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”The past is an unsolved mystery and the truth a moving target.”

- Edna Buchanan

Lauren Spierer
Lauren Spierer

I never met her. I never once heard her laugh or saw her flash a smile.

However, Lauren Spierer and I share a unique connection. We both came into this world on January 17.

Lauren, a 20-year-old student at Indiana University, disappeared from Bloomington after a night of partying with acquaintances. I’d prefer to use the term friends, but friends treat pals better than the care Lauren received on that fated night back in 2011.

I do not suggest Lauren was perfectly innocent prior to her disappearance. She drank far too much. She rendered herself far too vulnerable. She was an easy target for unsavory characters lurking in the dark.

As a former cab driver in Bloomington I can assure you this was not an uncommon occurrence on campus. Students often behaved with no respect for the dangerous circumstances associated with that type of lifestyle. Many deemed themselves independent of everyone around them and considered themselves darn near immortal.

When made aware their daughter was missing, Lauren‘s parents quickly joined law enforcement officials and community volunteers in a widespread search for the missing student.

My heart ached for them then and the case continues to trouble me today. So many questions; so few answers. And, very little cooperation from her “friends.”

According to a report, Lauren was seen walking by herself near the intersection of 11th Street and College Avenue in the early morning hours. She had neither shoes nor her telephone.

She partied with several people that evening. So, why was she walking alone? Why was she placed in harm’s way?

Mrs. Spierer continues to celebrate Lauren’s birthdays. She yearns for answers and a semblance of closure.

Ultimately, I hope someone musters the intestinal fortitude to step forward and bring much-needed relief to this family.

If we can glean anything from this morbid mystery it is the lesson that young adults are mortals and must not allow themselves to be susceptible to the sick souls constantly scouring the landscape for tempting targets.

If you love your children, please remind them of this story and the importance of choosing friends wisely. Don’t frighten them; merely educate them.

It never should have happened.

Have fun, but be cognizant of your surroundings and guardians.

Be safe … always.

Columnist Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or

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