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Sunday, November 18, 2012

10 tips for eluding the Smiley Face killers

The unexplained disappearance and *drowning* of 26-year-old David Gerken, after he was mysteriously evicted from the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park New York en route to the bathroom, is the classic 'Smiley Face Killer' motif.

Because there have now been hundreds of similar deaths, beginning with young Patrick McNeill's in 1997, and since there doesn't seem to be any end in sight to the carnage, it's time for those who match the standard victim profile in these cases to learn how to avoid falling prey. Study the following fact sheet and tips carefully, and be safe.

SMILEY VICTIMOLOGY: Are you a popular, clean-cut, slim and athletic, college-age male, between 17 and 30, planning an evening out with your friends? Then pay close attention to the details of Gerken's disappearance and drowning, because your description--like his--is identical with approximately 95% of the Smiley Face victims:

David Gerken, 26, was just named 'Employee of the Month' at his workplace where he had risen to the rank of foreman. Responsible and well-liked, he was attending a Bills' game with his brother and a friend last Thursday. They report he drank only two beers while there, and hadn't been in any altercations with anyone, prior to being intercepted on his way to the men's room and ordered to leave the stadium.

Additionally, Gerken expected to go to work the very next day and under those circumstances he customarily wouldn't have engaged in heavy *drinking. This is important to note since, in nearly all of these cases, alcohol is ruled a major factor leading to "accidental drowning" whether or not any had been consumed. (*Toxicology tests will always show the presence of alcohol in dead bodies because it is a byproduct of decay, and is often accelerated in corpses that have been submersed for a period of time.)

Once Gerken had gone outdoors, he immediately called his brother to inform him he'd been forced to leave the premises and said he didn't know why. He then calmly arranged for the three to meet up again at the nearby Tailgaters bar after the game had ended.

That was the last anybody heard from him. The final GPS tracking signal on his cell phone was for a location two miles from the sports arena, and his body was ultimately discovered by family searchers floating face down in Smokes Creek--the opposite direction of Tailgaters and a destination that required scaling numerous obstacles to get at, as well as a tall fence. Police have tentatively ruled Gerken's death an accident.

SMLEY'S MODUS OPERANDI: A young man is separated from his friends somehow--usually asked to leave an establishment by management personnel, although he is not outwardly intoxicated. Once he's gone outside, typically he will cell-phone one or more from his party to explain the odd incident to them and to arrange for a meeting place. He then goes missing instead and is found drowned in a nearby river, lake, pond or stream, some days, weeks or months later. On occasion, as with 18-year-old pre-med student Colin Gillis from Tupper Lake NY last March, he is never seen or heard from again.

Police almost always determine NSOFP (no signs of foul play), sometimes well in advance of finding a body. In a few extreme cases, say when  a corpse was actually recovered weighted down with a chain and cinder block (e.g. Jonathan Dailey/October 2012), or showed other indications that the deceased didn't "fall" into the water naturally, then investigators will pursue a theory of suicide. It is also not uncommon for parents to be told by the authorities that their sons died as a result of auto-assassination (reckless behavior symptomatic of a death wish). 

KILLING SEASON: Annually, from the months of September to April. Once in awhile it may extend without interruption into late spring.

KILL ZONE: Maine to the Dakotas and all parts in between; now also reaching across the border into Canada as well as a few more southerly districts of the United States. Some metropolitan hotspots in the US kill zone include but are not limited to Boston, New York, Lacrosse, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee, but essentially any town or city in a state traversed by the east/west interstate highways of 90 and 94 is in the high risk area.

RUIN SMILEY'S DAY: Follow these tips to minimize the danger of vanishing into thin air one night and ending up another unsolved "drowned" statistic:

1. Buddy up at all times. Safety in numbers is the name of the game, before, during and after a night out on the town.

2. Scrap the hoodie attire. Too many people think it makes young men look like...well...hoods, quite frankly. And, considering the percentage of Smiley Face victims who were wearing this particular piece of apparel when they went missing, a hooded sweatshirt should be regarded as a significant liability. (Ditto for flip-flops, and any other type of shoe not suitable for running in.)

3. Watch what you're drinking--never drink from someone else's bottle or glass, especially if you don't know them. This includes any liquid whatsoever (or substance) being offered by a female you might've just met.

4. If you are asked to leave an establishment ... get all 10 TIPS IN ALL, PLUS SMILEY CASE SPOTLIGHTS, UPDATES & MORE HERE OR HERE & find a full forensic analysis of the famous 'Smiley Face Serial Murder Theory' in:THE CASE OF THE DROWNING MEN, illustrated or plain text eBook editions.

Download all 10 Tips for Eluding the Smiley Face Killers

Because you really can't see what you're not looking for.


  1. Search continues for missing Milwaukee man
    By Jan Uebelherr of the Journal Sentinel
    Jan. 2, 2013 8:48 a.m.
    Milwaukee police continue to search for 24-year-old Nick Wilcox, who was last seen leaving a downtown pub on New Year's Eve.

    Family and friends have joined the search for Wilcox, described as 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes.

    He was last seen outside the Irish Rec Room on N. Old World Third St. between 1 and 2 a.m.

    Anyone with information is asked to call police at (414) 935-7403.

    © 2013, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.

    1. This will not save you!

    2. Nick Wilcox - body found in river. http://www.jrn.com/tmj4/news/200538781.html

  2. OK--thanks--I'm on it right now and will separately blog this missing persons case tomorrow early A.M. (I'm at dinner at the moment, sorry.)

    There isn't a lot of info available on Nick or the events leading up to his disappearance--who is the man "wearing a red shirt" that he was allegedly seen leaving the pub with? Is this guy missing too?

    Also, check the water nearby ASAP, and separately search for Nick's cell phone as well. If you find that device, do not hand it over to anyone until you and family members have thoroughly analyzed the last messages he sent and received, together with related images files, if any.

    NOTE: When I post this case tomorrow morning then feel free to add updates plus any other info you have obtained during the interim in the comment section of that post. Others who regularly visit the weblog here will help in any way they can as well, but the more data you provide the better.

    Best of luck. Your loved one may still show up soon ALIVE, so don't get discouraged yet. If he does materialize tonight be sure to ping me again so I don't post a missing person alert for someone who is no longer missing!


    1. Sorry to enter this exchange so late (just found it). I am investigating a missing persons case here in Calgary, Alberta, that may fit with the Smiley Face killings. So let's keep in touch? BTW, any of these killings known in Canada?

  3. There are 2 young men from the Milwaukee metro that are now missing since last week.


  4. I live in upstate NY, and about 4 years ago, a young man in his 20's named Josh Stoszac, went missing i think it was around the Christmas holidays, and he fits the Smiley Face Killer type of victim, was at a bar with friends and left the bar went missing a day or 2 later they found his Cell Phone and a stolen truck by the Hudson River, they had Video from the bar that showed him in the bar ,and outside the bar by himself then nothing, dosen't show him leaving with anyone, they truck did not have his finger prints in or on it, because there theory was he stole the truck took it to the river and left the truck and went into the river, all his friends and family vemently denied that he would do this. approximatly 4 or 5 months later, he was found in the river about 20 miles south of the location of the truck and cell phone, where he was found on a tree nearby was a smiley face, the police atribute his death to accidental drowning there was alcohol in his system, the family did not buy the accidental drowning theory and neither does anyone else, the family even had Michael Baden a famous forensic pathologist do a second autopsy and he concluded accidental drowning, but we all still do not buy this conclussion, i personaaly think he was murdered by the Smiley Face Killer, I just find it so hard to believe, with all these victims the cops still think they are all accidental drownings, just to many with the same profile to all be accidental, my theory is, that there is a cult of Smiley Face Killers that are very under ground in the United States, that either they are leaving no clue's or that the police do have some leads on this, but are being extreemly closed mouth on this due to trying to get enough evidence to close in and make arrest?

    1. That's the problem you all think you're dealing with a human. This is no human people and you will never catch it because you don't even believe it exists.

    2. "This is no human people and you will never catch it because you don't even believe it exists." Please explain to us what you think it is - a spirit? an inter-dimensional being? Please email me at SFMBlog@aol.com if you can't write it here.

    3. Vampires, the bars these occurences happen are involved by extension in some manner

    4. Vampires, the bars these occurences happen are involved by extension in some manner

  5. @ Anonymous January 19th:

    Yes, I spotlight Szostak's troubling disappearance and death in THE CASE OF THE DROWNING MEN (click my name on this comment to find the discount text edition, if interested).

    Again, this is yet another case where the victim was systematically maligned by the local police department and characterized as a criminal even.

    Like you, I believe this young man was murdered too.

    By the way, I included in the book an image of that specific smiley face thought to have been left behind on a tree at the riverbank. Police claim Joshua's father--a retired arson investigator himself--put it there!

    (Disgraceful of them, IMHO.)


  6. Also if you have android, enable instant upload it will upload the photo/video to your account instantly in case of phone being lost/broken.

  7. Missoula, MT (along the I90 corridor) September 2011

    Authorities say 24-year-old Paul Michael Busch entered the river just east of the Cobblestone Apartments sometime Sunday, in an area that has a steep bank, deep water and a swift current.

    Police say Busch was swept down the river and died from drowning with a contributing factor of blunt force trauma to the head.


  8. Maybe you are already considering bothn of these?



  9. This is great advice and I've given it to all 3 of my boys. Especially #3 because if something is being slipped into drinks, everything else probably goes out the window. My youngest son knew Jack Culolias and it really hit close to home that this can happen to anyone's son.

    I think of all the beach drinking my friends and I did during the 80's yet nobody ever drowned. Something is definitely up with these river/canal drownings over the last decade.

  10. I'm glad, Victoria, and make sure your young men heed that advice too, because you're right, these disappearances and drownings weren't happening AT ALL, until fairly recently.

    That's why the FBI has had to take note of the phenomena once again. It's not just 40+ deaths, like the first time they looked into the case and abdicated their responsibilities. It's 200+ now...at least.

    Thank for visiting, reading and commenting--very much appreciated!


    1. Any known cases in Canada that could be linked to the Smiley Face killings?

    2. Any known cases in Canada that could be linked to the Smiley Face killings?

    3. @DarkWorld: Yes, plenty of Smiley disappearances and deaths in Canada. Start with Matt Huszar's 2011 case, since his body was finally found in 2014. Below are just a few of many victims in that country:

      Jo Grozelle in 2003
      Bob Leigh in 2006
      BradenAndersen 2009
      Matt Besner 2010
      Paul Foster 2010
      Matt Sloan 2011
      Matt LeClair 2012
      Ephraigm Flores 2015

      I think you inquired about the Canadian caseload before -- apologies for the delay but there are a lot of questions, comments and tips that come in on this site and sometimes I lose track!

      Thank you for visiting again. I'll probably devote a piece here soon to Canada's drown victims, as there isn't enough coverage of these.


  11. I didn't make much of it at the time and didn't until moving to Minnesota in 02 and met a high school friend of Chris Jenkins. When I was in college at MSU (east lansing) around October of 2000 I found somewhat blacked out and vomiting on the ground. My memory is pretty hazy but I had met a guy who wanted me to follow him to another party. We walked several blocks while I asked where we were going. At first I was expecting the TKE house but he said no. I asked if he was on the football team and he said no. He wouldn't say our destination. After those several blocks I decided I'd had enough partying and went home. In retrospect we were walking towards the red cedar river that cut across campus, near the TKE house before I went home. Made me scratch my head a bit...I fit the profile.

  12. And now another one - I know this boy personally.
    The difference here is there are witnesses who saw him fall or jump from the bridge.

    I went to the University of Iowa, a large BIG 10 campus that literally straddles the Iowa River. There are multiple foot paths that cross the river from one side of campus to another. Hundreds of students live in dorms on either side. The bars are on the east side. Most of the college athletes live on the west side. Frat parties on both sides. So literally thousands and thousands of drunk young men have crossed this river on their way home for decades, and NONE have just wandered in or fell in to the river.

    I don't have the answer, but something is afoot.

  13. I am listening to Mr. Bill Solstak on Coast to Coast AM with Ian Punnett right now. The Smiley Face murders are truly bizarre and they need to end. I have been drugged by strangers twice in my life and am lucky to be around to type this. My forte is the Tarot and if I get permission from my priest to delve into this labyrinth of fear and mystery I will post the results here. God Bless Them All.

  14. Heard the Coast to Coast interview with Bill Stoztak and DEA agent Kelly Snider on July 15, 2013. Snider said towards the very end of the segment that the number of cases is now 280! Also said he thinks there are four factions involved, and said he has names.

  15. It really baffles me at the way this whole thing is being handled almost as if these police departments are being made to give these reasons for these deaths or rather muders. They can't all be that inept or obtuse not to see the pattern here. Where are the news stories at that we usually see when something like this happens. Very disturbing behaviors by our law enforcement agencies.

    1. When hurrican Sandy hit the east coast a bunch of dead bodies, mostly prostitutes were discovered. have the police found that serial killer. No, they're too busy arresting lowlifes who have open conatiners of beer and in one case, shot a 17 yearold dead after he was flushing a dimebag down the toilet (his grandmother saw hm die) and there is video of the police breaking down a door to get to this 17 year old, without a warrant. Now if they put that kind of effort, then they'll find the killlers, but as i watch show like cops and I hear an officer tell the cameraman (you see those guys there, they're bad guys" and just drives on. Hey officer, since you know they're bad and up to no good, then go do your job and disperse them. Ofcourse the cops are always going to make excuses for the murders that are happening. They go after the easiest to catch, the lowlife abusing drugs, not stone cold killers, because that would be real police work and it's all about quotas, not justice for 200 + dead because of the smiley face killer.

  16. I stumbled on your site & began reading about the Smiley cases it made me recall a local news story here of an ASU student in Tempe 19 yr old Jack Culolias who went out with friends was kicked out of Cadellac Restaurant & Bar and was later found drowned in the Salt River here is a link if you don't already have him on your list please check into it: http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/20121219tempe-body-found-missing-asu-student-jack-culolias-confirmed-brk.html?nclick_check=1

  17. Look up Simon of Trent.

    I am a woman, living in Minneapolis. I was lured to a party in Northeast Minneapolis by a locally well known artist and had an experience that mirrors what these men went through. I am extremely observant and noticed people acting in concert as though they had done this many times before.

    I believe there is an art angle as not only were these boys last seen alive by rent a cops but many of these local bars are also known art bar hangouts

  18. http://www.jrn.com/tmj4/news/Family-friends-search-for-missing-man-258198881.html

  19. Saw this one in the news today. http://www.channel3000.com/news/body-found-in-yahara-river-early-saturday-idd/26730114
    19 years old of Madison, was found in the Yahara River near Squaw Bay at 3:08 a.m., officials said. Preliminary autopsy results indicate he died from an accidental drowning, according to a release from the Dane County Medical Examiner.

  20. Clearly there are multiple killers (the extensive geographic coverage and the duration of the killing)

    Kill zone and Killing season overlap with regular university schedule, suggesting that the killers follow the same schedule.

    Victims mostly white, and clean cut. Victims likely resemble their killers, that is why they didn't put up a fight, and why no one noticed anything.

    Conclusion: Killers: multiple perpetrators operating together, university age, white, clean cut, athletic build.

    Fraternity brothers. Brothers who slay together, stay together.

  21. On December 27, 2014, Ken Gruno disappeared from outside a bar in Otisville MI around 1 a.m. (near Flint, MI). 27 years old, college student, blonde hair, blue eyes. Still has not been found. Sounds somewhat similar to the cases noted above.

    1. He's been found. Dead in a pond.

  22. http://www.channel3000.com/news/Body-of-missing-23-year-old-found-in-Wisconsin-River/30993438

    Found another one

  23. Body Of 24-Year-Old Who Vanished In NYC Found In Hudson River

    David Dreher, of Cornwall, was last seen at a bar in Manhattan. His mother said he suffered from bipolar disorder and had recently switched medications, News 12 Westchester said.


  24. The fact nothing is done about these killers is just mind boggling to me.i commented on the SFK Facebook page and was warned by a true crime writer friend of mine that one of his LE sources warned him not to as the cult is very aware of efforts looking into them. Now, if they know this, why the hell is it always the same story, just the places and names change? At what point does incompetence become collusion?

  25. I think this almost happened to me. In 2009 I was in state college meeting friends at my college Penn State at a bar. The bouncer came up to me for no reason and told me someone was complaing that I was harassing people but I did not leave the bar area and was not drunk. I could not understand what the hell was going on. My cell phone was dead and my friends were dancing or talking to girls I can't remember exactly but I could not find them. You have to exit in a dark alley behind the buildings. When I walked down the alley there was a van with more than three guys in it. They tried to talk to me. I don't remember what they said exactly. I told them I would come back that I forgot my phone inside and had to go around the building and get it. I started jogging around the building and they followed me. I went around the corner and when they turned the corner I punched the one in the face and head butted the other and ran like hell. I got some distance from them I ran on campus and hid in some bushes and trees so I could see the road. Sure enough I saw them driving around campus. I thought they might be waiting for me to come out. So I just laid in the bushes all night with some rocks I had pulled out of the ground. It seemed aggressive for a robbery maybe they were trying to drowned me. I fit the profile perfectly.
    Also I originally went to penn state from 2000 to 2004 and I had a friend who was friends with Cindy Song. Cindy Song vanished from Penn State on Halloween night 2001. State college is a very isolated place and if some one dumped a body in river around there it may never be found.

  26. In 2012 a Harvard MBA drowned in the Old Port district of Portland, Maine. Fits the profile. Bright, and white. Gets kicked out of Ri-Ra Irish Pub, calls friends disoriented and found in water 3 days later. Several years before this a good friend of mine was walking home drunk just a few blocks away on "Munjoy Hill" and a man in a small pickup truck offered to give him a ride home. My friend is a very friendly kind of guy so accepted. Once he got into the truck the guy driving tried to slam my friend's face off the dashboard a couple times to knock him out, my friend managed to escape but man I wonder what would have happened to him if he did get knocked out.

    All the profilers like to mention how all the guys that drown are all star athletes, scholars etc, and they can't understand how this could happen to guys like that. To me, part of this makes perfect sense; when I was in high school the people that didn't drink or party were the jocks and bookworms. I on the other hand had a lot of experience partying BEFORE I went to college so knew my limits. I have seen many guys/gals who way overdid it because they finally had the freedom to do so, and ended up being drunken messes, or flunking out. My point is that some of this might be due to inexperience, or being too trusting.

  27. I just discovered your site and read through the comments...have you heard of the "Missing 411" disappearances? It seems there are similarities.

  28. was at bar in harvard square drunk during the day got special attention from this guy who worked at darpa, found me again later. got home though.

  29. just had another Boston kid age 23 found dead in charles river after leaving a celtics game alone. called an uber 3 times but never fully processed the pickup. Cell phone lasted pinged about two miles from the arena.