Anything investigators may have discovered during searches last week connected to the 2011 disappearance of Indiana University student Lauren Spierer will remain hidden from the public unless criminal charges are filed.
A Monroe County judge told the Bloomington Herald-Times that information regarding the search warrants executed Thursday will be only be unsealed if charges are filed in connection to the case.
The Bloomington Police Department and federal agents searched the Martinsville property owned by the family of Justin Wagers on Thursday in connection with the Spierer investigation. His attorney has denied Wagers has any knowledge of the woman, who vanished in June 2011 after a night partying with friends.
Wagers, 35, remains jailed in another case, and an examination of his past reveals two cases of violence against women and a frequent habit of exposing himself to women and children, according to allegations in court documents.
Wagers has been accused of exposing himself in at least nine cases across four Central Indiana counties. He has admitted to charges of public indecency in six of the incidents, and three recent cases remain pending.
He also has admitted to threatening an ex-girlfriend and battering his ex-wife.
Wagers’ father, Doug Wagers, maintains that his son has nothing to do with Spierer’s disappearance. He said his son’s many indecent exposure arrests stemmed from police unfairly zoning in on him as a suspect when such cases are reported.
“The system profiled him,” Doug Wagers told The Indianapolis Star. “I tell you what, a person who’s got a lot of money wouldn’t be in the spot he’s in.”
Justin Wagers married in 2006, but his wife filed for divorce and the marriage was dissolved in 2010. He has been served two protective orders that barred him from contacting his ex-wife and a previous girlfriend, court records show.
In 2012, he pleaded guilty to battering his ex-wife. Court documents say he showed up at her Franklin home. She let him inside, as he appeared calm, documents show, but he grew angry when she refused to let him see her cellphone. The woman told police he grabbed her arms, neck, face and throat, leaving her bruised.
Wagers also pleaded guilty that year to felony intimidation after his ex-girlfriend told police he made 44 phone calls to her over a two-day period, and threatened her.
Court documents dating to 2001 indicate people identified Wagers as a man who exposed himself to them. In some cases, police officers witnessed Wagers exposing himself and arrested him on the spot. Other times, people identified him in a lineup.
Some reports indicated Wagers drove a maroon Mercury Cougar, which is the same type of car that’s registered to Wagers’ mother. Other reports detail a white pickup truck.
In March 2002, two girls, 13 and 15, told police a man said something sexual to them while they walked to a bus stop in Martinsville. A few days later, undercover officers watching the girls walking to the bus stop arrested Wagers when police said they saw him expose himself to the girls, court documents say.
In September 2004, two girls, 12 and 13, told police they saw a man expose himself to them while they walked to school in Martinsville. They identified Wagers. Once his picture ran in the paper, court documents said, three more people called police and reported that Wagers exposed himself to them.
The next month, a 14-year-old girl walking to her school in Mooresville identified Wagers as a man who exposed himself from the maroon Mercury Cougar. She had written down its license plate after the incident.
Bloomington police and FBI agents investigating the 2011 disappearance of IU student Lauren Spierer searched a Martinsville residence on Thursday. Connie Etter
In September 2011, a short, petite woman told police a man in a white pickup truck exposed himself to her while she rode her bike in Franklin. She worried he thought she was a child because of her small build, court documents said. She identified Wagers.
In 2014, a Department of Natural Resources officer arrested Wagers when he saw Wagers exposing himself in a park in Bartholomew County.
Wagers is charged in two pending cases in Marion and Johnson counties. Wagers is accused of exposing himself to four different women at different times and locations between Aug. 13-17 last year. A third pending case filed in September in Johnson County accuses him of indecent exposure.
Yet a specific connection between Wagers and the Spierer investigation hasn’t been made by police. Police have not said what spurred them to search properties connected to Wagers.
Doug Wagers said investigators also searched his Trafalgar property, scouring his land with police dogs.
“They thanked me for my cooperation,” Doug Wagers said. “That was it.”
Wagers now worries for his son once he is released from jail, as his name is now connected with that of Spierer.
“How is he going to find a job?” Wagers said. “The seeds are planted in people’s minds.”
Contributing: Mark Alesia, The Indianapolis Star; The Associated Press