Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Smiley Face Gang - Serial Killers?

Detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte have been tracking the suspicious drowning deaths of young men across the country ever since they investigated the death of fellow New Yorker (and college student) Patrick McNeill, who drowned in 1997. Gannon made a promise to McNeill's parents that he would never give up on his case.

The Sope-Bocks has already uncovered a couple more names that may or may not be on detectives Gannon and Duarte's list: Robert Barrington Leigh (University of Toronto) and Scott Javins (University of Indiana). Both young men drowned under what some might consider suspicious circumstances -- their deaths attributed to drunken student accidents.

In fact, most of the cause of death reports have been officially ruled "undetermined" or "drowning". A few similarities may link all 40 deaths:
  • Male
  • Late teens or early 20's in age
  • College student
  • Good grades
  • Ventured out alone
  • Almost all are white
  • Most were athletic
  • Alcohol served to victim or at location where last seen
  • And last, but not least, all were close to a body of water
One more apparent link is a strange "smiley face" painted or markered at or very near the sight where several victims died. The detectives found the smiley faces in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.

I have also learned that Gannon & Duarte suspect the serial killers are either a gang or trying to manipulate evidence in order to look like a gang. Nicknames of gang members and at least once street name (Sinsiniwa) have also been found at multiple "drowning" sites.

While some folks are already writing the story off as mere speculation, I'm not prepared to do so just yet. There is one thing (thus far) that leads me to wonder whether any connection between the deaths exists -- serial killers are not gangs. If the cases are linked, there is at least one instance of two young men meeting their doom on the same night, in different cities. That would require at least two people -- maybe a minimum of four.

We're investigating and will continue to report as we learn more.


Anonymous said...

The chance of someone wandering off drunk in the middle of NYC and ending up in the river is EXTREMELY remote.

This also reminded some people of this case, although it may not fit the profile:


Anonymous said...

Im just throwing this out there, but I was watching the movie "Fight Club" the other night, and there is a prominent smiley face thats shown when a band of young guys joined by a need to create chaos in local city, start burning buildings in the movie, and create a smily face as a result. They used the term Project Mayhem, I believe, which feels allot like what these murders are about. But Im wondering if the people that actually died in these locations volunteered to fight and joined these clubs, and either were killed by the group later for mentioning it or found drunk and forced to fight as unwilling new initiates. In the process they died, and their bodies abandoned. The fact that all of them fit the age and sex and same disposal follows that theory. In the movie, one of the leaders almost kills another kid. Also, all new initiates have to fight. So, its likely these were new initaites that died.....or like I said, people who narked on the club, which is a big no-no. There are now known fight clubs in Calif to support this theory. It would seem plausible that these super secret college-based or tech-based underground clubs are run by a loosely connected band of people and young college kids or ex college kids who secretly prompt others to join, and in some fights, obviously got killed, and the bodies dumped in waterways to high evidence? Any bruising on the bodies would indicate a fight light this occurred. If I was a detective, I would look for hand injuries and bruising on the face, then delve into the local college fraternities to tract down these secret members, if they exist. Its also possible these kids were picked up off the street and forced to fight, and died, being drink, etc. That would mean its an older core of a previous fight club that is so lost without members, its only attempt left to carry on the club is for the last members to pick up some unwilling student, beat them to death, then dump the body. But that wouldnt make sense if it was widespeard, so I think its active Fight clubs on campus. Who knows, so this is just a wild idea. But when I saw that movie and realized the crime evidence, it certainly seems plausible. Again, these are super secret clubs so very hard to identify, I would bet.

Anonymous said...

Not trying to be mean, but Scott Javins went to Indiana STATE University in Terre Haute, not IU in Bloomington. There has been a second strange disappearance/drowning this week of a male Indiana State student named Gerald Smith.