A Tale Of Two Disappearances

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The story of missing Indiana University sophomore Lauren Spierer has completely overshadowed the May 18 disappearance of 27-year-old Morgan Johnson, a black man who suffers from seizures and should be on medication.

Spierer, 20, from Greenburgh, N.Y., vanished near her apartment at Indiana University on June 3 after spending part of the night at Kilroy’s, a popular student pub.


Like Johnson, Spierer has a life-threatening heart condition that requires medication, but the pretty blonde woman’s case has attracted far more attention than that of the young African-American man.

Police found Spierer’s keys and purse on the path near her place, and said that she had left her shoes and cell phone at the bar.

The search for Spierer has sparked a nationwide frenzy that included a feature on “America’s Most Wanted” while Johnson’s mystery remains virtually unknown.

Johnson was last seen on surveillance video at the Value Place Extended Stay hotel, where he lived to be close his job in Plainfield, Ind. According to police, no one has heard from him since May 18 and there has been no activity with his finances or cell phone.

Anyone with information about Morgan Johnson should call the Plainfield Police Department at 1-317-838-3562. He drives a 1995 white Grand Am.

Anyone with information about Lauren Spierer should call the Bloomington Police Department of 1-812-339-4477 or 1-800-CRIME-TV. You can also email your tip to policetips@bloomington.in.gov.

According to the FBI, more than 690,000 people were reported missing last year alone. Fewer than 20,000 of those however, were what is called “involuntary” but, most cases don’t generate publicity beyond family and friends.

Reports of missing persons have increased sixfold in the past 25 years, from roughly 150,000 in 1980 to about 900,000 this year. The increase was driven in part by the country’s growing population. But the numbers also indicate that law enforcement treats the cases more seriously now, including those of marginalized citizens.

An astounding 2,300 Americans are reported missing every day, including both adults and children.

But only a tiny fraction of those are stereotypical abductions or kidnappings by a stranger.

For example, the federal government counted 840,279 missing persons cases in 2001. All but about 50,000 were juveniles, classified as anyone younger than 18.

Only about 100 missing-child reports each year fit the profile of a stereotypical abduction by a stranger or vague acquaintance.

Two-thirds of those victims are ages 12 to 17, and among those eight out of 10 are white females, according to a Justice Department study. Nearly 90 percent of the abductors are men, and they sexually assault their victims in half of the cases.

To further complicate categorization of cases, the FBI designates some missing-person incidents—both adult and juvenile—that seem most dire as “endangered” or “involuntary.”

More than 100,000 missing persons, the vast majority of them children, are designated as endangered each year. About 30,000 are deemed involuntary.

The New Jersey State Police post information about some of the missing persons cases under their jurisdiction at http://webdb.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/njsp/mplistsort.cgi

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