Bloomington, IN, police have begun looking for evidence at the Sycamore Ridge Landfill related to the disappearance of missing Indiana University sophomore Lauren Spierer, a native of Edgemont.
The landfill, located in Pimento, IN, is being searched by Bloomington police as well as FBI agents, officers from the Indiana University Police Department and a search expert from Team Adam affiliated with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Up to 30 law enforcement personnel are planning to participate daily in a search of a 70-foot by 120-foot by 20-foot area.
The search for evidence is expected to take as long as two weeks, according to Bloomington police Capt. Joe Qualters.
Spierer, 20, has reportedly been missing since Friday, June 3 at 4:30 a.m. The Indiana Daily Student, which published a timeline chronicling the period leading up to Spierer’s disappearance, states that Spierer was last seen by a fellow IU student, Corey Rossman, on the corner of 11th Street and College Avenue in Bloomington as she was leaving to go home to her apartment complex, Smallwood Plaza.
Surveillance cameras indicated that Spierer never made it home, and her keys were found several blocks away from her apartment.
Police said that dumpsters in the area of 11th and College were included in the initial search effort by police that took place immediately after Spierer was reported missing. As an additional precaution, during the week of June 6 initial contact was made with the companies providing waste collection for the dumpsters located near 11th and College. Qualters said it was determined that all waste from Bloomington is taken to a transfer station south of the city and then transported to the Sycamore Ridge Landfill.
While working with the company that operates the landfill, Republic Services, waste that was taken from the city on and around the dates of Spierer’s disappearance was identified at the landfill site, police said. That location within the landfill has remained isolated and secured since that time with no additional waste placed in the identified area.
Police said that as preliminary preparations for checking the landfill began, the decision was made to allow ongoing land search efforts to continue. Thousands of civilian and professional searchers covered a perimeter of 10-12 miles from Spierer’s last reported location, Qualters said.
The Team Adam landfill search experts affiliated with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children began working with investigators in early July even as other efforts continued. Qualters said an extensive plan was developed including determining the number of personnel needed, what agencies would be able to contribute personnel, what safety equipment and tools would be needed and where that equipment could be obtained. Other logistical considerations include such things as wash stations, restroom facilities, shelter, food, water and daily transportation for search personnel from Bloomington to the Terre Haute area.
The following statement is being released on behalf of the Spierer family:
“Please keep all the members of the Bloomington Police Department and all other law enforcement agencies who are assisting in this incredibly complex undertaking to search the landfill safe. With sincere thanks and appreciation for their continued support in our efforts to find Lauren.”
Rob, Charlene and Rebecca Spierer