Billboards that had been erected shortly after the disappearance of missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer have since been yanked from the streets of Bloomington in a controversial decision by the mayor's office.
Spierer’s mother, Charlene Spierer, refused to publicly slam the city’s decision to remove the signs alerting residents about Lauren’s disappearance, although she did say she disagreed with and was disappointed by the move from the mayor’s office, adding that she wasn’t given advanced notice of the pulled signs.
“It’s a fine line you walk between trying to do everything we can for Lauren, and yet not wanting to offend everybody that has been incredibly helpful and supportive to us,” she told the Westchester County, N.Y.-based Journal News, where Lauren and her family are from. “People in Bloomington have been wonderful to us, and they still are.”
Charlene Spierer said the signs “serve a purpose. The purpose is that Lauren not be forgotten. The last place she was at was Bloomington.”
Indiana authorities have been stumped in their search for Lauren Spierer, who went missing in June 2011 after partying at a Bloomington bar.
Her mother expressed hope that someone would see one of the billboard’s and call a police tip line written on the signs.
“Maybe someone who has that one piece of information will see the sign one last time, and have a crisis of conscience, and it’s enough that they call the police department so the case can move forward,” she said.
The city of Bloomington has an ordinance regarding signs, but Mayor Mark Kruzan said that’s not what spurred the decision to take down the billboards.
“The decision to remove the signs around the community was an effort to balance many and varied community interests and input,” Kruzan said in a statement, according to the Bloomington Herald-Times. “For the many people who have felt the signs should have been taken down long ago, it’s long overdue. For those who believe they should remain in place, no time was right to remove them.”
In an email to the Herald-Times, Charlene Spierer expressed her appreciation to the Bloomington Fire Department, which aided in the search for her missing daughter. The department was the agency that pulled down the signs.
“We remain grateful to the Bloomington Fire Department for the time and energy they took to build new frames and replace Lauren’s weather- worn billboards this past April,” Charlene Spierer wrote.” We have been shown a tremendous amount of kindness and support by the residents of Bloomington and for that we are eternally grateful. We apologize to those who have found Lauren’s missing posters offensive.”