Sunday, May 18, 2008

KRISTI PIEHL: 'Smiley Face Killers' Update

Kristi Piehl - Investigative Reporter

Since our investigation into the Smiley Face Killers aired, I've gotten hundreds of emails.

First of all, thanks for your interest and all the gratitude and support you've offered. I've forwarded dozens of emails to parents of the young men who drowned and to the retired NY detectives.

Many of you are wondering what is happening in the case now?

The detectives are following up on the leads they've received since this story broke. They got new evidence and new contacts. All the information they've received from the public is energizing their investigation.

They're working with Pennsylvania detectives on the drowning of Tommy Booth. I've reported on this case and talked with his mother several times. The detectives in Pennsylvania are interested in working with Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte. After our story aired on Good Morning America, the detectives in PA found a smiley face on the building where Booth was last seen. Gannon will meet with them soon. Booth's mom is hopeful this will bring her answers.

According to Rep. Sensenbrenner's office, the FBI has not responded to the request to reopen all the drowning cases.

Gannon and Duarte have much more evidence that they aren't reporting. They say that the smiley faces are just one kind of graffiti they've found. People often ask why they aren't releasing everything they've got. They think it could tarnish any possible criminal case. Their goal is to get people arrested. Kevin Gannon promised the parents of the victims that will happen and he's working 6 days a week to make sure that happens.

Check back here for more updates.
(Kristi's latest update from Coast to Coast AM. Her interview starts at 01:18)


Anonymous said...

a highschool friend of mine named Lon Dowdle, drowned, supposedly after a night of drinking. he was found on the banks of a river that separates ky and ohio. i have no idea if there was a smiley face. the police won't tell me anything. do you have a way of finding out?


Anonymous said...

there is a serial killer out ther that smiles at the law. why because the smiley killer is a L.E.O.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

contact me

Anonymous said...

Another missing male college student...

KROC News Talk
AM 1340
Metro News
Police are asking the public's help in locating a St. Thomas freshman who disappeared early yesterday. Authorities say 18-year-old Dan Zamlen, of Eveleth, was talking to a friend at about 3 a.m. and the line went dead. Family and friends say they believe he was near St. Claire Avenue and the Mississippi River in St. Paul when he went missing. St. Thomas spokesperson Jim Winterer says he is a Type One diabetic and may need medical attention.

Anonymous said...

Dan Zamlen
The night he vanished was a cold, slush/rain/ snow night, it was VERY dark, he was walking on a SIDEWALK, even if he had to pee, he would have just had to turn around a bit, NOT had to walk to the bluff!
Something is so wrong here!

Anonymous said...

Yea, It fits everything;8 or so blocks away from I-94,A Half-moon, early April 2009 (fits in with the school year),& A nice night for a short-walk. But this time above all else, Was his chilling last words too whom-ever he was speaking with on the cellphone-
"Oh my Gosh, somebody Help"!
Words that will echo forever.

BatMan said...

This 'Smiley face Murder Club'-
Makes me recall the few yearz I spent driving Cab. An some of the stuff I hurd & scene. Where you
could see just how easy it could be
with all these drunken un-observant
colledge kids especially over their in St.Paul on Grand ave. St. Claire, Snelling corners ect.
That and a Knock-Out needle?

thegirl in Canada said...

Dear Mrs Piehl,
Although this case happened in Canada, my husband and I believe that it fits the profile. My husband's boss' son was a student at Western University in London, Ontario and was found in the Thames River on Campus however it was not classified a drowning as no water was found in his lungs.
If you would like fill details please feel free to contact us at

Anonymous said...

Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

In the western counties of the Republic of Ireland - Galway, Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Sligo, Donegal - there was a spate of drowning deaths around Christmastimes, early to mid part of this decade. The vast majority of the deaths were of inebriated young men. Some fit the profiles of the college age, high-potential American victims linked to the so-called Smiley-face deaths. But, some did not; they were young men who had lost their way on the way home, some who had money worries, some who had failed college, some with familial problems. Virtually all were ruled suicide: not long-planned suicide, but oportunistic, near-water (lake, river, sea-bay) decisions, fortified by alcohol, their minds freighted with the worries and expectations of the end-of-year Holiday season. General stresses and strains of life. So prevalent was it, that the mountain rescue teams in those counties admitted that most of their work was suicide body-recovery, and not lost mountaineers.

Anonymous said...

There was a 17/18 yo young man, still in high school in southern NY. He had parked his car across the road from an apartment complex where a friend lived.

He was seen crossing the road, going through the parking lot, and entering a hiking trail. He was not seen after that. His car was left unlocked. There is also a photo suggesting that in weeks prior to his disappearance, he had gone to a bar in NY with a special day known as Detention Thursday's.

There is definitely a pattern to these deaths. Any responsible detective, agent, or forensics specialist claiming otherwise is full of bureaucratic BS. This thing started on the East Coast and has moved steadily westward with a case in Washington state, with the greatest number of deaths occurring in the Midwest.

As for the FBI dropping interest in this, I seriously doubt it. A sentence caught my eye on the FBI BAU's involvement--"We will participate upon request of local authorities."

Then, I have a question. Is there any kind of an indication that the unknown subject(s) stalked the victims to learn their habits/routines?

Anonymous said...

AMES (KCCI) - A group of Iowa State University students met Thursday night to hold a candlelight vigil for missing student Jon Lacina, the Ames Tribune reported.

Lacina was last seen on Jan. 22 leaving a friend's apartment. His parent's reported him missing last Saturday.

So far from what I've read, all the victims were athletic and straight A students. Someone must have access to college records to get this information.

lydia slayer said...

In the late fall 2002 , I picked up my daughter from the UWEC to go back home to MN - it was during the time of the missing young men - and we noticed a huge smiley face on the river bank -made of rocks. We thought it was very strange seeing a smiley face when there were the young guys missing. That stuck in our heads all these years and wondered if that was connected to their disappearance.
It seemed very creepy -then in 2008 when I heard about this on a radio station we remembered the weird symbol along the river bank in Eau Claire - has anyone else ever mentioned seeing this back then ?

Anonymous said...

If you were serious about wanting the public's help in solving this issue, you would change the color scheme on your blog to enable easier reading.

Purple text with a black background might be cool looking, but it clearly makes the text really difficult to read easily.

Thats my tip for you.

Anonymous said...

Searchers find body near where missing student disappeared

By By The Associated Press

Posted: Feb. 16, 2010 6:00 p.m.

La Crosse - Searchers in La Crosse have pulled a body from the Mississippi River near where a college student disappeared a few days earlier.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that police have not confirmed the identity of the body, which was pulled from the river just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. But the spot is very close to where they believe Craig Meyers fell into the river early Sunday.

Meyers is a 21-year-old criminal justice student at Western Technical College and a former state champion wrester in West Salem. Police say security video from a business showed someone who looks like Meyers walking alone in the downtown area shortly before he disappeared.

A bloodhound had led searchers to the nearby river on Monday. Fire division chief Mike Jorgenson says there were areas of thin ice on the river not far from shore.

Anonymous said...
missing from Armstrong state in Savannah

Anonymous said...

I came in here to look for mention of Bryce Carter. He certainly fits the profile of the other victims. The police in Savannah GA where he disappeared are not taking this seriously AT ALL. They're not even really looking for a body. I should go look for a smiley face on the campus where he was last seen.

L. Nott said...

Breaking news Providence, RI. A young man disappears Sunday morning after leaving a bar in Providence.
News link:

Friends and family found his body Tuesday in the Woonasquatucket River. Providence police brushed off family pleas for help finding the young man.

Anonymous said...

In just several months ... at least 3 young men found in rivers in New England .. WHY isn't the LOCAL MEDIA in BOSTON covering this ???? so many colleges in Boston ...

Anonymous said...

I do not understand why Boston is not doing anything either!!!! Providence is only a half an hour from Boston, so that makes it 4 young men in a few months!

Anonymous said...

Some of my friends live in Austin, TX and have had a couple of smiley faces drawn on doors into their house. Also on a separate occasion someone broke into their house and rearranged their furniture into the shape of a smiley face, but nothing was stolen. Coincidentally they are all white male college students. Any other smiley face sightings in Austin, TX?

Anonymous said...

Kristi Piehl - You're Amazing - keep up the great work!

This is a college female "Gang" issue. These are college girls forming a collaboration with a vengeance on men. In some way they have been sexually assaulted by intoxicated males in college. Most likely as a result of date rate drugs. Date rape victims have no memory of what happened. Girls are feeling completely violated without knowing who do it. Date rape is always related to alcohol. Intoxicated males will be the target as a result. All the college girls across the united states are buying in. The satisfaction for these girls,is leaving a happy face "Tag" as their way of gaining satisfaction for the trauma they have endured. The problem is, others will buy into this, male and female students that are just psychology unstable, will look for the "Thrill of Vengeance" on anyone, for any event of insecurity they have endured as the result of a bully. Just a theory . If I can be of any assistance please let me know. I know you have it handled, but now that I'm aware, I will support you in your mission to stop this madness.