Episode 212: Smiley Face Killers: Urban Legend or Serial Killer(s)?

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we talk about a topic that is one part true-crime, one part serial killer, and one part conspiracy theory. What more could anyone ask!?! The topic: The Smiley Face Killers. In the year 2008, two retired New York police detectives (Frank Gannon and Anthony Duarte) claimed to have found a pattern surrounding over forty murders in the Northern United states. They noticed a pattern of young, college-aged men who were smart, athletic, and popular and were leaving bars alone only to have their bodies found in rivers, often as long as 2 months later.

What’s more strange is that they all take place on the I-94 Highway corridor of the Northern United States, in winter months, spread from 1997 until at least 2010. What’s even stranger is that many of the bodies are found near smiley face graffiti on the edge of the water, and many of them have the word Sinsiniwa found near the bodies as well. While at first, this theory of a single or a group of smiley face serial killers was not believed by experts, eventually, many forensic theorists started to agree with the theory of the Smiley Face Killers

Many claim that the statistical odds of this exact group of people dying in this exact way defies all chance of randomness and must be intentional. Many others argue that these are simple drunken drownings with nothing sinister about them. But, there are clues that make it hard to believe this to be a series of accidents. One victim, Patrick McNeal, for example has ligatures on his neck and insects on parts of his body that can only grow in dry, warm areas (not frozen rivers). McNeal also had skin that indicated he was in the water for a day or two, even though it had been two months since his disappearance.

Tommy Booth, Chris Jenkins, and Shane Montgomery had other oddities surrounding their disappearances and deaths. How were their bodies positioned in the rivers to indicate it wasn’t a drowning? What does the mysterious Sinsiniwa mean? Why are all the victims white? Does the graffiti of the smiley faces help prove the case or help to dismiss it? What do the victims’ families think about the two detectives who are investigating the Smiley Face Killers? Listen, laugh, learn.


Article Against the Theory: http://homicidecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Research-Brief-on-Smiley-Face-Murder-Theory-FINAL.pdf

Interesting Discussion of the Theory: http://www.psychologicalscience.com/psylaw/2010/02/smiley-face-killer-theory.html

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