The search for Lauren Spierer

Reflections from friends, old and new

We are posting selected notes from friends, thoughts from search volunteers, and positive thoughts about Lauren. To submit, send comments to reflectionsforlauren@gmail.com.


I started covering Lauren's case right from the beginning. As a college student myself, her story has hit close to my heart. I can't imagine what you, as parents, must be going through. I have recently transferred schools, and in the process of making friends, I made some decisions that I realized were not smart. Charlene, I woke up the next morning thinking of your words, "You are not invincible.Bad things happen to good people," and I realized how true this statement is. I want to tell you how extraordinary I think you and the rest of your family are. Your dedication to getting answers about Lauren is remarkable. I want to wish you the best of luck. I want you to know that I have benefited from your words. As a daughter myself, I want to say, you are great parents!

Keep your spirits up!
Alisa

Alisa Occhiuzzi , College Student

I pray for you and your family every day. Lauren is a smiling joy to this world.

I had never met Mike Shenker before the cab picked us both up on Tuesday morning to head to Laguardia and fly to Indiana. We rented a car and went straight to the 2pm search (Mike made me stop at McDonald's on the way). That night, the front desk clerk at the hotel explained the local map to us.

The next morning we stopped at the Chocolate Moose, and the owner offered to donate ice cream for the search parties. I went out on 6 more search efforts before heading back to NY late Thursday.

The fellow searchers that I met are people I will never forget. The care and concern by everyone was one of the purest outpourings of humanity I will ever experience.

Rob, Charlene and Rebecca. You have impressed the world by your proactive and effective handling of this situation. You are doing everything you can for Lauren, and have caught the attention of so many who will hopefully make a difference in your search for Lauren.

Loren Weiss , Family Friend

We went to Find Lauren.

We came from Bloomington; we came from other Cities; we came from other States. We came to Find Lauren.

We were a law student from Bloomington, and the owner of a Mexican restaurant in Town; we were a married couple, she living with their parents and he having a simple job; we were a lady from Chicago who read the blogs and just got into her car that very day; we were a fellow who, from his Union and he and his co-workers were reading the newspapers, and he came; we were the Aunt and Uncle of Lauren who came from the East Coat; we were the two girls from somewhere-else-in Indiana who took time off from their law jobs; we were volunteers from Ohio who were involved in some of the more famous searches that had the nation enthralled for months; we were the guy who I have no idea what he did, but he had a car; we were all of us who, for each of the days thereafter, would wave in recognition even as we went on separate paths to Find Lauren, for we had a bond.

And we went on the roads and paths in ever larger circles and plotted squares as The Search expanded. We learned to scan the brush for what might be ajar. We broke off sticks and combed the greenery to lay bare what our eyes might have missed. We hiked into the trees, we looked into the dumpsters. We were told to be wary of snakes, and learned that cucumber was an odor to stay away from. We found bones, and were they deer or something else? We found pocketbooks and waited for the police, but they were just discards. We talked in the cars and then took on a solemn silence as we looked, and sniffed, and brushed the soil, and we concentrated on what we were looking for and our own thoughts, and our own fears. Most of us had never met Lauren; some had yet to meet Charlene or Rob or Rebecca; now all of us were involved in The Search to Find a Lauren that in a way we now all knew, and that beckoned our hearts.

Now, as we sweated in the hot June and then July sun, we realized that the Search to Find Lauren, had become something much more personal. We were opening up our own selves, giving of our own spirit, hoping and praying and yet being afraid, that we might Find Lauren. Exhausted at the end of the day, we spoke as now friends who had shared an experience that we could never forget. We realized that most of our lives are spent in the bric-a-brac of the everyday. These were days that we would remember.

The Evil Ones with their Protectors and their Enablers and their oh, so good-at-what-they-do Lawyers, must have a horrid blackness in their souls. It is not just what they did, it is the pain that they continue to do, to those who might forgive if only they could be allowed to Find Lauren. Where some came and gave of themselves for a few days, the Evil Ones will bear the shame every single one of their life's days.

We came to Find Lauren.

We did not.

But Lauren had Found us. In the end, we had Found a bit of ourselves, in the good that is greater than each of us individually, simply because we cared about someone and came to love someone who was now a part of us as anyone we had ever loved. We shall never forget Lauren and those days and the impact that she had on our hearts and lives.

Joseph Myers , Family Friend

It’s hard for me to find the words that can fully describe my relationship with Spierer. From the moment we met in the summer of 2001 our friendship was something truly rare and wonderful. Our bond only grew stronger as each summer ended, spending countless weekends together away from our summer home. I would frequently stay over in Edgemont at the Spierers' house, talking with Lauren for hours watching movies and eating junk food. When I wasn’t in Edgemont, Lauren was visiting Blair Wallach and myself in New Jersey. Looking back, I have very few memories of my childhood that do not include these two extraordinary girls.

When I first found out about Lauren, the magnitude of the situation was difficult to grasp. Who would do this to such an amazing, creative, funny, loving girl? As the weeks pass, the incredible role Spierer has played in my life has become more prominent and meaningful- it is impossible to go an hour without being reminded of her smile, her laugh, and her amazing sense of self. Char, Robbie, Rebecca- stay strong, we are all here for you and I love you so much. Laur, you’re such an amazing person, I don’t know where I would be without you. X’s and O’s forever.

Julia Kessler , Camp Friend

I remember the morning my daughter, Aly, told me that Lauren was missing, My heart sank. I’ve known Lauren for 14 years and she is the most caring, sweetest, creative and smartest child that every parent can wish for. She was like having a third daughter. The next day, a neighbor and I, flew out to Bloomington, IN to participate in the search. When I arrived in Bloomington, the town was quite literally crawling with local volunteers posting fliers everywhere, searching fields, streams, ballparks, cascades, golf courses, etc. In one sense it was heartbreaking to see this happening, and yet in another it was comforting to know SO many people in Bloomington had come out to help Lauren’s family find her, and bring her home. I am amazed since the beginning of these efforts, at the amount of strength and courage the Spierers and their entire family and friends show as they remain steadfast with one goal in mind, to bring Lauren home.

I used to watch Lauren as a member of the traveling Edgemont Tempest soccer team. She was easily the fastest and most gifted player on the team. She was exciting to watch. She also excelled at basketball. Lauren was among the first girls chosen by the dads to field their team. There is no end to my memories regarding the wonderful and talented person she is. She brightened everyone she touched with her vibrant personality, huge heart and youthful exuberance. The personal, emotional, and human impact associated with Lauren's being missing is vast. We see from this how the world has changed but we also see from the huge response how much good there really is in the world – that there are thousands and thousands of us who really care about a child, Lauren, like she’s our very own. Every day, I pray for her safe return.

To those who have any information that could be helpful: Mechanisms have been put in place that allow the sharing of information in complete anonymity. Please use the provided systems (e.g., Find Lauren, P.O. Box 1226, Bloomington, IN 47402-1226.) to make this information useful. The real danger is having such information and not sharing it with those who need it so dearly. If you have such information and keep it to yourself, it will destroy you. Please, for all of us.

Michael Shenker , Family Friend

The gathering today of over 300 people with 167 motorcyles at the Harley store in Bloomington gave all of us volunteers a chance to do a small part in keeping the search for Lauren in the forefront of everyone's minds. I felt blessed to be with so many good people, coming together for such a genuine reason, helping to pass out fliers and maps as an enormous group of motorcyclists from the area, but also from other parts of the Indiana and other states, came out to support the awareness of this quest. They pored in and generously gave not only their time but of their spirits, and took a ride to Nashville through Bean Blossom and back to the Harley store to finish up the day, handing out fliers en route, to continue to get the word out to surrounding communities.

I have been so amazed since the beginning of these efforts, at the amount of strength and courage the Spierers show, and how strong their family is as they remain steadfast and with such grace, with one goal in mind, to find their daughter.

During today's volunteer effort, I also heard many stories of the lives of several people, and why they have been drawn to participate in helping. The giving and caring nature of the people really stands out to me.

I really believe that answers and truth will come and everyone is prepared to support the Spierer family as long as it takes for answers to emerge. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Spierer, Rob and Charlene) for your grace and courage. You are truly role models for everyone in your strength and determination.

Jennifer Thuma , Ride for Awareness Volunteer

I met Lauren when I was 8 years old at Camp Towanda. To me she is Spierer, and she always will be. On June 3rd, when I heard that my dear camp friend went missing, it was a concept so unfathomable I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around it. You hear these stories of missing children again and again, but it never happens to someone you know. Well, now it has. I knew Spierer incredibly well - she was such an integral part of my Camp Towanda family. She was fun to be around, she listened, she gave advice, and she could always make you laugh. Spierer was the type of friend that no matter how much time had elapsed since the last time you saw her, always felt like your best friend again as soon as you reunited. When I look back on my Camp Towanda experience, Spierer will always be in my heart and memories. But my friendship with Spierer did not end in 2006 when most of the girls in our dorm were really saying goodbye to each other. In fact, last summer was the first summer Spierer and I hadn’t shared together since we were eight. A good chunk of our close camp friends went to school at Michigan and Indiana – continuing on with the Towanda Olympic colors in a different phase of our lives. Camp friends possess a special bond that is pretty much indescribable, and we were fortunate enough to be able to reunite quite frequently.

Whoever is responsible for Spierer’s disappearance has taken away so many things including the bond she shares with her camp friends. Charlene, Robbie, and Rebecca, your determination is truly inspiring. There is no doubt that Lauren adopted this quality from you and is using it wherever she is to return home safely in your arms. Dorm 2006 continues to pray for you guys and Spierer every single day.
Love always...

Bari Abrams , Camp Friend

Dear Spierer family,

Although I am 4 years older than Lauren, we all know that the Camp Towanda family spans generations and links young, old, male and female together with bonds that are stronger than most can ever hope to experience in a lifetime. As an older camper and then a counselor, I vividly remember taking special note of Lauren's contagious and beautiful smile. Although many summers went by that we did not have direct contact, I remember thinking to myself that Lauren breathed life into her age group and brought immensely positive energy to all those around her.

My 2nd counselor summer and my last summer at camp I had the fortunate opportunity to become a General during camp olympics and Lauren was my camper captain on my team. As I am sure you know, this is an emotional honor that brings kinship and unites campers and counselors that might otherwise have never really met or known one another. Lauren played a huge role in my last and final memories of camp, and she greatly impacted the closing of a part of my life that spanned 12 years. Lauren helped make my last memories as ones that are unforgettable and full of life, laughter, tears, and intensity. I have never forgotten that time in my life and Lauren is such an integral piece of that.

My heart aches for you and your family, and for Lauren- I have watched your press conferences and read every news article, retweeting and facebooking as often as possible and I although I have probably seen both Rob and Charlene on countless visiting days, I never really knew them and yet it is so clear where Lauren's overwhelming warmth and affection for life comes from. I am truly touched by your visceral love and protection for Lauren and I continue to think of you all everyday and pray for Lauren.

All of my Love and well wishes

Jessica Meister , Camp Friend

I remember the first day Lauren went missing, my husband and I's hearts ached for her parents. We were consumed with grief from day 1. After a couple of days, my husband and I went to Bloomington to see where she disappeared. We remember that day so well. We drove and drove for a couple of hours. Then we went home and couldn't get Mr. & Mrs. Spierer off our minds. My husband said, I think I will volunteer on Friday, and he took a vacation day to help. He came home that night, and he said he would have to help again. He has grown very close to them and when this is all over and when they return home,we will think of you for a lifetime. You are unique people, and are very kind people. I feel such sorrow for this family and every night when I awake in the middle of the night, they are the first thing on our minds. I pray for them every day and night, that God would sustain them, and give them the strength they need for this very difficult journey. It's a journey I never want to experience, but through Mr and Mrs Spierer I see fantastic people that will NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP looking for their precious Lauren. We haven't met Lauren, but she is a reflection of her wonderful mother and father. We love you Lauren.
Mr. and Mrs Spierer, thank you for touching our lives and this community.

Don & Brenda Isaacs

It is a distinct honor to have met and worked with people having such exemplary values, quality and dedication as the Spierers and all those involved in this search effort. We are doing what little we can to support a wonderful family that is exploring corners of hell that most of us cannot even imagine. Charlene, Rob and Rebecca are doing everything in their power to find Lauren. While there cannot be any comfort in this, they must understand that no one could do more. All of the searchers who are Lauren’s peers want to have parents and siblings like them; and, all of the searchers who are mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers want to be parents and siblings like them. What the Spierer family and their friends are doing, through their ceaseless efforts, and what all of the searchers and supporters are doing, is working to repair an unthinkable lesion in our world. Even when all of our prayers are answered and Lauren is returned, safe and well, to her family and friends, we still will have lost. We lost the day this happened. It rent our world and our illusion of living in a decent, civilized society.

There is a religious injunction to participate in the healing of the world. It is realized that the task is great; and, no one is expected to accomplish it. However, none of us are free to abandon it. There is going to be a better world, for us and for our children; but, only to the extent that we are willing to build it. Thank all of you for providing hope and the example.

Gxd bless and keep all of you and your families and friends.

Let there be light.

To those who have any information that could be helpful: Mechanisms have been put in place that allow the sharing of information in complete anonymity. Please use the provided systems (e.g., Find Lauren, P.O. Box 1226, Bloomington, IN 47402-1226.) to make this information useful. The real danger is having such information and not sharing it with those who need it so dearly. If you have such information and keep it to yourself, it will destroy you. Please, for all of us.

Richard Friedman