Missing Indiana college student's friend involved in fight

/ Source: msnbc.com staff and news service reports

Bloomington police say a missing Indiana University student wasn't involved in any altercations before she disappeared.

But Lt. Bill Parker won't discuss reports that a male friend with 20-year-old Lauren Spierer was in a fight with other men a couple hours earlier.

The attorney of Corey Rossman said the IU student, the last person reportedly to see Spierer before she disappeared last week, was involved in a confrontation at the Smallwood Plaza apartment building where Spierer lives.

Spierer was last seen at 4:30 a.m. last Friday. The attorney told NBC station WTHR that Rossman was with Spierer at the time, but was knocked out in the altercation and does not remember much from before or after the fight.

Parker would not comment on the reported altercation during Thursday's daily news conference to update the media on the case.

Rossman is considered one of several persons of interest in the case, but police declined to discuss if anyone was considered a suspect in the disappearance.

"There still are persons of interest that we continue to talk to, when they're willing," Parker said.

He said those people have generally been cooperative, but they are still arranging appointments to speak with people that may have information about the case.

Parker said police continue to review information they receive, but did not have any breaks to report in the case.

"We don't have any specific revelations and we still are looking for that, so we do appreciate all the attention that is being given to the case, because it does help," Parker said. "There is a heck of a lot of information coming in and that's what we want."

Police are also looking at hard drives containing surveillance video from Spierer's apartment building, as well as other cameras in the area. Security video showed Spierer entering her apartment building with friends, then leaving with a man to go to another apartment up the street.

"The videos do show her going toward the other apartment, but there is not video directly on that apartment," Parker said.

Parker said divers would return to nearby Lake Monroe after a search Wednesday turned up nothing. Hundreds of volunteers have joined in searches for the Greenburgh, N.Y., woman.

Her father, Robert Spierer, says a $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to her return. He asked Thursday that people living around Bloomington check wooded areas, barns or sheds on their property for any signs of her. He said he had not seen the surveillance videos.

Parker said Wednesday that the whole city has been searched at least once, and some areas near Spierer's apartment have been scoured for clues several times. Hundreds of volunteers have joined in search efforts this week, including family friends from out of state and other Indiana parents who have experienced the nightmare of a missing child.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is now helping Bloomington officers organize expanded searches looking for Spierer, a petite blonde who just finished her sophomore year at IU. Parker said searches of the city will also continue.

A missing person poster of Lauren Spierer, 20, is posted on a sign post outside her apartment building in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Spierer disappeared around 4:20 a.m. on Friday. Police say they suspect foul play in the disappearance of a 20-year-old Indiana University student five days ago, but have little information about what happened to her. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)Michael Conroy / AP

Police believe foul play is likely involved, but have no suspects in the case. Authorities are following up leads and have urged anyone with information to call police tip lines.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said on the social networking site Twitter that he is offering a $10,000 reward for serious information that solves the case. Celebrities have also been using social media to help spread word of the case. Television host Ryan Seacrest tweeted a photo of Spierer and wrote, "Let's help find missing 20 yr old Lauren Spierer, last seen at Indiana U." A Facebook page titled "Help Find Lauren Spierer - Missing from Indiana University" had more than 22,000 supporters Wednesday, many of whom wrote short prayers and well wishes.

Investigators have Spierer's purse and some keys, which were found along the route to her friend's apartment. Parker has said they aren't sure whether Spierer left them on her way to or from her friend's home. She left her cellphone and shoes in the bar, and Parker said her friends have told police she had been drinking that evening.

Fliers with Spierer's photograph and a physical description of her are plastered around the 40,000-student Indiana University campus and the city of Bloomington, about 50 miles south of Indianapolis.