Friday, May 23, 2008

New Photos In Smiley Face Killers Mystery

(The drainage tunnels near where Abel Bolanos died in March 2007 contain several distinct graffiti tags, including two "Smiley Faces," in a monkey's nose and in the letter "D," but nothing about the symbols was overtly referential to Bolanos or any of the other drownings.)

'Smiley Face' detectives investigated Bolanos' death; Local officials and FBI dismiss the serial killer theory
By Luke Jennett , Staff Writer

The drainage tunnels near where Abel Bolanos died in March 2007 contain several distinct graffiti tags, including two “Smiley Faces,” in a monkey’s nose and in the letter “D,” but nothing about the symbols was overtly referential to Bolanos or any of the other drownings.
A group of retired detectives and academics who have suggested that 40 drowning deaths in 11 states are the work of a group of serial killers had previously been in Ames investigating the death of Abel Bolanos.

Bolanos drowned in March 2007 in Lake LaVerne on the Iowa State University campus. Reports say Bolanos was last seen at a party on North Hyland Avenue on March 31, which he left at 4 a.m. He was found April 3 by a dive team after a three-day search.

It's unknown whether Bolanos is one of the 40 names on the list of supposed drownings the group claims are "clearly homicides and linked to each other," according to a press release. However, according to ISU's Department of Public Safety Police Division, the same group was in town a few weeks ago to speak with a patrol supervisor about the case, which one of them last year told The Tribune fit the profile of the supposed serial killings.

Local police and county officials have rejected the idea Bolanos' death was anything but an accidental drowning and say the group has never spoken to the local investigator in charge of the case or seen any of the primary investigative materials collected by police.

On Monday, the group, "Nationwide Investigations," appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" and held a press conference in New York City with several of the victim's families, asking for help from the FBI to investigate the suspected murders.

The group's theory is that a gang of organized killers murder college-aged men and stage drownings to avoid capture. The group recently announced it believes the alleged gang leaves graffiti tags near the locations of the bodies, often a "Smiley Face" insignia.

The drainage tunnels near where Bolanos died contain several distinct graffiti tags, including two "Smiley Faces," but nothing about the symbols was overtly referential to Bolanos or any of the other drownings.

Following the Nationwide Investigations media appearances this week, the FBI issued a press release saying its investigators had reviewed the evidence presented by the group and not found anything connecting the deaths or indicating the involvement of a serial killer or killers.

Nationwide Investigations is made up of two former New York Police Department detectives, Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte; a professor from St. Cloud State University, Lee Gilbertson; and a graduate student from the same college, Adam Carlson. The group has claimed to have uncovered evidence connecting 40 alleged accidental drownings in 11 states. It reportedly has asked the FBI to investigate the matter.

Bolanos is thought to have drowned while highly intoxicated - a trait the group says is common among all the victims.

Abel Bolanos' sister, Marivelle Bolanos, said she has never spoken to any of the investigators but has heard about the story on television. However, the family does believe there are unanswered questions related to Abel Bolanos' death and has offered a reward for information about the case.

Marivelle Bolanos said she plans to contact the investigators in the future and would like to donate money to their investigation. News reports mentioned that the group had "run out of money," after financing the investigation itself.

"I was just making notes yesterday of the things we still have questions on," she said. "We are not 100 percent sure of what happened."

From a police perspective, however, the case has been closed on Bolanos' death. Gene Deisinger, the ISU police captain who acted as the case agent in charge of investigating the incident, said the evidence in the case points firmly to an accidental drowning, a conclusion based upon the results of the state medical examiner's investigation.

"You always have to be driven by the evidence in a case like this, and it was the observation of those of us in investigations that worked the case that there was nothing about the situation or Abel's body that indicated that he died as a result of an intentional attack," Deisinger said. "I cannot say that he was not assaulted. I can only say that there was no evidence to indicate that he was assaulted."

Moreover, Deisinger said, if the group had investigated Bolanos' death, it had done so without speaking to him or reviewing any of the primary investigation materials. And if it had uncovered any gang signs or tags connecting Bolanos' death to the others, it hadn't shared them with police.

Story County Attorney Stephen Holmes said he also was aware of the group's theory and had heard it as connected to Bolanos' death, but had dismissed it as nothing more than a stretch for sensationalism's sake.

"I think it's terrible to tout this kind of thing," he said. "To me, this is junk science or sensationalism. It's not real police work."

A Tribune reporter accompanied the group around Ames last summer was it knocked on doors, walked the path around Lake LaVerne and even entered a drainage pipe to look for strange tags or symbols. At the time, Gilbertson was quoted as saying Bolanos was a perfect fit for the profile of a victim of the alleged serial killer group.

According to Tribune reports, the two detectives spent more than an hour in the drainage tunnels near Lake LaVerne searching for tags.

Phone calls and e-mail messages to the group this week have not been returned.

Luke Jennett can be reached at 232-2161, Ext. 343, or

(this picture was also taken, by one of the investigators, at the same scene in the same tunnel)


BoyintheMachine said...

FYI: The Monkey is giving 'The Shocker', a sexualy obscene hand sign. (although the back of the hand is usualy facing the viewer).

The smiley face symbols are hidden in the monkey, something I don't think the killers would do. They don't need to hide a smiley if the sign is openly displayed.

Now, due to publicity, I would expect that if there was a gang using the smiley symbol for murders then they just might start to hide the symbol in elaborate drawings, like the monkey.

As per the second pic, is it 'ACllD'? The weathering would indicate age, unless the surface just wasn't sufficient to hold the pigment.

Thanks for posting these.

I wonder if the blog owner or anyone reading this, knows of the guy on youtube who is uploading clips of 'graffiti' supposedly taken from the death sites, as well as coming up with wild, convuluted meanings for it involving Superman, CSI, and other tv shows. Weird. I don't believe him, but was wondering if anybody saw this graffiti in the area or if he is simply making it up.

Anonymous said...

The graffiti is real.11 seems to be a clue the killer is leaving behind.AC could stand for Albert Campbell.What the D would be I don't know.Albert Campbell I believe was last seen at the address of 11 .A quote was left behind from scene 11 of a movie at one location.

BoyintheMachine said...

Duh! It just dawned on me what this was...

ACIID = Acid (but w/ 2 'I's)

I googled it and there is a forum for hackers called Aciid.

There are also several people using the screen name of 'aciid'.


Tenneguy said...

The superman related names are probably not related.That theory does not look suspicious at this point for 2 reasons.Some superman related names are common.There does seem to be a religious pattern which would make it look like a superman pattern.-Cain and Abel.Cain and Abel were brothers and several young men were at a Brothers bar.Abel Bolanos and Kaneakua disappeared less than one month apart.Soumakis was at a conference for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners .Notice the first letters .DEC can be related to at least 2 disappearances(Josh Szostak)(Brian Carrick).We know for a fact Carrick was murdered. The double slash was left at several locations so the CSI theory is a very good one because of the similarity to episode 11 to the murder of Brian Carrick.I believe if we keep at it we can establish what is and is not coincidence.Bashing theories and bitch about the quality of someones youtube video like Boy In The Machine gets us no where.BTW I don't think it was no coincidence that after bashing me on Youtube someone was rating not only my youtube video down they also found me at Yoosing and rated me down there.

Anonymous said...

A Maine Maritime student drowned after leaving a party a while back. I wonder if there was any smiley face graffiti left from where he supposedly went missing. ..