Skip to Content

In the past ten years, the deaths of more than 40 men from twenty-five cities in eleven states have been ruled accidental, due to drowning. In most cases, the men were college students who had been bar-hopping and ended up in local lakes and rivers. One of those deaths has since been declared a homicide and two New York detectives are trying to prove that the other drowning deaths are related.

Former police detectives Anthony Duarte and Kevin Gannon have mounted their own investigation into the similarities between the death of University of Minnesota student Chris Jenkins, whose body was pulled from the Mississippi River in 2003, and the deaths of other men. The retired cops believe that a serial killer or gang, dubbed ‘Smiley Face’, has been responsible for attacking drunken men and dumping them into area bodies of water.

Smiley faces and other matching gang graffiti symbols have been found painted on sidewalks and trees near the sites of drownings in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa (see photos below).

The pair first looked into the death of Patrick McNeill, a college student who drowned in 1997 in NYC. They promised the teen’s parents that they would attempt to uncover evidence of foul play. As the suspicious cases have mounted, their resolve remains even stronger to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Check out photos and video below.