|Rob and Charlene Spierer|
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The parents of Lauren Spierer say they doubt their daughter was abducted by a stranger and expressed skepticism about the statements of two friends who were among the last people to interact with her.
"It's easy for anybody to say anything because Lauren is not here to tell her side of the story," Charlene Spierer told The Journal News on Thursday.
For the first time, she and husband Robert Spierer raised doubts about key statements made by two "persons of interest" in the disappearance of the 20-year-old Edgemont High School graduate, Corey Rossman and Jay Rosenbaum.
Rossman claims he was punched so hard the morning she was last seen that he lost his memory of his time with Spierer; his lawyer said Spierer had to help him back to his apartment from her building.
"It's hard for me to imagine Lauren, with her size, helping someone of Corey's size from Smallwood Plaza to his apartment," Robert Spierer said. "Maybe he'd be willing to take a police polygraph."
He also challenged some claims by Rosenbaum, including that he let her use his cellphone to call a friend before she left his apartment, which was in the same building as Rossman's.
"I know he claims she made the call, but I have no reason to believe she actually made the call," Robert Spierer said.
A call was placed from Rosenbaum's phone at 4:15 a.m. June 3 to David Rohn, who lives in Smallwood. Rohn says he didn't answer because he was sleeping, and that no message was left.
Rosenbaum, who was the last person to report seeing Lauren Spierer, said he had tried to persuade her to sleep over but let her leave after she demonstrated she could walk without stumbling.
Spierer, a student at Indiana University, had left her cellphone and shoes at a bar earlier that morning, and later dropped her keys.
"Jay said Lauren left his apartment," Robert Spierer said. "But she had no keys, cellphone or shoes. How was she going to get back into Smallwood at 4:15 in the morning?"
The Spierers returned to Bloomington last week after going home to Greenburgh to celebrate their other daughter's 25th birthday.
They have kept in close contact with police for the three months since their daughter went missing.
Since early on, they chastised fellow students who were with her that morning, suggesting they have withheld information from investigators. They refer to a "deafening silence" among the friends, all of whom have hired lawyers.
During Thursday's interview, they challenged the stories the friends have shared.
What is known is that Spierer left her building shortly after midnight with Rohn. The two walked to Rosenbaum's apartment, where they hung out with him and several others including neighbors Mike Beth and Rossman.
Spierer left there with Rossman and went to Kilroy's bar, where she left her phone. The two walked to Smallwood, where Rossman was confronted upstairs by a group of people, including at least one buddy of Spierer's boyfriend, Jesse Wolff.
Rossman said he was punched in the face, and the two left together. Video surveillance shows them exiting an elevator into the lobby, according to a person who viewed the footage. It shows her stumbling across the floor and falling to her knees; Rossman picked her up and helped her out of the building, the source said.
The two went to Rossman's apartment, where Beth, his roommate, said he put him to bed, then saw her walk out. Spierer then went back to Rosenbaum's. He was the last person to report having seen her.
The Spierers find it hard to believe that their daughter was abducted during what would have been a half-mile walk home.
"What's the likelihood of a stranger with bad intentions coming along and randomly seeing her in the street?" Robert Spierer asked. "We view it as possible, but low probability."
Wolff was the one who alerted Spierer's parents that she was missing, after he was called by a bar employee who saw on her phone that he had been trying to reach her.
Wolff, who said he had planned to get together with Spierer the morning she went missing, joined the search the following weekend. He has had no contact with her parents since then, except for a cordial Father's Day text message that he sent to her father.
Robert Spierer, who said he responded in kind, expects he will speak with Wolff again one of these days. He has had no contact with any of the other "persons of interest," though he briefly met Rosenbaum when the search began.
Rosenbaum told a television reporter this week that he was speaking with the Spierers privately. The parents say they've had no such contact with him.
Charlene Spierer said she found Rosenbaum's statement "shocking."
"We haven't had any interaction with any of them," added Robert Spierer.
He stopped short of accusing them of being involved in her disappearance.
"It would be unfair for us to say they lied," he said. "We simply don't know."
Rossman, Rosenbaum and Wolff did not respond to requests for comment.