What happened to Lauren Spierer, and are we ever going to solve this?

I watch a crap-load of true crime on TV. In September, my wife and I cut cable; we did this in the middle of the final Breaking Bad run (four episodes to go), but at the time, my biggest concern was actually missing Dateline and 48 Hours. I’ve probably seen every rerun of those shows, and I think Unsolved Mysteries might be the most gut-wrenchingly-terrifying thing in television history (that music! Robert Stack’s voice!). Point is … I’m big into true crime.

In the last five or so years, I can’t think of an unsolved case that’s seen so many flashes of false hope and dead ends than the Lauren Spierer case. That video above has a pretty detailed timeline of what happened — or rather, what we know happened — which is to say, she disappeared on June 3, 2011 in Bloomington, Indiana; she was a student at IU but from the Lower Hudson region of New York state. If you want probably the best rundown of the timeline and every potential suspect in the case, read this. There are a lot of different theories, mostly centering around three guys: Corey Rossman, Jay Rosenbaum and Michael Beth. In perhaps a last-ditch effort (although hopefully not a last-ditch effort), Spierer’s parents filed suits against those three; the suits allege that the three men owed Spierer a “duty of care” the night she went missing. The idea is to get one of the three to explain more about that evening. The first lawsuit, against Beth, has been tossed out. 

At the same time, Spierer-related signs are being taken down in Bloomington (yet, some groups are still using her as a marketing tool, which is terrible). There’s a sense that the legitimate window in which this can be solved is coming to an end, and that’s disappointing. In reality, though, I doubt it’s actually coming to an end; like I said, I watch a crap-load of true crime, and I can tell you that often, it takes a half-decade or more for the realities of a crime/disappearance to come to light. This Rayna Rison case, for example, was solved 20 years on

There’s a lot of not-completely-proven-but-Internet-seemingly-vetted theories about Spierer out there, including whether she was in a pickup truck, whether she was on drugs, whether she overdosed and the guys she was with that night rushed to cover it up, whether “white slavery” could be involved, or whether she might have ended up in a landfill. At this point, we have no idea, and anything I’m going to say from this point forward is primarily baseless speculation from someone with no background in police work. I’ll still make a few guesses, though, and try to paint it in a broader condition.

First of all, a lot has been made about this Corey Rossman punch situation; basically, Rossman and Spierer were coming back from Kilroy’s Sports Bar to her apartment around 2:30am. Another student, Zachary Oakes, got into a confrontation with Rossman and apparently punched him to the floor. Rossman reportedly sustained a concussion and some memory loss as a result, which has clouded the investigation. Here’s a quote from her father regarding the Oakes-Rossman confrontation:

“We have heard that Zach Oakes and two other boys observed Lauren and Corey and that Lauren was in bad shape and they didn’t like what they observed at that point and they wanted Corey to take Lauren back to her apartment,” Rob Spierer told reporters. “I believe the reason why Corey got hit was because of what they were observing as far as Lauren’s condition and Corey’s behavior was concerned.”

This random blogspot has a lot of commenters claiming Oakes actually killed Spierer. That’s totally specious.

Essentially, what we know is that Spierer was drunk — she was a very small woman, and was clearly intoxicated (this has been substantiated in several places). The last reported sighting was of her leaving the apartment area (adjacent apartments) of Beth, Rosenbaum and Rossman to “stagger home” after refusing to sleep on Rosenbaum’s couch. No one knows what happened after that.

If you believe in the whole idea of Occam’s Razor, the logical idea here would be that Spierer got drunk (not necessarily coked up or anything), because that’s not necessarily an assumption, but rather a fact (her father has even noted “her condition” in videos and photos). She was drunk and she was partying and she had (possibly) just ended things with her boyfriend, or was partying with a new crew (she had apparently met Rossman days before at the Indianapolis 500). Maybe this crew saw an opportunity to take advantage of a less-than-sensible girl, and maybe things escalated. I’m into multiple-maybe territory here, which is dangerous, but it’s still relatively logical. In fact, that’s the best possible outcome for friends and family of Spierer; while it’s very likely that she’s deceased in this situation, there is almost no way a three-way bond of silence can last for years and years. One of those guys, if all three know exactly what happened, will talk eventually. It might not be at the behest of the legal process — i.e. all three of these suits currently in play may be thrown out — but someone’s mother might get cancer, or something drastic might happen in their lives, that will cause them to want to talk. You never know, but silence pacts are nearly impossible to keep if the people in the pact are all living (that’s actually one of the main arguments people make about why JFK wasn’t a conspiracy involving multiple parties).

 If there is a tie between William ‘Clyde’ Gibson or any other disappearances in the broader Indiana area, that could seemingly be hard to connect, and then get admittance on, than these three guys mentioned above. By my count, there’s been two close calls (maybe three) on remains that could have been Spierer. As of now, she’s never been definitively found.

If you have real, legitimate ideas:

(That’s her mom’s Twitter.)

This is one of the sadder cases that’s hit the mainstream in a while, but I honestly do believe it’s going to be solved. I don’t know if Lauren will “come home” in the physical sense, but I think someone, somewhere knows something — it could be one of those three guys, and they might break and talk, or it could be an IU student from back in the day, or it could be someone random that no one’s thinking of. There’s too many people involved overall, and even though it happened in the witching hour, someone knows something. When one person knows something and families remain dedicated and you get a little luck (like an excellent person assigned to it via cold case, etc.), anything can break. This one will too. It’s just a matter of time. That’s my sincere hope and belief.

Ted Bauer


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