Investigators searched the property of a man local police arrested last year in a string of flashing cases as part of an ongoing investigation into a missing Indiana University student.
The Morgan County property was the last known address of Justin Matthew Wagers, 35, who was arrested last year on charges of indecent exposure. He has been held in the Johnson County jail since then.
Police also searched a property in Trafalgar, but no information was available on what property was searched. Wagers owns property off S. County Road 300W, about 2 miles south of Indian Creek High School, according to county property records.
Bloomington police confirmed they had been in Morgan County in connection with the ongoing investigation into the 2011 disappearance of IU student Lauren Spierer. And FBI officials confirmed agents helped in this week’s searches.
“No other information will be released other than this confirmation that the Bloomington Police Department was the agency involved in Morgan County as previously reported by various media outlets,” Bloomington Police Deputy Chief Joe Qualters said in a news release.
FBI spokeswoman Wendy Osborne confirmed federal agents assisted Bloomington police in following up on leads in Morgan County in the disappearance of Spierer. Bloomington police led the effort, she said.
Spierer vanished after a night of partying in Bloomington. She hasn’t been seen since about 4:30 a.m. Friday, June 3, 2011. Spierer was 20 at the time she went missing.
On Thursday morning, police searched the property at 2980 Old Morgantown Road, east of Martinsville, which was Wagers’ last known address. They used two dogs to search the house, a barn, the yard and adjacent wooded area of the property. Investigators focused on the barn area, attempted to get on the roof, laid out blue tarps and dug in the soil.
An attorney for Wagers said the search was connected to the Spierer investigation.
In a statement, Wagers’ attorney Chris Eskew said, “Mr. Wagers has no knowledge regarding the disappearance of Lauren Spierer or any other missing person. The family has no further comment at this time and asks that the media respect their privacy.”
A two-door, white Dodge Dakota Sport truck with front-end damage and a blue camper shell was removed from the property.
A similar truck was described by Johnson County residents when they reported a man had exposed himself to them last year. Wagers was arrested in that case and has since been charged with four counts of public indecency with a prior conviction.
Last summer, police received multiple reports in Franklin, Edinburgh, Greenwood, Nineveh and the Center Grove area of a man in a white truck exposing himself to women and children in parking lots and neighborhood streets. Wagers was arrested after at least one woman identified him as the man who exposed himself in her Center Grove area neighborhood.
Wagers, who is listed on the sex offender registry, has a lengthy criminal history of similar charges and convictions, including public indecency and indecent exposure, that go back more than 10 years in central Indiana. He previously was arrested and convicted on charges including public indecency, intimidation and vicarious sexual gratification in Brown, Morgan, Monroe, Bartholomew and Johnson counties, according to court and prison records.
In Johnson County, he was arrested and convicted in 2001 and 2003 and again in 2011 after a woman reported that Wagers exposed himself to her while she was riding her bike in downtown Franklin on a weekday morning. Shortly after, police found Wagers’ truck parked at the courthouse, and the woman identified both him and the truck. He served more than a year in prison.
WISH-TV and the (Bloomington) Herald-Times contributed to this report.