Like many in Bloomington, I have been closely following the news about the disappearance of Lauren Spierer, a 20-year-old IU student, from the downtown area late last week. The reason it's hit me so hard is that the area from which she disappeared is right next to where I work. The spot where she was last seen is one block away and her apartment (her destination, which she never made it to) is two blocks away. At least I'm not obliged to work a ton of overtime here and stay until crazy hours, right?! I should also point out that my employer takes employee safety seriously. Many people park in a lot across the street and they recently put up security cameras covering that area.
But back to Lauren; the spot where she was last seen is on one my running routes (albeit not one that I've done often since moving to the east side). I drove into town from the west side in the early mornings or after dark and ran there because, well, I thought it was safer. That is what's getting a lot of people, I think--the fact that she vanished from the heart of Bloomington. No matter the time of day--it's a well-lit area surrounded by residential buildings. It's terrifying to think that it's not safe to walk three blocks along College Avenue in Bloomington.
I haven't yet joined any of the organized search parties, but I did take Rudy and spend some time looking around in the wooded area near my house. Luckily, or not luckily, no sign of her there. I'm just praying that somehow she is found safe and sound, even as the chances of that diminish.