Martinsville investigation tied to search for Lauren Spierer

Spierer disappeared June 3, 2011 after a night out with friends in Bloomington.


MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — After 4 1/2 years, there’s been what could be a major development in the case of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer.

Police investigate at a home in Martinsville on Jan. 28, 2016. (WISH Photo/Julian Grace)
Police investigate at a home in Martinsville on Jan. 28, 2016. (WISH Photo/Julian Grace)

Investigators converged on a home in the Martinsville area Thursday afternoon, and the FBI was involved. They spent part of the day and evening inside a home and barn.

24-Hour News 8 reports that crews sifted through dirt at a home located on the 2900 block of Old Morgantown Road. Cadaver dogs were on the scene sniffing in and around the compound.

Investigators would not give hints on why they were on the scene; however, an attorney for a man named Justin Wagers said the activity is connected to the Lauren Spierer case.

Late Thursday, WISH-TV got a tip about another extensive search that happened earlier in the day at a home in Johnson County.

Neighbors say a man named Frank Wagers lives at the location where the search happened.

The neighbor said she witnessed several unmarked cars parked in the driveway. She also said she saw about eight K-9 units on his property for several hours.

“You could tell that they were searching. They had the dogs out and they were going through stuff,” said the neighbor who asked we not use her name. “(They were) walking in and out of their shed, barn…each of their houses, little shacks that they have on their property.”

The Johnson County Sheriff said none of his deputies were on the property, but he did confirm a family under the name Wagers lives at that address.

Spierer disappeared June 3, 2011 after a night out with friends in Bloomington. Her disappearance prompted large group searches for her in and around Bloomington. Posters and billboards also spread the message, and many of those can still be seen four years later.

A missing poster for Lauren Spierer is posted on a tree near the Bloomington campus.
A missing poster for Lauren Spierer is posted on a tree near the Bloomington campus.

As the years passed, there has been constant speculation on what happened to the college coed. Every time human remains were found in southern Indiana, speculation would swirl.

Wagers is the latest person to be placed under the radar. Wagers is currently in jail after police say he exposed himself to multiple women. In 2015, Wagers was labeled as a “serial flasher” after police say he flashed several women in Greenwood, Franklin and Edinburgh.

A man who identified himself as Wagers grandfather said, “I don’t know what they are searching for.”

Bloomington Police have yet to confirm that there is a connection to the Spierer case, but did release the following statement:

On today’s date, the Bloomington Police Department was assisted by the FBI at a location in Morgan County as part of the active and ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Lauren Spierer.

No other information will be released other than this confirmation that the Bloomington Police Department was the agency involved in Morgan County as previously reported by various media outlets.

Her parents have never given up hope that one day there would be answers to what happened to their daughter. Just less than two weeks ago, the family posted on a Facebook page created to update people on the case. It was Lauren’s birthday, and the family was thinking of her.

“Someone once asked me how it feels like to be the parent of a missing child. It is indescribable,” Charlene Spierer once wrote. “The nightmare you never wake up from. Spend a moment with your son or daughter today, something we have all taken for granted.”

Spierer’s parents also tried to sue the two men that were with their daughter on the night she disappeared. The lower court and appeals court decided that the Spierer family could not provide sufficient evidence to support their claims that they did not see her to her apartment safely.

“Because he was with Lauren the majority of the evening and bought drinks for her, (Cory) Rossman was nearest to assuming a duty to care for her. But he also appears to have been intoxicated — so much so that it is questionable whether he could effectively take care of himself, still less another person,” the federal judge wrote.

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