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Mothers of Hannah Wilson, Lauren Spierer, believe convicted murderer tied to other crimes

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The mother of murdered Indiana University student Hannah Wilson said she always had a feeling that her daughter’s killer was likely linked to other crimes.

“It’s not like you can put some sort of measuring stick on that level of evil,” said Robin Wilson at her Fishers home Friday night, “It just didn’t seem plausible to me that was a first-time crime of that nature for a man of his age.”

Wilson officially learned Friday that her daughter’s convicted killer, now 51-year-old Daniel Messel, is now charged in the attempted rape of another IU student from 2012.

Prosecutors in Monroe County filed attempted rape, criminal deviate conduct, criminal confinement, theft, and battery resulting in bodily injury charges against Daniel Messel on Friday. Messel is already serving 80 years in prison for killing Hannah Wilson.

The new charges implicate Messel in an attempted rape of a woman in a case from September of 2012. The victim at the time was a first-year law student, who was 22 years old.

That young woman went to police in August of 2016 after hearing about the Wilson murder trial, believing that her attack was similar.

She told police in 2012 that she ended up in a car with a man out drinking but soon, “felt an icy presence, felt fear in her chest, and sensed that something was wrong.”

The victim said the man sexually assaulted her and punched her. She fought back though, and the suspect drove away. Investigators in 2012 found DNA underneath her fingernails.

Months ago, they compared that DNA to Daniel Messel’s, and Indiana State Police concluded that it was a match.

It was a mother’s instinct proved true.

“Always having suspicion and then having it confirmed was a little overwhelming,” said Wilson, “It overwhelmed me. I was taken to that emotional place.”

Wilson now believes Hannah’s case could bring justice to others.

“She really wanted to help people. As much as she wasn’t able to complete any life’s mission and help people in life, perhaps in death she can still do that,” she said.

Hannah Wilson, 22, was found dead in Brown County weeks before she was set to graduate from Indiana University back in April of 2015. Prosecutors believed Messel used a flashlight to beat Wilson to death. Wilson, too, had been out with friends drinking.

But Friday questions continued to swirl for the family of Lauren Spierer. She disappeared in June of 2011, also after a night of drinking in Bloomington. Her body has never been found.

“Charlene and I are two mothers who have bonded over an incredible tragedy and loss of our daughters,” said Wilson.

Robin Wilson and Charlene Spierer stay in close contact.

Both now wonder if Daniel Messel had something to do with Lauren’s disappearance.

“I do feel like there’s a possibility that Daniel Messel could’ve been involved in Lauren’s disappearance, you know, unfortunately, we don’t have any evidence, because we don’t have Lauren’s body. But now, this is the second case that’s very similar, seemingly, to what’s happened to Lauren,” said Charlene Spierer by phone on Friday.

Bloomington Police said Friday they have no updates on the Lauren Spierer investigation since their comments earlier this year on the five year anniversary of the young woman’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, attorneys for Daniel Messel on Friday filed an appeal to his conviction in the Hannah Wilson murder case.

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