Lauren Spierer’s Parents Talk to WFIU/WTIU News

The parents of the missing IU student say the best thing people can do to help is to join in the search for their daughter.

UPDATE: 4:55 p.m.

A $100,000 dollar reward has been offered for information leading to the resolution of the case of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer.  Lauren’s father Robert tells WFIU and WTIU the money has been pooled from a number of sources.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with offers to provide financial support either in connection with the reward or in connection with a fund that we have set up to help find Lauren,” he said.

Lauren’s mother Charlene says the search for her daughter has turned out to be a bigger task than she initially imagined.

“What we have discovered is that there are massive areas of land and property and mountains and lakes that we had no idea. We live in a community that has very little property,” she said.

The Spierers say they have not personally seen footage taken from downtown Bloomington security cameras which shows their daughter in the hours before she disappeared. During a Thursday press conference, Bloomington Police Lieutenant Bill Parker said Lauren was not involved in an altercation seen in that footage, but repeatedly refused to give any more information about the incident or whether those involved in it might be connected to the case. Parker said police dive teams searched Lake Monroe Wednesday and Thursday following what he called a “specific” tip, but added the operation does not involve dredging the lake. Meanwhile, the Spierers say they plan to continue searching for their daughter and encourage more volunteers to join the effort. Police are considering serving more search warrants in the case, but declined to elaborate.

UPDATE 4:00 p.m.

The parents of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer sat down in studio with WFIU/WTIU to discuss updates in the search for their daughter. The Spierers say they’ll stay in Bloomington “as long as it takes” to find Lauren, who went missing in the early morning of June 3. They’re offering a $100,000 reward for information that helps find Lauren.

Following is a transcript of an interview by Indiana Public Media’s Shameka Neely and Sara Wittmeyer with Lauren Spierer’s parents, Robert and Charlene.

Indiana Public Media: With so many national organizations assisting now, can you just share with us where the money is coming from for the reward?

Robert Spierer: I won’t say specifically, but we’ve been overwhelmed with offers to provide financial support, either in connection with a reward or in connection with a fund that we have set up to help find Lauren for expenses and things of that nature.

IPM: You all have been here for several days. How long are you going to stay here in Bloomington?

Charlene Spierer: As long as it takes.

IPM: With the surveillance tape … have you gotten to see that yet?

RS: No, we’ve not gotten to see any video.

IPM: Do you feel like the police department has been very communicative with you and just kind of keeping the lines open and telling you and updating you?

RS: We meet with the police every morning. And we have a briefing with them. And then after the briefing, we have a news … we make a statement. And so do they.

CS: The police department has been wonderful. They’ve given us numbers, phone numbers, encouraged us to call them any time day or night with any questions or concerns, you know. They’ve been extremely open to communicating with us.

IPM: How have your evenings been after the 5:30 search? What are your evenings like?

CS: We generally …

RS: They’re working evenings.

CS: Right. We often have another media obligation. And we usually sort of regroup with our team of friends and family to review everything, go over everything, and kind of strategize for the next day. And so it’s sort of like the beginning of our next shift. It’s not really like after the search ends at 5:30, we’re done. It’s really more like the beginning of our next shift.

IPM: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that you’d like to know about Lauren?

RS: Well, we ask again that if you have information, anything small could be big. Please speak up and help us find Lauren. We can’t thank the people of Bloomington enough. It’s just like every day is another wave of support from people. And I can tell you that …

CS: And out of town as well.

RS:  Yeah, and people from out of town are coming in, friends and family. They just keep arriving. They’re here to help us and they’re extremely helpful, and we’re just so thrilled that everyone is reaching out to us. I can tell you that, as parents, and going through this, the support of people helps us, makes us stronger, so we really feed off of that.

IPM: You’ve mentioned just anything people see. And earlier in the newsroom we were talking about what that could possibly be.

CS: If you hear somebody just in an offhanded comment – “oh, yeah, I saw Lauren on Thursday night at 3 o’clock” – anything, really, like “I saw a strange truck out on College Avenue” …

RS: It could be anything that appeared out of the ordinary, or even if it didn’t, just reflect back and think about what you saw that morning or even any time during the evening that might help us. So this is to some extent a puzzle, and you take these pieces of information and you put them together and you evaluate it to try to develop leads. And that’s why it’s so important for us to have these pieces of information.

IPM: Have you had the opportunity to speak to any of her friends who were with her that night?

RS: We’ve had the opportunity to interact with her friends – some of her friends are here, many of them have gone back home for the summer. But yes, we’ve spoken to her friends.

IPM: I think you’ve alluded to this, but the most important thing people can do, because I know everybody in Bloomington just wants to help … how can they help you the most?

CS: One thing I would say is to continue to come out and help with the search, because we need the numbers. I mean, we’ve come to see Lauren numerous times, but it’s usually been right on the IU campus, and what we have discovered is that there are massive areas of land and property and mountains and lakes that we had no idea. I mean, we live in a community that has very little property, so when we come here and somebody has 150,000 acres, it’s just, you know … So we just beg everybody to keep coming out and keep volunteering, and it has made tremendous difference in our efforts, so if people could keep coming, and keep helping us. We are not giving up. We have a lot of faith.

Sara Wittmeyer

Sara Wittmeyer is the News Bureau Chief for WFIU and WTIU. Sara has more than a decade of experience as a news reporter and previously served with KBIA at the University of Missouri, WNKU at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, KY, and at WCPO News in Cincinnati.

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