BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Police made a new bid for help in finding a missing Indiana University student on Wednesday, releasing security camera images showing her just before she left for a night out and showing a pickup truck spotted near where she was last seen.
Bloomington police Capt. Joe Qualters said investigators want to talk with anyone who was in the truck, although they don't know whether it is connected to the disappearance of 20-year-old Lauren Spierer.
The truck — a white shortbed four-door Chevrolet Silverado or Colorado built in the mid-2000s — drove around a city block in the area and about the time Spierer, of Greenburgh, N.Y., was walking toward her apartment about 4:30 a.m. June 3 after a night of partying with friends.
"It could either be significant to us in that that person may have some direct responsibility for the event or that individual has information that could lead us in a direction," Qualters said.
He said the truck, which ran a stop sign, didn't slow down enough for investigators to be able to make out writing seen on one of its back doors and rear panels.
In the photos, the truck appears to have some equipment in the bed and detectives are continuing to check on construction areas in the neighborhood, Qualters said.
Police have used security video to track Spierer's arrival and departure from her apartment building that night, but Wednesday was the first time any of the images were released to the public.
In the picture given out by police, Spierer is dressed in a white shirt and black leggings as she leaves her apartment building. Qualters said it was being released to help the public know what Spierer was wearing when she disappeared.
During Wednesday's news conference, Spierer's father, Robert Spierer, said the photo was fuzzy but a good depiction of her.
"She's a happy, smiling, beautiful young lady on her way out for the evening to meet with friends," he said. "That's the Lauren that we're looking for."
The truck in the photos didn't ring any bells with volunteers who spent a rainy morning searching downtown Bloomington for signs of Spierer.
"I hope somebody knows that truck," said Leah Aft, assistant director of IU's Helene G. Simon Hillel Center who supervises the downtown storefront out of which volunteer searchers are based.
Aft said about 20 people volunteered to search Wednesday morning, compared with about 200 a day since Spierer disappeared. But the rain didn't discourage those who did turn out.
"You have to stay focused on what the need is," said 48-year-old Jeff Ritter, of Martinsville.
Ritter said the rain paled in importance to the anguish felt by Spierer's family and friends.
"The weather is trivial," he said.