Spierer case triggers painful feelings for families of the missing

Molly Dattilo

INDIANAPOLIS - The search for missing IU student Lauren Spierer is bringing back painful memories for another Hoosier family who's been searching for their missing college student for seven years now.

"I start everyday hoping today is the day. I go to bed every night knowing that I have failed," said Charlene Spierer, speaking at a news conference from Bloomington earlier this week.

Most of us can only imagine what Lauren Spierer's family is going through right now. But Keri Dattilo knows the feelings all too well.

"They are constantly on that emotional roller coaster of fear, of hope, of failure, of what else can I do?" she said.

Her cousin, Molly Dattilo, was 23, attending classes at IUPUI when she went missing on July 6th, 2004.

"There's no question in your mind that you're going to get up and you're going to stand at the podium and you're going to plead for the public's help for any clues. You're going to search for the person without 24 hours of sleep. You are going to walk the walk every single day because you have faith that you're going to find your loved one and it's that faith that keeps you going," said Dattilo.

Molly's family says she was last seen with a new acquaintance, John Shelton, who took her for a boat ride at the West Lake Apartment Complex, then to dinner at a Speedway Taco Bell and then to a gas station.

"Molly placed a phone call from a pay phone at a gas station on Crawfordsville Road and when the call was placed to a friend and the friend picked up the phone it was disconnected. And that's the last we heard of Molly," said Keri Dattilo.

She says two months went by before law enforcement began a search. Keri says back then, missing adult cases were treated very differently.

"They looked at Molly as a college student who just wanted to get away. And that wasn't the case," Dattilo said.

That's why the family pushed so hard to get Molly Dattilo's Law passed and are hoping it helps the Spierer family come closer to knowing the truth.

"Molly's Law sets a precedent for law enforcement. When somebody goes missing they can't just turn around and say it was a college student. She wanted to go have fun. No, they immediately accept the case and start working it. Because every second, every minute, every hour counts in a missing persons case," Dattilo said.

The Dattilo family is still pleading for tips that could help them find Molly.

For Molly Dattilo and other people who went missing in the metro Indianapolis area, call in tips to 262-TIPS (8477).  You can email tips about Molly Dattilo's case here. 

The family of Morgan Johnson, the Plainfield man who has been missing since May 18th, is inviting the public to join their search this Saturday at 10 am. They're meeting at 535 Turtle Creek South Drive in Indianapolis. 

Morgan has medication for seizures and may need medical attention. If you have any info please call Detective Joe Aldridge with the Plainfield Police Department at 317-838-3565 ext. 223.

Hope, Inc. is an organization that's dedicated to helping families of missing persons get the resources they need.