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Retired Detectives Say Gang Of Serial Killers Is Responsible For At Least 70 ‘Accidental’ Drownings

Smiley Face graffiti, like the ones found near where police say Dakota James plunged into the Ohio River. (Shutterstock/ gabriel12)
  • A workforce of retired police detectives and a gang skilled argue about 100 formally dominated unintentional deaths could be the work of a gang of serial killers referred to as The Smiley Face Killers.
  • The instances stretch from present day again to 1997 and contain alleged victims who have been white, college-aged males possessed of notable athletic and educational means and have been discovered lifeless in a physique of water, displaying alleged indicators of foul play. 
  • The FBI, native regulation enforcement businesses and the Middle for Murder Analysis have refuted the serial killer principle, however detectives say the presence of the date rape drug GHB in a few of the victims, ligature marks on no less than one physique and different proof exhibits in any other case. 

A staff of retired detectives believes a collection of deaths that authorities dominated unintentional is definitely the work of a classy gang of serial killers.

The retired detectives, a gaggle referred to as International Dying Investigations, have given the alleged group of killers a reputation, the smiley face killers, and say they could be answerable for about 100 deaths since 1997 throughout the U.S. authorities formally labeled as unintentional drownings. The deceased all bear comparable profiles: School-aged white males, athletic and clever, who by no means returned from an evening out consuming and whose our bodies have been later discovered both in a physique of water or washed up on shore. (RELATED: 78-Yr-Previous Assassin Who Might Be America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer Discovered Responsible In 1994 Chilly Case)

The retired detectives assert the alleged gang of killers function in cells throughout the nation that talk by way of the darkish net to recruit, select victims and manage the killings. Of these instances the detectives consider are related to the group, 70 of the alleged victims have been discovered close to the graffiti of specific symbols, together with a smiley face, which are particular to the alleged serial killer gang.

Smiley Face graffiti, like the ones found near where police say Dakota James plunged into the Ohio River. (Shutterstock/ gabriel12)

Smiley Face graffiti, like those discovered close to the place police say Dakota James plunged into the Ohio River. (Shutterstock/ gabriel12)

“To me, this is one of the most dangerous domestic terrorist groups in the United States and somebody needs to pay attention to them,” Kevin Gannon, a retired New York Metropolis police sergeant, informed The Every day Beast.

“The level of sophistication of the group is a lot greater than we’d imagined. Now we know they communicate with each other on the dark web. We know there’s surveillance and counter-surveillance,” he added.

Professor Lee Gilbertson, who together with Gannon and former NYPD detective Anthony Duarte first introduced the smiley face killers concept to regulation enforcement in 2008, defined that he and his colleagues consider the gang operates in cells, with people alternating out and in of motion, throughout dozens of cities.

‘Smiley Face Killers’ gang was behind younger males’s drownings, former NYPD detectives declare in new doc pic.twitter.com/HsP7R1iEoW

— Supply Hold (@SourceKeep) January 20, 2019

“There might be 12 in that cell and they go out one night and five of them do this,” he stated. “The next time it’s a different five. The way it should be conceived is that it’s the cell that’s the serial [killer] part of it, not necessarily the individuals. Because over time the individuals in the cell will evolve. Some will age out and just keep their mouths shut. Who wants to go to prison?”

Gilbertson additionally asserted there’s a clear sample among the many alleged victims: Their youth and their character as high-achieving people. The professor believes that envy of their success could also be an element of their deaths.

“They’re targeting the best of the best. These kids are the best students. They’re the best athletes and they come from the best families,” Gannon stated, echoing Gilbertson’s appraisal.

Additional complicating the investigation of this alleged group of serial killers, beside their refined strategies, is the truth that, based on Gannon and his cohorts, official regulation enforcement hasn’t displayed any curiosity in going after the group. All however one of many instances the retired detectives have investigated stay categorized as unintentional deaths, regardless of what the detectives say is compelling proof of foul play in sure instances, like that of Dakota James.

“Dakota was clearly murdered,” Gannon stated.

The primary purple flag in James’s case was a telephone name he made to his good friend Shelley on the night time of Dec. 15, 2016. Shelley stated James was sobbing, disoriented and begging for assist. He claimed the police wouldn’t assist him.

“I don’t know where I am. I’m so cold. Please help me. I’m lost,” he advised her.

He stated he was in Pittsburgh’s North Aspect and despatched her an image of a jean-clad leg saying “I’m here.”

Shelley went to select him up in her automotive, however an app monitoring his telephone confirmed Shelley that James was truly within the metropolis’s South Aspect. She tried confirming with him, however he responded with extra confusion. However, she discovered his location in lower than 10 minutes: a lodge in entrance of which a darkish SUV was parked dealing with the fallacious approach within the incorrect lane. She noticed Dakota exit the lodge and make straight for the darkish SUV.

“I pulled up not even 10 feet away from the SUV,”  she stated. “I said, ‘Dakota!’ He turns, looks back then comes over to me, got in my car, and we left.”

Shelley stated James sobbed the entire method house and wouldn’t elaborate on what had occurred. She famous he was frightened however totally lucid and didn’t appear to be drunk or in any other case intoxicated. He stated the very last thing he remembered was leaving his work Christmas get together with co-workers from J.B. Hunt Transport Providers Inc. round 7:15 p.m. All else after that was clean.

Shelley provided to take James to the hospital, however he refused. The subsequent day, he disregarded the incident and informed her he simply had a nasty hangover. He disappeared 5 weeks later after one other night time of consuming together with his co-workers. A lady strolling her canine discovered his physique 40 days after that, floating within the Ohio River about 30 ft from shore and 10 miles from the place he was final seen in Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23: Law enforcement boats patrol the Ohio River ahead of the G-20 summit on September 23, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dakota James' body was found in this river March 6, 2017. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH – SEPTEMBER 23: Regulation enforcement boats patrol the Ohio River forward of the G-20 summit on September 23, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dakota James’ physique was discovered on this river March 6, 2017. (Photograph by John Moore/Getty Photographs)

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Workplace dominated his dying was an unintentional drowning, however Gannon, the opposite retired detectives and a gang skilled say the proof exhibits in any other case.

The detectives assert that James’s physique was not decomposed sufficient to have been within the water for 40 days. His physique additionally confirmed no injury, even though if he had been within the water for 40 days he would have handed beneath a concrete and metal dam.

Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist and former Allegheny County medical expert who reviewed James’s post-mortem report, additionally stated ligature marks seemed to be on his neck, indicating somebody strangled him.

Wecht stated the marks have been “strongly suggestive of and entirely consistent with a ligature having been applied around the neck. This death may have been due to ligature strangulation,” in line with Oxygen.

Wecht additionally famous a “distinct difference in the coloration of the fingernail beds of the fourth and fifth fingers on both the right and left hands,” that “certainly would be consistent with someone reaching up and trying to release the pressure from a ligature that is being applied around their neck.”

As well as, somebody used James’s Paypal account two days after he disappeared for an $11.99 transaction.

Detectives additionally famous 11 smiley-faces spray painted on Roberto Clemente Bridge the place police allege James fell into the water, about 10 miles away from the place his physique was discovered. The retired detectives say the symbols are often spray-painted on the primary man-made construction that may be seen from the place the victims’ our bodies are discovered, although they don’t know if the graffiti was on the bridge earlier than James’s demise.

The retired detectives assert they’ve comparable proof in different instances they usually even have suspects, however regulation enforcement businesses have denounced these claims.

The FBI stated in a 2008 assertion that, whereas that they had investigated the retired detectives’ claims of the involvement of the smiley face killers, they “have not developed any evidence to support links between these tragic deaths or any evidence substantiating the theory that these deaths are the work of a serial killer or killers.”

“The vast majority of these instances appear to be alcohol-related drownings,” the assertion added.

The Middle for Murder Analysis additionally denounced the serial killer principle after investigating 40 of the drowning instances.

Gannon, nevertheless, stays undeterred, particularly in mild of the truth that 30 of the younger males who died in supposed unintentional drownings had the date rape drug GHB of their system, together with James, in accordance with their post-mortem stories. A number of current victims, together with James, had additionally come out as homosexual shortly earlier than their disappearances, including to the supposed sample.

Gannon’s tenacious investigating additionally pressured regulation enforcement to reclassify the demise of Chris Jenkins, a 21-year previous College of Minnesota scholar, from unintentional drowning to murder. Jenkins’s case stays lively and open, however his mother and father say they’ve heard little to no progress from regulation enforcement and don’t even know which officer has been assigned to their son’s case.

Gilbertson argues that if police would examine the claims extra intently, and apply strain to his colleague’s suspects and leads, the alleged gang would collapse.

“If they did, the network will start to fall apart,” Gilbertson stated. “Someone will squeal or snitch. But there’s no reason to now. Everything’s going fine for them.”

As for Gannon, he stated he gained’t relaxation till he fulfills the promise he made to the mom of Patrick McNeil in 1997 whereas working as a detective on the primary case he encountered that he believes is related to the smiley face killers. Patrick disappeared when he was 20 years previous after consuming together with his associates in Manhattan. His physique was discovered two months later floating within the East River near the Bay Bridge space of Brooklyn.

Witnesses informed Gannon they noticed Patrick being intently adopted by a pair in a automotive that night time, and Gannon’s appraisal of the location the place Patrick supposedly fell into the river forged doubt on regulation enforcement’s declare he went right down to the river to urinate and fell in. The truth that there was hardly any entry to the river on the website, and the truth that two extra younger males disappeared inside the subsequent 15 months and have been additionally discovered within the river, roused Gannon’s suspicions.

Gannon informed Jackie McNeil that he wouldn’t give up till he discovered her son’s killer, and he hasn’t give up but.

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