A former FBI agent hired by the family of missing college student Lauren Spierer says he close to solving the case after an apparent jailhouse confession by a man known as the naked gunman.
Lauren, once a promising Indiana University student, vanished in 2011 after a night of heavy drinking and suspected drug use and has not been seen or heard from since.
But now Brad Garrett, who worked as a cold case investigator but is now a private detective, told ABC’s 20/20 he is within ‘one interview’ of solving the case after speaking to Corey Hamersley.
Hamersley, who was a student at Indiana with Lauren, was jailed for 24 years back in 2013 after having a meltdown while high on drugs, and going on a rampage with a 9mm pistol.
The former athlete was found guilty of attempted murder after unloading 32 bullets into a random house and car, then opening fire on police when they arrived.
Now, another inmate serving time with Hamersley at Indiana State prison claims the pair were playing cards in his cell when an image of Lauren flashed up on the television behind them.
The inmate, who spoke to ABC on condition of anonymity, said: ‘Immediately Corey looks up at the TV and says, “Man, I knew the guys that did that.”
‘[He said] they were drinking and doing ecstasy.
She OD’ed. It scared them. They didn’t know what to do with her and they took her down to the Ohio River… and got rid of her… disposed of her body.’
While Hamersley denied knowing anything about Lauren’s disappearance in a follow-up interview with investigators, Garrett said his theory deserves to be taken seriously.
He said: ‘The idea is very simple. One of the mistakes in most criminal cases is we, investigators, try to make them too complicated.
‘Many times, at the end of the day, they end up being quite simple. The simplest is, she died at a party in Bloomington and somebody got rid of her.’
The theory is especially compelling because Lauren had a heart condition which could have caused her complications if taking stimulants such as ecstasy or cocaine.
Rob Spierer, Lauren’s father, also says the men she was with on the night she went missing hired lawyers ‘very early on’, adding ‘I thought that was odd’.
Lauren was last seen in the early hours of June 3, 2011, following a night of heavy partying with friends in the town of Bloomington.
According to witnesses, she had spent much of the previous evening in the company of student Corey Rossman, with the pair pre-gaming for most of the night before heading to a sports bar.
Reports from the time show that Lauren and Rossman made it to the bar at around 2am the following morning.
Despite only spending around half an hour in the bar, Lauren managed to leave both her shoes and her cellphone there.
Garrett said: ‘I think that gives you some indication about how out of it she may be at this point.’
From there, the pair made their way back to Lauren’s off-campus apartment complex where they ran into a group of four men who apparently took issue with the way Rossman was handling her.
A scuffle ensued and one of the men punched Rossman in the face, which he claims caused him to lose his memory of the night.
From there, CCTV shows Rossman carrying Lauren over his shoulder to his apartment nearby, where he got sick and went to bed.
Rossman’s roommate claims he then took the girl next door to neighbor Jason Rosenbaum, who ordered her to go to sleep on the couch.
But according to Rosenbaum, Lauren refused, saying she wanted to carry on partying and left.
Rosenbaum was the last person to see her, at approximately 4.30am, walking away up the street before turning the corner.
Anyone with information on the Lauren Spierer investigation is urged to contact the Bloomington Police Department at 812-339-4477 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember: Anything small could be big.