Minnesota’s ‘Smiley Face Killer’ Theory
It's a strange phenomenon, white college-age men go missing for days, sometimes weeks, only to be found downed in a body of water somewhere after a night at the bar. Most of the deaths happen along Interstate 94 stretching from Minnesota to New York since the late 1990's. What's even more interesting is, according to CNN, about a dozen of these deaths are all connected by the same symbol--a smiley face found drawn near where the victims were killed.
According to Bustle, a pair of New York City detectives first developed the "Smiley Face Killer" theory in the 2000's which has been subject to criticism over the years. Critics of the theory think the drownings are nothing more than drunk college kids falling into the river in their drunken stupor.
What's strange is that it seems to only happen to white, college-age men in the Midwest. You'd think similar occurrences would happen in southern states that also have access to oceans, rivers and lakes--but, that's not the case. We aren't talking about a handful of drowning deaths either. More than 40 similar cases have been reported in a 20 year span along I-94.
Eugene Kane with On Milwaukee wrote an opinion article in 2013 where he states, "Years ago, black and Hispanic men of a certain background started disappearing from the lives of their families and friends but nobody paid attention until it was too late. That killer's name was Jeffrey Dahmer."
If you look up the theory on CNN's transcripts with Larry King Live, in March 2009, Lee Gilbertson, who was a criminal justice faculty member at St. Cloud State University at the time, talked about how he fully buys into the theory and thinks it's legit.
So, is there really a serial killer on the loose targeting white college-age men in the upper Midwest? That depends on who you ask. Is it possible? Certainly.
(CNN, Bustle, On Milawaukee)