Missing man James Brindley inexplicably vanished this month during a Christmas party at a pub in Stoke-on-Trent. Days later his corpse was fished out of a nearby canal.
Staffordshire Police said the 28-year-old's disappearance and death was now being treated as "unexplained" and that some of his personal items were also retrieved on the canal's towpath in the water-rescue team's search for him.
Brindley's disappearance from a downtown bar and his apparent cold-weather drowning is similar to many others confounding cops in the UK in recent years. Even Spain and France are beginning to see a similar pattern in their river districts.
Until then such cases -- dubbed the Smiley Face Murders -- had been a decades-old phenomenon largely limited to the United States and Canada, and particularly concentrated in the Great Lakes region where both Canada and the US share a border.
UK authorities are presently awaiting autopsy and toxicology results before listing a cause or manner of death for James Brindley.