It was in the early hours of June 3, 2011, that Lauren Spierer was seen walking away from her friend’s house after a night of partying. The next morning her parents got a call that informed them of their daughter’s disappearance and their world tilted on its axis. ABC’s ‘Dateline 20/20: Looking for Lauren’ chronicles the story of Lauren Spierer, a 20-year-old sophomore at Indiana University who went missing and the search for her that ensued. If you are wondering about what happened to her and if she was ever found, we have the details of the case for you.
What Happened to Lauren Spierer?
Born on January 12, 1991, Lauren Spierer lived with her family, consisting of her parents, Charlene and Robert Spierer, and a sister, Rebecca. Both sisters were brought up in Scarsdale, New York and Lauren graduated from Edgemont High School in 2009. She enrolled in Indiana University to study textile merchandising and was working towards building a fulfilling future for herself. She was an active member of the Jewish community and had helped in planting trees in Israel on behalf of the Jewish National Fund.
Lauren was dating her high school boyfriend, Jesse Wolfe, whom she had met at a summer camp. During this time, she also made friends with several other people who went on to join IU along with her and they made up her circle in college. On the night of the incident, Lauren had been partying with one of her friends named Corey Rossman, and the night allegedly included alcohol and drugs. At about 2 am, both of them were seen entering Kilroy’s Sports Bar and leaving the place by 2:30 am.
Lauren was being accompanied by Corey as they walked to her off-campus apartment complex named Smallwood Plaza. With the help of CCTV footage, the police were able to see that the duo were met by four male students on Lauren’s floor of the building and Corey was punched by one of them during a scuffle. The police were able to trace them walking back to Corey’s apartment roughly around 3 am and they saw that Lauren was extremely intoxicated, could not walk properly, and even stumbled a couple of times on the road. Corey threw her over his shoulder and carried her to his apartment.
When they reach Corey’s apartment, the alleged night of intoxication caught up with Corey and he threw up on his carpet, as revealed by Corey’s then-flatmate, Michael Beth. He said that he put Corey to bed and took her to their friend’s house next door. The friend, Jason Rosenbaum, suggested that Lauren should sleep on his couch for the night and that she could go back to her apartment the next day as she seemed too drunk.
Jason claimed that Lauren was not listening to him and insisted that she wanted to “keep going.” Lauren left his house at about 4:30 am and he was reportedly the last person to see her walking down 11th Street in the wee hours of the morning. She was walking barefoot towards college in black leggings and a white shirt. Her keys and purse were found on the route of an alley between College Avenue and Morton Street and her phone was left at Kilroy’s and was found by her boyfriend when he texted her in the morning and an employee replied. Jesse Wolfe was the one who reported her missing and informed her parents.
Is Lauren Spierer Dead or Alive?
Unfortunately, Lauren is still not found, and 2023 marks 12 years of her being reported missing. Her disappearance in 2011 quickly caught the attention of the media and the police launched a 9-day search in the Sycamore Ridge Landfill with the help of the IU police department and the FBI but nothing came to light. Her parents hired a team of private investigators who were joined by ABC News consultant and former FBI cold case agent, Brad Garrett. The team and the police followed a lot of threads but to no certain conclusions. The first line of investigation was directed at Lauren’s friends, who immediately hired lawyers and created a “wall of access” for the family, as per Rob Spierer.
Garret, while not making any claims, suspected that the boys she was hanging out with on the night of the disappearance knew more than they were letting on. Corey, Jason, and Jesse maintain that they have given their full cooperation to the police and have no involvement in the case. The police also chased some leads surrounding an ex-convict, James McClish. He had just been in prison for assaulting a woman and owned a white truck similar to the one that had caught the eye of the police in CCTV footage. However, a polygraph test and his genuine cooperation convinced the investigators that they were barking up the wrong tree.
Another cold lead took them to Robert Strange, a member of a notorious gang named Sons of Silence, but deeper research cleared his name from the list of suspects. The Spierers set up a website called Find Lauren and they received a tip that took them to an ex-inmate from an Indiana prison named Corey Hamersley. He was a student from IU and was high on drugs, open-fired on the police, and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. One of his fellow inmates spoke to ABC News and told them that he had heard Hamersley confess that the girl died because of an overdose at a house party and the people decided to throw her body in the Ohio River.
Lauren’s parents revealed that she also had a heart condition from early childhood, and for Garrett, this was the most likely sequence of events for the night, but there was no evidence to prove the hypothesis. In 2013, Lauren’s parents filed a civil lawsuit against Jason, Corey, and Michael, accusing them of negligence and for supplying alcohol to Lauren even though she was intoxicated. In the same year, the federal judge, Tanya Walton Pratt, dismissed the suit against Michael after determining that he had no duty of care towards Lauren as she was an adult.
In 2014, she dismissed the charges against Jason and Corey, stating, “Without evidence to prove these theories, it would be impossible for a jury to determine if whatever happened to Spierer was a natural and probable consequence of her intoxication, without any other intervening acts that would break the causal chain.” Even though the parents appealed against the judgment, a federal appeals court upheld the dismissal in 2015.
On June 3, 2023, Charlene Spierer posted a message on social media remembering her daughter and pleading to the person who knows what transpired that night. In 2011 Charlene said to ABC News, “I really just would like to hear, ‘This is where you can find your daughter,'” and it is the same hope she is carrying to date. As of writing, the website Find Lauren is still active and her loved ones are hopeful that they will get the answers they have been seeking for all these years.