There are numerous victims out there who are found and it’s unexplained why they died, when, or by who. Sometimes investigators get lucky and a lead breaks and they solve the case. Providing closure for families and helping put murderers away. But then there are those cases that don’t get those lucky breaks. Victims remain unidentified, killers walk free, and families are left without answers. Today is a case that is unanswered.
Originally the cases were described as drowning while inebriated. Simply put, approximately 45 college-age men were out drinking, and left the bar drunk, afterwards their bodies were found in the surrounding water. They weren’t linked, and still aren’t officially. In 2017, two retired detectives and a criminal justice professor began to examine the evidence further.
What has been determined is that the group named as the Smiley Face Killers is organized and well structured in major cities across the country. They drug, abduct, and hold their victims for a period of time before murdering them and placing them in water. Other law enforcement agencies and other experts are not on board with the theory, but let’s learn more about the theory that Kevin Gannon, Anthony Duarte, and Dr. Lee Gilbertson hypothesized.
There are five clues that are hard to discount whether you discredit the theory or not:
Smiley Face Symbols: Many of the locations were the victims were found had a smiley face near the body. The symbol is different colors, sizes, shapes, and some have horns. What Kevin Gannon believes, is that the group of killers is laughing at the investigators and that they are getting away with murder.
Presence of Drugs: It is believed that the victims were all drugged and abducted before they were murdered. They believe that the victims were given a substance that renders them unconscious and is undetected during an autopsy and toxicology report, such as the date rape drug, GHB. Other unexplained drugs were found in at least twho other cases.
Victim Profile: The majority of the victims were athletic, successful students, who were popular and well liked. It is believed by Gannon and Duarte, that the killers are were the opposite of the victims, unpopular, not smart, and unsuccessful. All of the victims disappeared after a night of drinking with friends, and were later found in water. Most of the victims were white.
State of the Remains: In many of the cases, the victims’ remains were inconsistent with the original conclusions. Originally it was believed they died from accidental/undetermined drowning. One of the victims had been missing for 40 days, and his body when found had minimal deterioration. Another victim was missing for 2 weeks and was found in a previously searched creek in full rigor mortis which normally dissipates after 24-36 hours after death.
Staging of the Remains: Gannon and Duarte believed that some of the victims appeared to be staged. One victim was found in a previously searched lake, three weeks after he had gone missing. His head and shoulders were sticking out of the water as if out for a swim. Another victim’s remains were found in the Mississippi River 4 months after he disappeared, was floating on his back with his arms crossed on his chest.
Whether there is or isn’t a serial killer targeting college age men, is still unknown, but based on some points of the theory, it’s possible.
Stay Curious my Friends!