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

Prior to becoming a volunteer searcher for Lauren, I sat at home in Indianapolis watching and reading the news about her disappearance. I cried for her and her family. I could relate-my daughter is a graduate of I.U. and is in her 20s. This story is every parent's nightmare. One Friday evening after reading updates on the search, I wondered what good am I doing sitting in front of my computer empathizing with the Spierer family. I made a decision right there and then to travel to Bloomington the next day and volunteer to search for Lauren. I drove back to Bloomington on that Sunday, as well as the following weekend.

What I found once I arrived at the search operations center was an amazing group of people. Wow...the compassion and kindness, the determination and the perseverance of these folks and the Spierer family amazed me. There were volunteers from all walks of life and from different cities and states. During the different search group efforts I was part of, I learned a lot about humanity, compassion and selfless acts of kindness. There is one story about these volunteers I met I would like to share.

During my first search group effort the Saturday before Father's Day, I met a man and his daughter who drove down to Bloomington from a town located east of Indianapolis. This kind man told me that while watching the Friday, June 17th update from the Bloomington police dept and the Spierer family, he started crying when Mr. Spierer mentioned the upcoming Father's Day holiday. This prompted him to drive down to Bloomington the next day with his daughter to help in the search for Lauren. This man was a father who knew where his children were; the Spierer family is missing one of their children. Bless his heart.

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all." ~Emily Dickinson
Lauren - We will find you. We will not give up until we do.
God bless you.

Tammi Peters

I have never met Lauren or the Spierers, but I think about them every day. I first learned of Lauren's disappearance from reading a poster at Bloomingfoods on June 4th. It made me think of the day (years ago) when my parents brought me to IU from out of state. I know that my mom cried the whole way home. I tried to think about how she would have felt if I had gone missing, and I could not even let myself imagine it.

I went on one search for Lauren, and on another day I hung up posters in Ellettsville. I have written about Lauren often on facebook and twitter, trying to keep her in the minds of everyone around me. I also pray for Lauren and the Spierers every day. I would be willing to do more - I want the Spierers to know that I am willing to help in any way I can.

I will never forget listening to Mr. and Mrs. Spierer speak at each of the press conferences. They were inspirational, amazingly strong, and heartbreaking. It is so frustrating to know that no matter how much the Spierers have touched me, the heartstrings that really need to pulled are those of the people with information. So many people want to help, but yet there are only very few specific people who truly can. I pray every day that they will do the right thing. I believe that redemption and forgiveness will some day come to those who come forward. The truth will set you free.....

Eve Prost

I see the pictures, the timeline, watch the news conferences, and check the internet for breaking news several times a day. I think, “Today is the day Lauren will be found and her parents’ unrest will be lifted.” We haven’t seen that day yet, but I know it is just around the corner. I thought that the first day my husband and I joined the searchers downtown Bloomington. I also thought that the next day as we drove and hiked through campsites in the Deam Wilderness/Hickory Ridge areas. I still thought that the next week when my husband and I joined the searchers at McNutt. We have gone out on 10 of those searches and haven’t turned up anything that has to do with Lauren. Although this is discouraging, we keep assuring ourselves that we have helped check off areas that needed to be searched. We have searched with many other folks who want nothing more than to find Lauren. Rob, Charlene, and Rebecca are at the search headquarters and appear so tough and determined. I am grateful for their perseverance and want to help them.

Our young adult children want to understand why we are taking so much time out of our lives (and theirs) to look for someone we don’t even know. Fleeting moments of understanding hit them but they really don’t get it. All I can tell them is, as parents, our joy comes through the lives of those we love. Taking away that joy would leave me in a panic. I don’t know what to say to the Spierers when I see them. My heart aches and I don’t think my despair would be helpful. So…I search!

I still carry posters and tape in my car even though the searches have stopped. I wish I could tell the authorities and the Spierers that, if I could be helpful, I would be there in a heartbeat! I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, though so I continue to watch the volunteer page on the website waiting for the call for help. The need to do something in such a helpless situation is haunting but what can be done?

Lauren-you are precious to so many who haven’t even met you and we want nothing more than to have you home with your family. That reunion will bring indescribable joy to my heart and the many others who have searched and prayed for you!

Lyn Bryan

I am a friend and partner of Lauren's father, Rob. I do not know Lauren personally - I probably have only met her a few times - maybe in the office once or twice, at her Bat Mitzvah, etc. I wish I knew her more because I get the sense she is vivacious and full of life.

There are 2 moments I can recall about Lauren. The more recent one was this past winter when I was having a meeting with Rob in his office. He took a call on his cell. It was Lauren calling from Bloomington. She was having car trouble and apparently was very upset. Rob was able to walk her through the situation, which I believe involved getting her to a repair shop or dealership or something. I am foggy on the details, but the moment resonated with me since I have 2 daughters and appreciated what he was challenged with that morning. I didn't hear Lauren on the phone, but I could tell that Daddy made it all right, or at least was able to provide direction. As a father, words cannot describe what it means to know that you comforted your daughter during a crisis.

The other moment was at Lauren's sister Rebecca's Bat Mitzvah more than 10 years ago. My wife and I vividly remember this little girl up on the dance floor wearing these outlandish party favor type glasses, hat and playing a toy guitar. She was having a ball and causing those looking at her to smile and laugh. She apparently had the gift even at that young age.

Joe Enright

Charlene, Robbie & Rebecca,

I have been reading the "reflections" sent from so many volunteers and friends - people who selflessly gave their time (much of it vacation time) to look for Lauren. I have learned that many of these wonderful people have never even met Lauren.

Well as you know, I have met Lauren. In fact, I know her well. When my daughter Blair turned 9, we sent her to sleepaway camp where she became part of a very special group of girls - a group we know as Dorm '06. From the start these girls forged a bond that continues to this day. One of these special girls is Lauren.

I have never called Lauren by her first name. In fact, for the first few years, I don't think I even knew her first name. To me she is Spierer. Spierer is my daughter's best friend and confidante. We consider her part of our family.

Spierer was always in our house - whether in person or "vid-chatting" with Blair. Whenever she was around there were plenty of smiles, lots of laughter, and clothes everywhere! That is how I think of her today - in the greatest outfit, bursting with energy, and excited to spend time with her friends.

Charlene, Robbie, Rebecca - You are not alone. Lauren is loved by so many. Her disappearance has touched countless lives. Like you, we are all anxiously waiting for the day when we can finally take down all the posters and billboards. The day you can take her home.

Spierer - we love you. All of us are hopeful - not giving up for a second. Your smile keeps us going.

Mara Wallach

Hi, my name is Don. I may have spoken with many of you who may be reading this. I cant even begin to recall the many names to place with all the faces of people I have met since that day I first came to the Smallwood building. What I do recall and will never forget is the unbelievable outpouring of compassionate souls who came out in staggering numbers to help find this young lady. Not just the searchers, but the volunteer staff, local businesses, public agencies, the university. The complete strangers who drove hundreds of miles out of sheer compassion. The local folks who showed up day after day to help find Lauren. The staggering number of friends and friends-of-friends of the family from New York. The firefighters from the Spierer's hometown who came out here simply because a kid from their hometown was missing. The many search and rescue teams and off-duty firefighters and police officers who showed up and simply said, "Here we are. Where would you like us?" These selfless acts of kindness are what I will always remember about this whole turn of events. This has renewed my love for my hometown, my belief in the human spirit, and my belief that this world is a beautiful place. With that being said, I would readily trade it all back to not have ever had any of this happen. These beautiful and inspirational moments have come at far to high of a price. There will, unfortunately, always be a few in this world who do things to disrupt the natural order and beauty of things. Those people in this situation NEED to come forward and make things right. Until they do, rest assured, the rest of us will be there doing whatever it takes to help return this young lady to her family.

Don Cranfill

First, my aching heart goes out to all of you. I think of you every day whether I am here in Carmel or down in Bloomington. You continue to show all of us how to keep your faith, have courage, and persevere through the understated term "parents' worst nightmare." While I have never met Lauren, I know how proud you are of her kindness, generosity, intelligence, spunk, and love of life and her family and friends.

I had been in Bloomington the very Monday before this all happened. My son, who attends Tulane University from which you all attended I understand, was speaking to some people about the summer SWSEEL program and I was just passing time in Bloomington. I was walking up and down College Ave. I remember passing by Smallwood and thinking to myself as I passed the front door, it must be one of the malls like I see on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I never knew it was an apartment building until the following weekend when I heard about Lauren. I WAS SHOCKED and SADDENED BEYOND WORDS. I couldn't sleep or would wake thinking about this nightmare that is your life. I felt like I knew Lauren. I just knew I had to do something. I couldn't sit back and keep thinking and wondering without reaching out to a family in

A couple of days passed. Then I watched the evening news. I saw Rob speak and he just appeared stronger. I wondered how that could be. He then said something about getting strength from others during this ordeal. The next morning, I grabbed my son and said let's go. We went and did a search, met some wonderful people who were doing just what we were doing. We both felt a mix of emotions but were definitely happy we went. I happened to be interviewed by a radio station and I was asked "what made you come down from Carmel to help..." I said "HOW COULD I NOT COME." If the family can at least get strength from others, we should all be there for them.

We were down this past weekend for the 4th of July and Lauren was everywhere,,,, way more so than 3 weeks ago. In fact, it was hard to get her out of my mind. Please know that there are all of us here in Indiana, and everywhere, in fact, who pray for your family and that you find Lauren.

God bless you.

Sally Maggard

Dear Spierer family,

I think of you daily although I have never met you or your daughter. You see, my husband and I, both Indiana graduates, were married on June 4th in Bloomington. While taking photos on campus that afternoon, we came across the missing person poster of your daughter posted to the Sample Gates. I remember thinking What a beautiful girl. I hope they find her and she is okay.

I think back to my wedding reception at Alumni Hall when my husband and I were surrounded by the people we cherish most, including dozens of true friends from our days at IU. If something were to happen to any of them I would not hesitate to come forward and do whatever I could to help them.

I keep praying that your daughter’s friends will find the courage to go to police and tell them anything and everything they know. May God stir their young hearts and minds, fill them with compassion and love, and may He grant them the grace to be able to truly empathize with your experience instead of carrying on in regretful silence.

Jeanne Power

Dear Lauren,

Where do I begin. How do you tell someone that you feel like you know them when in fact you have never met. Lauren I can't explain the impact you've had on me, I can't quite put it into words. I just knew when I saw your smiling face and listened to your story on the news that I needed to try and
help in some way. Maybe it's because I have 3 children of my own and if they were ever lost I truly don't know what I would do, but most of all maybe it's because I truly believe in miracles. I've experienced them, felt them and know that they happen every day. My sister and I came to IU in hopes of one of these miracles and with high hopes of bringing you home to your amazing family.

While searching for you I questioned my faith and wondered how this could happen. I grew up believing that God doesn't give you more than you can handle but I struggle with this because how can anyone handle what you and your family are going through. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you and pray for your safe return.

Lauren, you have an amazing group of people looking for you. Meeting these people was a huge priviledge. I probably will never see them again but they will always hold a special place in my heart. If you could find humor in any of this it was when poor Jerry went head first down a steep enbankment (he wasn't hurt but it was like watching home-funniest video's, of course we didn't tell him this but it was) or when Terry mastered her biggest fear of snakes when she climbed down to the creek (of course we yelled "SNAKE" once she got down there) and when my sister Missy was walking through this swamp trying to smell cucumbers (this is what we learned copperhead snakes smell like when they are around, but again of course we weren't told this until we were right in the mist of it. Who would have thought? ). And then there was Tim, WOW, there was nothing that could stop Tim, he had no fear of going into places that you wouldn't have dreamt anyone could go. He was a man on a mission. Then there was Karen and her daughter Taylor, what a team. This is only a few of the many people that have this connection with you, that in itself is a miracle to watch and be a part of. Please know that you will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. You are loved by so many people and we all just want you home.

Jackie Veegh

I met the Spierer's when Lauren was a freshmen living in the residence center where I work. I was on vacation the first week Lauren was missing so I volunteered to help out all week. I've lived in Bloomington for seven years and I always liked Bloomington. But watching the outpouring of volunteers and support for Lauren and the Spierer family has made me love Bloomington. Not only were people and businesses overwhelming in their support but so was Indiana University and the City of Bloomington. I was amazed at how quickly and cooperatively our community came together to support someone most of them didn't know.

John Summerlot