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Similarities probed in 2 disappearances

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Police in Bloomington say they have contacted authorities in Louisiana about their search for a college student whose disappearance has similarities to that of an Indiana University student who has been missing for nearly a year.

Spokesman Capt. Joe Qualters told the Herald Times that Bloomington police, who are investigating the June 3, 2011, disappearance of Lauren Spierer, have contacted Louisiana authorities who are searching for University of Louisiana student Michaela "Mickey" Shunick, missing since May 19.

Shunick, who vanished just a few days before her 22nd birthday, was last seen shortly before 2 a.m., when she left a friend's house in an area popular with college students in Lafayette, La., to go home. Her bicycle was found Sunday in a remote, swampy area under a highway bridge in Iberville Parish, about 25 miles from where she was last seen.

Spierer, 20, of Greenburgh, N.Y., disappeared after a night out with friends at a popular student hangout in downtown Bloomington. Both women are blonde and petite.



Ravaged by illness, woman able to speak

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- The father of a young Georgia woman battling a flesh-eating disease says his daughter has spoken for the first time since she was taken to an Augusta hospital weeks ago for treatment.

Andy Copeland said in an interview Monday that he was in church Sunday morning and missed his daughter Aimee's first words. But his other daughter, Paige, told him Aimee said, "Hello. Whoa. Wow, my mind is blown."

Aimee Copeland, 24, developed necrotizing fasciitis after cutting her leg in a May 1 fall from a homemade zip line over a west Georgia river. Her left leg, other foot and both hands have been amputated.