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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Social Chat > Shades of Whitechapel

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  #1  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:48 AM
Pinkerton Pinkerton is offline
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Default Possible Serial Killer in Midwest USA

There is a possible serial killer praying on college males in the mid-western U.S. There should be a story on it tonight on AC 360 on CNN. I remember hearing about this some time ago but I had only heard of the cases at University of LaCrosse in Wisconsin (I didn't realize the cases may have spanned 5 states).


http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/05/21/...ef=mpstoryview
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:09 AM
jmenges jmenges is offline
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Thanks for the link. It would be nice to see their map of suspected related cases, since I knew a person who "drowned" in a ditch back in 2005 after leaving a bar in Lawrence, Kansas.

JM
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:47 AM
Dan Norder Dan Norder is offline
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When I was in college in Wisconsin there were alcohol-related drowning deaths that were being discussed as possible victims of a serial killer even back then. This would be about a decade before the first of the cases that these people are now arguing are linked. At the time I thought it was likely that people were just unwilling to come to terms with an unfortunate side effect of irresponsible drinking. That could very well be the case here, especially with the whole concept of a drunk-drowning killer having been a part of the folklore for so long. Certainly smiley faces are one of the more common graffiti marks, so finding them nearby could be merely a coincidence. But then I don't know the full details behind the recent claims.
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:56 AM
jmenges jmenges is offline
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Apparently at one of the drowning sites in Michigan, besides a smiley face, the word "Sinsiniwa" was scrawled nearby. This turns out to be the name of a street in Dubuque, Iowa near the location of another 'smiley face' and drowning victim's death.

JM
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:37 AM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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Thanks Pinkerton. I'll try to check out that program before I form an opinion.

Were these crimes connected through VICAP? That was sort of its purpose I think. I suppose it could either further demonstrate its worth or expose a potential flaw in which case they might need to dial in a bit more filter.

Maybe they should also enter the data into the Canadian version, which I believe is called ViCLAS, to see what turns up.
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:59 AM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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Just saw the piece. Somewhat intriguing but I can't say I'm fully convinced. It would help if it wasn't such a ubiquitous symbol.
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:01 PM
kensei kensei is offline
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I've been following this case on the night time radio program "Coast to Coast AM," well known for discussing the paranormal, conspiracy theories, etc. (Trevor Marriott was even on once discussing Jack the Ripper!) They've said the possible 40 victims span 25 cities in 11 states from Washington to New York. I think one of them occurred in my city- Moorhead, Minnesota, which is on the opposite bank of the Red River from Fargo, North Dakota. A drunk college student (I would have to go and look up his name) disappeared after leaving a party a couple of years ago, and was found drowned in the river the next day. I remember thinking at the time how strange it was-- what reason would he have while walking home to go out of his way toward the river and then make his way down a difficult brush-covered slope to the water's edge? It didn't seem to have happened at a spot where there was easy access to the river. But it was ruled an accident, and I guess everyone just figured that drunk people do strange things.
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:45 PM
Pinkerton Pinkerton is offline
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Here's a link to the Crime Library story from a few years back. They only discuss five of the deaths in LaCrosse Wisconsin in this article.

http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_k...sin/index.html

I'm kind of on the fence with this one. Ordinarily I would dismiss this case in a second as a result of the typical frat-guy drinking culture. Not to mention that there doesn't appear to be a serial killer on record who drowns male victims. The closest case I can think of to this is Herb Baumeister who actually lived about 15 miles away from where I grew up. He would pick up gay men and engage in consensual erotic asphyxia. Only he would keep choking the men until they were dead.

However two things give me pause. First there is the happy face graffiti. It isn't clear to me HOW MANY of the victims had this graffiti located near where they are presumed to have drown. If it were say at least three of four, and this included a wide geographical area than I would say that is CERTAINLY suspicious. It appears to defy the odds of probability. If one were to pick out 9 other locations in the United States where a person was killed I seriously doubt you would find this many "happy face" graffiti symbols near the murder locations. On the other hand if its the case that there were two or three instances of such graffiti near the bodies and that they were actually a mile or two away, then I would say that these police officers may just be engaging in reading tea leaves.

The other thing that gives me pause is the case of numerous murders of prostitutes that took place in Vancouver some time back. Prostitutes would go missing and over the course of SEVERAL YEARS the police dismissed the notion of a serial killer. After all, prostitutes move, OD on drugs, get out of the business, etc. Low and behold it DID turn out to be a serial killer praying on these prostitutes (between 20-30 it is believed were killed by William Pickton). This "assumption" about the behavior of drunken frat guys reminds me of the assumption about the behavior of prostitutes.

I agree with you though Stan that I would need more information before I am convinced. I don't know whether or not various tools like VICAP have been used or not.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:07 PM
Dan Norder Dan Norder is offline
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Hi Jonathan,

I had read about the "Sinsiniwa" thing. It sounds suspicious, but without more information I don't know what to make of it. The name of one road (of possibly many) somewhere near one of the many assumed other incidents would be a kind of strange thing for a killer to leave at a site. It's also a kind of Juwes situation, in that we don't know when it was put there (it's ambiguous when the people with this theory even found it -- was it day of the crime or some later time), who put it there, if it was written down correctly, or what it would even mean. (But at least in this case I'm sure documentation for some of this does exist, even if it's not being shared with the public.) And clearly the various investigators are divided about its potential significance if the FBI and police don't buy into the theory.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:18 PM
jmenges jmenges is offline
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I'm on the fence as well since I find it hard to believe that a serial killing gang is in operation, and their symbols are variations on message board smiley face emoticons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkerton View Post
It isn't clear to me HOW MANY of the victims had this graffiti located near where they are presumed to have drown.
I've read that there were 22 out of 40 deaths that had a smiley face emoticon near the crime scene.

The drowning in the original link on this thread, Chris Jenkins (?) made the news a few years ago when a suspect was named Jaramy Alford. He apparently confessed to the murder to his girlfriend but the police don't have sufficient evidence to charge.

I missed the television program on this case so this might have been covered.

And to add, I found a map that has the drownings believed to be connected and my friend in the above mentioned post is not included.

JM

Last edited by jmenges : 05-22-2008 at 06:21 PM. Reason: And to add...
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