Alexander Grant was a 19-year-old student at Boston College. Lauren Speirer was a 20-year-old college student at Indiana University. Both of them grew up within 15 minutes of where I live.
Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing they have in common.
On Saturday, March 5 of this year, Alexander Grant was spending part of his spring break visiting a friend at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. That night, after drinking beer and vodka at his friend’s dorm, Alexander went to a party but left around 11:00 p.m.
On Friday, June 3 of this year, Lauren Speirer spent the evening at her Bloomington, Indiana apartment then around midnight she went to a friend’s apartment and from there to a nearby bar at around 12:30 a.m.
Around 11:30 p.m. Alexander is seen on a surveillance camera near a train station, alone and staggering. He is then seen walking along the train tracks.
Around 2:45 a.m., after briefly returning to her apartment, Lauren is seen on a surveillance camera, walking barefoot in an alley with a male friend, heading toward another friend’s apartment.
Around 1:30 a.m. Alexander is seen smashing a window to get into a medical building. He is wearing only shorts, his shirt and one sock. He is bleeding heavily. After entering the building, he is seen staggering out minutes later. His Boston College student ID is later found near the door, leading police to speculate that he thought he was trying to enter his own dorm.
Around 4:15 a.m., according to eyewitnesses, Lauren left the friend’s apartment to return to her own. The friend tried to get her to stay, worried about her condition, but she declined. No surveillance footage documents her trip home. Evidence shows that she never returned to her apartment.
Alexander Grant was not reported missing until Sunday afternoon. His shoes and cell phone have never been found.
Lauren Speirer was not reported missing until later that Saturday, when her boyfriend, who had not been with her the previous night, called her cell phone and it was answered by the bartender at the bar where she had left it the previous night.
According to a police report, Alexander had a blood alcohol level of 0.16, twice the legal limit, as well as a trace of marijuana. Police believe the cause of death was a combination of intoxication and hypothermia.
Lauren Speirer has never been found. Rumors have circulated about cocaine use, which would have been dangerous due to her rare heart condition, Long QT Syndrome.
Authorities do not know much about what happened to Alexander Grant that night, because most of the people who were with him have hired attorneys. Authorities do not know much about what happened to Lauren Speirer that night, because most of the people who were with her have hired attorneys. Their silence keeps the parents in the dark about their child’s final hours.
There are different details to both stories, of course, but the similarities are haunting. I think back to my college days, and all the times I got drunk on a weekend. Why am I still here, at a middle age that Alexander Grant and Lauren Speirer will never see? Was I ultimately just a little more cautious than they were? Or was it just some cosmic luck of the draw?
I have two daughters, one now past her college years and one still in them. I am thankful that they seem to be repulsed by binge drinking and drug use. As Alexander Grant’s parents bury their son at an obscenely early age, and as Lauren Speirer’s parents hold onto a desperate hope that she will still turn up alive someday, I continue to thank my lucky stars.
And keep my fingers crossed.