Saturday, July 02, 2011

Star Questions Police Investigation Of Lauren Spierers

It's a display of what has become too much of a rarity at the Indianapolis Star, but reporter Robert King has an excellent story today about the missing person case of IU student Lauren Spierers entitled, "4 Weeks, No Answers." King raises a number of questions about police handling of the case, including contamination of the crime scene with hundreds of volunteer searchers, failure to interview potential witnesses timely or at all in some cases, waiting too long to ask for the assistance of the State Police and waiting too long in general to do the obvious.

The four-week search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer has employed riders on horseback, search dogs, divers, helicopters and an army of more than 1,000 civilian volunteers.
But after nearly a month, it has failed to answer an essential question: What happened?
The Bloomington Police Department has offered a scant timeline of Spierer's movements in the early morning hours of June 3. During more than a dozen news conferences, police officials have taken few questions.
Nearly a month after a friend reported last seeing Spierer rounding a corner at 11th Street and College Avenue, police haven't said whether they think Spierer is alive or dead. They haven't acknowledged whether they have suspects in a crime. Or if they are close to an arrest.
Into the vacuum of information, a sizable pack of journalists from Indiana and New York, the Spierers' home state, have strode in, trying through interviews with Spierer's friends and their attorneys to put some paint on a blank canvas.
Meanwhile, a cottage industry of Internet sages and bloggers has arisen to push pet theories, accuse key figures and generally speculate about what's happening.

To my surprise, King's story hones in on one of the persons of interest about whom there has been much speculation on Internet blogs and because he was quick to hire the state's most prominent criminal defense attorney, James Voyles.

Jay Rosenbaum, the man who, according to a friend of Spierer's, was among the last to see her, has been singled out in the blogosphere for not helping police. There's even a website, jay rosenbaumneedstotalk.wordpress .com. His attorney, former Mike Tyson counsel Jim Voyles, issued a statement this week saying his client has cooperated with police and submitted results from a lie detector test, though he wouldn't discuss the nature of the questions or who asked them.

On the troubling way police have gone about their investigation, King turns to a retired state police investigator, Jim White:

There are more unknowns than knowns," White said, "and part of that is because law enforcement hasn't been forthcoming. Most of the police officers I still associate with think there's a lot more to this story than what we are getting through the media."
White is critical of aspects of the dearth of information made public, the use of volunteer searchers who have been "traipsing" through potential crime scene areas, the wait before involving the State Police -- nine days after the disappearance -- and the prominent role Spierer's parents have played in the investigation.
"I think we all feel sorry for the family, but this is a police matter," White said. "The family had people searching all over town, and in fact what they did was contaminate a crime scene."
 I would like to question White what role, if any, he had in the Indiana State Police investigation into the disappearance and grisly discovery of a west-central Indiana woman, Mary Beth Grismore, more than three decades ago. Prominent political persons, including Sen. Birch Bayh, were among those who investigators learned had been involved with her during the last days she was known to be alive and no serious attempt was ever made to discover how she wound up stuffed in the trunk of her car at a motel parking lot nearing the Columbus, Ohio airport. The Indiana State Police don't even have her case listed on their website as a cold case file, a fact a police spokesman told me was simply due to an oversight during a revamping of the department's website. Nearly two months after I raised the question, the omission has still not been corrected. Her case is listed on the state of Ohio's cold case list, even though all investigatory leads led them right back to Indiana. No, the Indiana State Police have no intention of trying to discover who actually murdered Mary Beth Grismore. Let's hope Indiana police are truly interested in solving the disappearance case of Lauren Spierers.

I've mentioned this website before, but I'll mention it again. If you're really interested in staying on top of all the rumors and gossip pertaining to the Spierers' case, check out His latest post wonders aloud about this insensitive twitter post on June 11 by IU student Arjun Babu, an Indianapolis man tied to Spierers and several of her friends:


Marv said...

Really, I find it objectionable that some of the friends are being criticized for "lawyering up". . . and not speaking to the cops . . . especially by an attorney.

Ask Elizabeth Smart's parents and Jon Benet Ramsey's parents what good cooperating with the police did them. Cops and prosecutors are not out to find the truth they are out to make themselves look good by getting a conviction . . . whether it is the right person or not.

Best advise an attorney can ever give a client is to NEVER talk to the police. See the attached you tube video on the subject, which amazingly is from Regent School of Law, the type of Christian Fascist School that I would place the police on a pedestal.

Advance Indiana said...

Lawyering up is not the problem, Marv. It's lawyering up and not being the least bit cooperative. Carl Saltzman accompanied his client to the police station, offered his DNA sample and provided information he recalled about the incident soon after police determined Spierers was a missing person. Notably, he didn't split town. Teddy Kennedy left the scene, sobered up, called his lawyer, split town and then began dissembling about what happened after Mary Jo Kopechne's dead body was found in his submerged car. Do I find fault what Kennedy did, even though it allowed him to escape responsibility for his felonious crime? You bet, lawyer or not.

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