 24-year prison sentence. A fellow anonymous inmate told ABC News that while he and Hamersley were playing cards, Lauren Spierer’s photo appeared on the television and Hamersley said, “Man, I knew the guys that did that.”

He May Know The Answers

He May Know The Answers

Pictured: Corey Hamersley

The anonymous inmate recounted to ABC News Hamersley’s account of what allegedly happened to Lauren Spierer: “They were drinking and doing ecstasy. She OD’ed. It scared them. They didn’t know what to do with her and they took her down to the Ohio River… and got rid of her… disposed of her body.” Former agent Garrett was immediately prompted to reach out to Hamersley to crack the case. Asked if he helped move the body or had any other form of involvement, Hamersley said, “Absolutely not,” going on to emphasize that “I do not want to be associated with this at all,” after saying he would most likely not contact investigators if he were to remember any other details.

Lauren Spierer Is Still Missing

Lauren Spierer Is Still Missing

With this most recent revelation, former agent Garrett doesn’t rule it out telling ABC News, “Because the idea is very simple. One of the mistakes in most criminal cases is we, investigators, try to make them too complicated. And many times, at the end of the day, they end up being quite simple. The simplest is, she died at a party in Bloomington and somebody got rid of her.” Still, of all the dead bodies found in surrounding areas over the years since the disappearance happened, not one of them was the body of Lauren Spierer. She has yet to be found to this day.

An Eerie Discovery In The Woods

An Eerie Discovery In The Woods

In October of 2016 Lauren’s case received media attention once again after a hiker in New York stumbled upon what would be most people’s nightmare: a shrine deep in the woods with missing person flyers attached to the trees. One of these flyers had Lauren’s information on it. After some investigating, it was discovered the shrine was set up as “Halloween decorations” by an individual with property nearby. Lauren’s family was understandably furious over the use of their missing daughters poster as a Halloween decoration, responding with a statement that said in part, “I cannot comprehend what would compel someone to find this amusing or entertaining.”