The family of Lauren Spierer, a missing Indiana University student who disappeared under mysterious circumstances earlier this month, has made another personal appeal to the public for help. The request comes following an announcement by Bloomington police that they are attempting to enhance surveillance video of a suspicious vehicle seen in the vicinity when Spierer disappeared.
"If the person who has Lauren is out there, we ask you to please let her go. Let her come home. We love her. She's our baby and we want to get her back," the missing student's father, Robert Spierer, told NBC's "Today" show today.
Spierer, 20, was last seen on June 3 around 4:30 a.m. just a few blocks from her Smallwood Plaza apartment. Earlier in the night, Spierer had visited Kilroy's, a nearby sports bar that closes at 3 a.m. When she left the establishment, she left behind her shoes and cellphone, police said.
After leaving the bar, Spierer went to a friend's apartment before deciding to walk home. A male friend was the last to see her, police said. He told police that she was walking barefoot near the corner of 11th Street and College Avenue. What happened to her after that remains a mystery. She was reported missing less than 12 hours later.
Bloomington police, Indiana University police, the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, Indiana State Police and the FBI have all been conducting searches at construction sites, lakes and wooded areas around Bloomington. Texas EquuSearch, a nonprofit missing person search and recovery group from Dickinson, Texas, recently joined in those search efforts.
Spierer's parents, who live in Greenburgh, N.Y., recently flew to Bloomington to assist in search efforts. According to her mother, Charlene Spierer, she and her husband will remain in the area as long as it takes.
"It's like having your heart ripped out. She's so much a part of my life, my husband's life ... I just can't ever imagine leaving without Lauren," she said on the "Today" show.
During a Monday press conference, Bloomington police said they are hoping to enhance surveillance video of a vehicle that was seen in the vicinity when Spierer disappeared. The vehicle was seen in the vicinity of 11th and Morton Streets and 10th and College, police said.
"All I know is that there is a vehicle that has come to our attention," Captain Joe Qualters said. "Did that individual drive around the block because perhaps they saw something? Did that individual drive around the block because they were responsible for something? I don't know."
Asked about the vehicle on the "Today" show, Robert Spierer said, "It's a vehicle that was in the vicinity ... but we don't know if it's meaningful in terms of any connection to the case."
Charlene Spierer said she and her husband are still trying to wrap their head around their daughter's disappearance.
"What happened? I think that's the million dollar question," she said. "We just don't know what happened."
Lauren Spierer is described as a white female who is 4-feet-11-inches tall with a slender build. She has blue eyes and blond hair. She was last wearing a white tank top with a light-colored shirt over it and black stretch pants. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Bloomington Police at (812) 339-4477. You can also visit Findlauren.com.