Weeks after the abduction and murder of Joey LaBute -- and his staged river drowning -- Ohio police are still processing "a huge amount of information," but haven't IDd a single suspect.
And they're still convinced that 26-year-old Joseph 'Joey' Labute, rumored now to have been homosexual, wasn't the victim of a hate crime.
As the trail to his killer steadily grows cold, investigators announced this week they've "come across" new video from inside the restaurant where LaBute was last seen alive by family and friends before abruptly disappearing.
The footage shows him "on the dance floor" of the Union Cafe in Columbus center around midnight of March 5, 2016, and then, just "seven minutes" prior to vanishing from the establishment forever, exiting one of the restrooms.
It's not clear where that vital evidence has been all this time or how police finally obtained it. However, it doesn't seem to provide any clues as to why, and with whom, Joey LaBute went outdoors and subsequently died.
A coroner found no evidence whatsoever he had truly drowned and, in fact, ruled there was "a high probability" LaBute was "already dead" when he went into the Scioto River sometime last month.
A group of lawmen checking the riverbank for his body on March 31st coincidentally spotted it semi-submerged in a shallow section not far offshore.
Divers retrieved the corpse in "pretty good condition," suggesting that, whoever slew LaBute, and whatever their motive in doing so, they didn't dump him until well after an active search had all but ended.
Investigators hope the latest images from LaBute's last known location, once enlarged and forensically analyzed, will shed more light on who he was interacting with when he suddenly vanished without a trace.
Obviously the still unknown perpetrator/s themselves likewise had to be captured on security cameras that night, since America is by now a a full-fledged police state and the city of Columbus is no exception to such widespread privacy invasions.
Yet, despite all its traffic cams, license-plate readers, aerial drones, and numerous other clandestine methods of tracking the minute-to-minute movements of innocent citizens without probable cause or court-issued warrants, no images of LaBute's kidnapper and killer have ever surfaced...
Those following these so called Smiley Face Murders of course know that Joey Labute isn't the only young male to suspiciously go missing from a public place and later be found dead in a river, lake, pond, stream or reservoir. And he probably won't be the last.
But his bogus cold-water death this season stands out as one of only a few in the decades-long Case of the Drowning Men which wasn't whitewashed by officials as a drunken "accident."
Anybody who can help solve the LaBute abduction, homicide and attempted cover-up during March of 2016 is urged to contact the Columbus Police Department at (614) 645-4545.