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Police investigate possible connection between Lauren Spierer, murder suspect

Bloomington police said a detective has been assigned to investigate whether the William Clyde Gibson case in New Albany could be linked to the missing student.

Amanda Rakes

11:50 AM CDT, May 3, 2012

New Albany

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The Bloomington Police Department said they are investigating if a man accused of murdering several women in southern Indiana is linked to missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer.

Bloomington police said a detective has been assigned to investigate whether the William Clyde Gibson case in New Albany could be linked to the missing student. 

Gibson is a convicted sex offender who police said is connected to the deaths of three women. 

Last week, authorities dug up human remains in Gibson’s backyard, where the remains of a missing 35-year-old woman were found.  Gibson is already behind bars in connection with the deaths of two other women, 75-year-old Christine Whitis and 44-year-old Karen Hodella.   

Gibson has a criminal record, dating back more than 20 years ago, when he was arrested for attacking a young woman.  According to a police report, Gibson sexually assaulted a woman in 1991.  After the attack, Gibson was accused of punching her in the face, before taking off with her purse.  He pleaded guilty to sexual abuse and robbery.  Gibson was released from prison in 1999. 

Bloomington police said there is no indication there is a connection to Spierer’s case.  However, Captain Joe Qualters said their inquiry is “much like the inquiries we make on unidentified bodies that become known to us from other jurisdictions.” 

Bloomington police reached out to Illinois authorities in early April, after skeletal remains were discovered in a remote area of eastern Illinois. An autopsy revealed the remains were those of a man.

Spierer was last seen in the early morning hours of June 3, 11 months from Thursday.  She was last seen on surveillance video, walking home after a night out with friends. 

Captain Qualters released the following statement Thursday:

A detective from the Bloomington Police Department has been assigned to make an inquiry with investigators in New Albany regarding the Clyde Gibson case they are investigating. We view this as the responsible thing to do as part of our ongoing investigation and it is much like the inquiries we make on unidentified bodies that become known to us from other jurisdictions. We have no indication that there is any connection to Lauren's case, but we are certainly interested in anyone who comes to the attention of law enforcement for targeting women as victims. That is the sole purpose for the inquiry.