Friday, May 02, 2008

Smiley Face Murders - Backlash from Pundits

Over the past few days, I find that several pundits are boldly proclaiming the theory that there is not a serial killer or gang of murderers on the loose in America's Midwest. These nay-sayers range from the layman to professional law enforcement officers. Some have vested interest in what side of the matter they call true. Their assertion -- the similarities in the deaths of 40+ young men is nothing more than a coincidence.

Being a layman, amateur sleuth, or whatever you want to call me takes the pressure off my career ego should I be wrong in the assertion that there is a Smiley Face Murder Club or a single serial killer murdering young men. If I end up being wrong, then that could be a good thing -- in terms of more lose of life and peace for many young men across the country.

Truthfully, my research and investigation is not even near complete. The vast mountain of data is overwhelming -- especially for someone who has to search dozens of resources in order to glean just a few bits of new data. I am not privy to police nor Nationwide Investigations internal documentation on the cases being examined. Yet, it took me only an hour or so of reading to see what I believe is a clear picture of serial killings.

Yes, I do believe in coincidence -- on a large and sometimes profound scale. I'm prepared to say many things could be a coincidence. For purposes of my lay investigation, I'll even concede that the smiley faces found at 12 sites *could* be NOTHING more than coincidence -- graffiti from locals. However, the order of magnitude of coincidence that would be demanded from documented similarities in the deaths of 40 or more young men is an idea I am not prepared to accept.

Without going into the information deeper than most have read in newspapers, blogs, etc., allow me provide the reader with data that individually could easily be written off as coincidence -- BUT, as a whole, is extremely hard to ignore.

1) ALL 40+ are male
2) ALL 40+ between the ages of 17 and 28
3) Vast majority are Caucasian
4) Almost all of the 40+ were college students
5) Almost all had been drinking
6) ALL of the 40+ dead were out on the town, for a social occasion
7) Almost all left friends/family and ventured out alone
8) Almost all went missing during the months when college classes were in session
9) ALL of the 40+ went missing during the late night hours
10) ALL, who have been found, were found in or very near bodies of water
11) None, who have been found, had major trauma to their bodies (GSWs, cuts, abrasions, bruises)
12) None were robbed of anything obvious
13) Most of the autopsy reports show cause of death as "drowning"
14) None showed evidence of struggle, which should be apparent, in a "normal" drowning accident

I'm sure there are more things that could be listed. I'm also sure that some pundits will take issue with the "almost all..." items. Fine... but let's not ignore the overall picture. If I were to write these facts out in a paragraph, it would make a compelling argument AGAINST coincidence and FOR the idea that the deaths of these young people are related. Let's see how such an argument might look -- complete with a few admitted generalizations:
Between 1997 and 2008, forty or more young, white, male college students have died (or gone missing) during the college calendar year. These young men had gone out for a social event -- most to party with friends. They left friends and/or family and struck out on their own during the late night or early morning hours -- but never made it home. Some have never been found. Of those who have, their lifeless bodies were pulled from Midwest rivers or lakes. The cause of death for each case is listed as "drowning" or "undetermined". Signs of obvious trauma were lacking and most of the dead had very little or no water in their lungs (as would be expected from drowning). Foul play is not obvious in ANY of the deaths. All of the young men were athletic and healthy. Are these deaths all just one big coincidence? Or, something else?
I submit that as data is compiled, more similarities will be gleaned. Even if the Smiley Face Gang is nothing more than the imagination of media and bloggers, something is wrong with the idea that we're looking at a huge, unfortunate coincidence. Let's not forget that detectives Gannon and Duarte, along with Dr. Gilbertson and Adam Carlson have holdback evidence and other information linking the cases together. Smiley faces were one piece of that evidence. We now know others (informants, witnesses, possible nickname graffiti). Even without knowing the full scope of the holdback, it is my opinion that these investigators are onto the truth -- there is a serial killer or group of serial killers taking the lives of young men. They need to be stopped -- and brought to justice.

What are YOUR thoughts?


Lance said...

Thanks for the additional information and your particular slant on this tragic story. Please update the information as you get it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that people are finally listening. My cousin, Tommy Booth, disappeared Jan 19th of this year, and his body was found 3 weeks later in Ridley Creek behind the bar. After this story broke, local detectives went back to the bar and guess what?? Yep, on the wall of the bar, under the bar's deck, was a row of graffiti with a smiley face in the middle. Last night, it was the top story on our local 11pm ABC news ( Luckily for our family, the detective working on my cousin's case has already contacted those NYC detectives about the similarities in Tommy's case. All the things you listed hold true for Tommy, with the exception of being a student -- though this bar is right next to Widner University (Ridley Township, PA). Thank you for sharing info on the story. The more people involved, the better. Though we are still grieving for Tommy, I hope that having a more recent case will provide detectives with some fresh leads.

Ben said...

I live near La Crosse, WI the place that's been hit with seven of the deaths these detectives are investigating, for this reason, I've been exposed to the theory of a serial killer, and the nay-sayers for about 10 years now, after 2 had been found in the river in a short amount of time.

As for me, the verdict is still out. Although the new evidence really swayed me toward the serial killer theory, I'd like to at least provide an opposing view point.

First of all, the fact that it's all men all out drinking, drunk, and all college aged. Here in La Crosse the blood alcohol content was at least .20 on the victims, and for most of them it was higher, these guys were very drunk, and that kind of binge drinking is MOSTLY a high school/college thing, of course, there are people in their 30s+ who drink that heavily, but statistics argue it's mainly the younger crowd.

Either way, the fact they were all intoxicated and out for a night on the town is central in the argument that there IS no serial killer. Picture this scenario... young college guy out for a night on the town, gets way too drunk, goes for a walk by the river to sober up(for instance there is a beautiful park in La Crosse by the river), and they need to vomit, lean over to do it in the river and fall in, there's not much hope to get out, as it would be difficult even for a sober person in many areas.

All men, all athletic. This is an easy coincidence as women are less likely to separate because of fears of date rape, and they're not going to walk down by the river as a group. Why all athletic? I couldn't answer that.

Those may not answer the questions in all the cases, for instance the one of Tommy Booth listed above, however it makes a coincidence more feasible, and I think everything should be covered before forming an opinion. Honestly, the idea of a serial killer is VERY realistic to me, I would like to reiterate that, but I just wanted to be devil's advocate.

sarah said...

If they were leaning over to vomit, I would imagine that would have been noted in the autopsy reports. Usually coroners can tell what physical things happened to the body just before death

Anonymous said...

ditjwacommon sense tells me this is not all coincedence. I grew up in La Crosse. I am in my fortys now. as a child my dad would take us for ice cream and we would lock the car door and drive through downtown when the hells angel were in town. La Crosse had alot more bars then and hieleman brewery was still in its heyday. People in those years were also very messed up on a variety of drugs. I have read the Trane Co. theory on the undead Molly blog and it makes some sense to me. but why go that far who needs air conditioning refridgerant when we are in a time of GHB usage (date rape drug). This could explin the lack of water in the young mens lungs. I spent several nights downtown La Crosse when I was younger even frequented many of the same places these young men were last seen in. I have tried to invision these bars at closing time. this is a possible scenario. People are packed into these bars the bathrooms are usually in the back. It can take 15 to 20 minutes to work your way back to the bathroom. men usually dont go in pairs like women do. they exit from their group start manking the trip. While waiting they run into some nice looking young women. he either sets his drink down to go in or she greets him with a fresh beer on the way out. He never makes it back up to the front of the bar because they start to small talk while something like GHB or fentanly are taking effect. In 20 minutes or so he appears to become more intoxicated. they exit out the back door. he passes out in a vehical and is at the mercy of a group of killers.....

Anonymous said...

bars are just awful, anyway. they are dirty, loud, and i do like beer, but two maximum is fine. i can do without gas or feeling pregnant in my belly. this comment offers nothing, i realize-- im just wasting time at work.

Dianna said...

All this is very disturbing, and I appreciate all the comments made by each of you. I would definitely lean toward the theory of a group of individuals (whether called a "gang" or "serial" group of killers). It seems that these bars (or all bars for that matter) should employ some type of bouncers to protect unsuspecting individuals from these types of murderers. I guess it would be nearly impossible, since when already in a bar, the drug given to an individual would not be obvious to the staff. I guess it is just not safe to go to the restroom, etc, without a friend to go along for protection (safety in numbers). I hope that something can happen to stop this horrible problem, and again I agree that it is foul play! Someone or some group of people are doing these murders. I agree that it is not just coincidence. No way are these incidences not prompted by some type of evil characters behind the hideous deeds to take these lives. If any of you fit the criteria, which has been displayed in the deaths, PLEASE be careful what you are doing! As a matter of fact, why not have some small parties at the home of a friend, whereas, all involved will be safe. Prepare for "stayovers" to ensure the safety of all involved. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Vermont policeman was incorrect that the graffiti was 2 years old.Things are not always as they appear.If someone simply added graffiti so it seemed to go with the graffiti already there it would go unnoticed.I also believe the graffiti in Iowa was intentionally made to look aged.