BLOOMINGTON — Police in Bloomington say they have contacted authorities in Louisiana about their search for a college student whose disappearance has similarities to that of an Indiana University student who has been missing for nearly a year.
Spokesman Capt. Joe Qualters told the Herald Times that Bloomington police, who are investigating the June 3, 2011, disappearance of Lauren Spierer, have contacted Louisiana authorities who are searching for University of Louisiana student Michaela "Mickey" Shunick, who has been missing since May 19.
Shunick, who vanished just a few days before her 22nd birthday, was last seen shortly before 2 a.m., when she left a friend's house in an area popular with college students in Lafayette, La., to go home. Her bicycle was found Sunday in a remote, swampy area under a highway bridge in Iberville Parish, about 25 miles from where she was last seen. Lafayette police spokesman Paul Mouton said officers were continuing to search Monday in the area where her bike was found.
Spierer, of Greenburgh, N.Y., was 20 years old when she disappeared about 4:30 a.m. after a night out with friends at a popular student hangout in downtown Bloomington.
Both women are blonde and petite. Shunick is described as white, with long, wavy blonde hair. She is 5-foot-1 and 115 pounds. Spierer is described as white, with shoulder length blonde hair. She is 4-foot-11 and 95 lbs.
Police in Louisiana also want to learn more about a white pickup truck that is shown in a security video that also shows a bicyclist believed to be Shunick about the time she disappeared.
Police in Indiana also investigated a white pickup truck caught on video that had driven by the area Spierer was last reportedly seen. Investigators initially thought the truck circled the block suspiciously, but later determined a time discrepancy between video cameras was the reason the truck appeared to go by twice.
After releasing photographs and receiving more than 500 tips, police tracked down the owner of the truck and determined he had driven by the area about 4:15 a.m. to pick up an employee. Investigators said the truck wasn't linked to Spierer's disappearance.