Lauren Spierer goes missing in 'a safe and civil city'
Lauren Spierer went missing last week after a night out with friends. Underage drinking may have been involved.
Nobel winners and award-winning business and music schools attract some of the world's brightest students to Indiana University. A reputation as one of the nation's top party schools attracts others.Skip to next paragraph
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Into this mix walked Lauren Spierer, a bubbly 20-year-old from Greenburgh, N.Y., with a flair for fashion who friends say was drawn to IU because she liked the school spirit and big campus. Spierer went missing last week after drinking with friends at one of the town's most popular bars. She was last seen walking home alone.
Her disappearance highlights the danger drinking can present in college towns and calls to mind similar cases from elsewhere. Wisconsin police have never made an arrest in the 2007 slaying of 22-year-old Kelly Nolan, who disappeared after a night of bar-hopping near the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her body was found weeks later in a ditch south of the city.
Male students at Iowa State University, Middlebury College in Vermont and the University of California, Riverside also have gone missing after drinking, although in those cases their deaths were ruled accidental.
As police and volunteers continue their search for Spierer, questions have swirled about how a young woman who isn't even 5 feet tall got into a bar and served alcohol in a city that Indiana excise police patrol more regularly than any other place in the state.
Indiana University's nearly 2,000-acre campus about 50 miles south of Indianapolis is a picturesque mix of tree-lined paths and limestone buildings dating to the late 19th century. The school touts top-notch academic programs, but it's also consistently ranked as a top party school by the Princeton Review, earning the top spot in 2005 and consistently making the top 15 since then.
The city's nightlife centers on a main drag just steps from the stately campus, with bars and clubs offering live music and drink specials within easy walking distance. Students say they weren't surprised that Spierer felt comfortable walking to her apartment alone, even late at night.
Police say Spierer spent the evening with friends at Kilroy's Sports Bar, a sprawling complex with a sand-covered outdoor beach area, rooftop deck and nightly drink specials that are so popular that lines to get in often stretch around the building. She left about 2:30 a.m., leaving her cell phone and shoes in the bar.
Police have said Spierer was last seen by a friend, who they did not name, as she walked to a corner near his apartment about 4:30 a.m. June 3.