Private-Eye Firm, Like Police, Waits for Tip That Cracks Spierer Mystery
Lauren Spierer (file photo)
Three years after the disappearance of Indiana University student Lauren Spierer, investigators are still receiving and chasing down tips -- both inside the Bloomington Police Department and outside.
Three months after Spierer disappeared, her parents hired the private-eye firm of Bo Dietl. The part-time TV pitchman for Arby's was one of NYPD's most decorated detectives before starting his own firm. Lead investigator Michael Diravolo says the late start made the case tougher than it would have been coming in at the beginning. He says it's been further complicated by the fact that Bloomington at the time lacked the comprehensive surveillance-video coverage that a larger city might have. A surveillance camera caught Spierer walking from her apartment building to one where some friends lived, but there's no footage of her after she left her friends' building.
Diravolo says private investigators have one built-in advantage over police, in that they can question people without reading their Miranda warnings -- a request for a lawyer doesn't automatically end an interview if a person is willing to talk. But he says at this point, all the known witnesses have been interviewed. Like police, the firm is pursuing tips as they come in and awaiting the one that breaks the case open.
Diravolo acknowledges the odds of finding Spierer still alive are "rather slim," but says investigators and Spierer's family still hold out hope. He notes the escape of three long-missing kidnap victims in Cleveland last year, and a similar case in California last month, offer reminders that a positive outcome is still possible.
Bloomington police declined comment due to the volume of inquiries, but issued a written statement saying they're still averaging nearly a tip a day, with the most recent one coming in last week.