July 5, 2012 Special to Crime Magazine
An excerpt from The Case of the Drowning Men: Investigating the Smiley Face Serial Murder Theory by Eponymous Rox.
The police are calling them accidents. They say young men are simply drinking too much and meeting a tragic end in icy lakes and rivers. But, with sinister graffiti frequently found near where the victims died, the public thinks something else has been going on in America's northland since 1997. They're calling the sudden disappearances of hundreds of college-age men mysterious. They're calling the drownings murder.
by Eponymous Rox
Chapter 1: Dead Certain
Since the mid 1990’s, in the northernmost district of the United States where Interstates 90 and 94 merge to cut a scenic route toward the west, crossing nearly a dozen states along the way and skirting the border with Canada, scores of young men are vanishing every year without a trace. Only to turn up days, weeks, or months later in nearby bodies of water, dead.
Occurring mainly between the months of September to April, it’s the same story repeating itself every time, with little variation: A young man goes out for the evening with his friends, gets separated from them some time after midnight, and, despite massive search efforts by his loved ones to find out what became of him, is never seen alive again.
For local law enforcement officials the hunt for lost men over the past 15 years has become an all too familiar tale of woe as well, not the least because it’s costly and disruptive. But as far as police are concerned, even before they launch an investigation, even before a body’s been recovered from the water and an autopsy performed, it’s always a cut-and-dry case: “No signs of foul play.”
Young people are simply drinking too much, the authorities claim. Young people will do crazy and stupid things when they’re inebriated. They’ll even throw themselves into an icy river or lake and drown.
Seems a reasonable enough explanation on its face, if only one or two fatalities occurring every once in awhile, and a scenario that’s not totally impossible to imagine either. But by the hundreds?
And why only males then? All matching the same description? Washing up in places thoroughly searched before…?