Residents protest removal of Lauren Spierer signs
Some Bloomington residents are voicing their concern after signs for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer were removed by the city.
Volunteers put up the signs two years ago and they were renovated by local firefighters in April. But the city removed the 20 signs sometime over the past week.
"Last time I was here, it was there," said a jogger on campus Monday.
Spierer went missing after a night out with friends in June 2011. No arrests have been made in the case and she has not been found.
Adam Wason with Bloomington city government tells Eyewitness News that "the decision to remove the signs around the community was an effort to balance many and varied community interests and input. 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."
A Facebook page was set up encouraging people to "flood the mayor with emails" in protest at the decision.
The city says it intended to remove the signs after IU graduation last May, but decided to keep them up for another six months after firefighters renovated the signs. That six-month period was up last week and the signs were removed.
"No disrespect is intended nor does it reflect any loss of interest in the case," Wason said in an email to WTHR. "The community has been very engaged in the case and will remain so. Posters about the case remain up throughout the campus and community, including in city government buildings, and police agencies continue to actively investigate."
The goal was to put the large signs at busy intersections, where thousands of pairs of eyes could spot Lauren's picture every day. It was hoped that would generate tips to police.
We asked motorists and pedestrians if they remembered the signs at busy spots like 10th and College.
"Yeah, I do," said Josh Hyman.
But most we talked to at that corner only noticed the Waffle House was now missing, brought down to clear the way for new construction.
So had the signs become too familiar? One driver waiting at the red light said, "I would say so. She had quite a bit of attention because of her wealthy parents. A lot of people go missing and basically don't get half the attention."
"Can't really blame them. There's a time when I guess so much time has passed they have to move on, but it would be nice to see you there. You can't really give up hope," Hyman said.
Many in the area were torn over the signs' removal.
"You know, it's a horrible tragedy. It's a tragic thing," said one driver. "It's just bad. If it was my child, I would want the sign up forever."