Joseph Grozelle, 21, disappeared from the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, where he was a third-year cadet on Oct. 22, 2003. He was last seen in his dorm room by his girlfriend, Melissa who fell asleep while studying and awoke the next morning to find him gone. He never showed up to classes. His body was found in the Cataraqui River in Kingston, Ontario on November 13, 2003.
On October 21, 2003, Joe Grozelle settled into his dorm room with his girlfriend, Melissa Haggert, to study. While Melissa reads on the bed, Joe works on a paper due for his law class the next day. At about
1 a.m., Melissa falls asleep while Joe is still working at his computer. At about 5:30 a.m., Melissa wakes up to find that Joe is not in the room. His watch, wallet and cell phone are still on his desk. She returns to her room at about 6 a.m. and goes about her day attending classes. Melissa and other cadets go to Joe's room throughout the day but do not find him. By 4:30 p.m., when Joe does not show up for basketball practice, Melissa leaves a note on the squadron officer's door. A missing person investigation was commenced by Kingston base MPs later that evening.
Click here for an in-depth timeline from CBS News.
The Search for Joe Grozelle
From October 23-November 13, 2003, seven members of Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (NIS) lead the search for Joe Grozelle. According to CBS News, they: conduct searches of the RMC grounds, Joseph Grozelle's room, canvass hospitals and shelters in the Kingston area, interview staff and cadets at RMC, flag credit cards, analyze Joe's computer, and work with the Kingston Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in conducting air, water, and ground searches, including the use of canine teams.
The body of Joseph Grozelle was found in the Cataraqui River in Kingston, Ontario three weeks after he disappeared, on November 13, 2003. The body was identified by his father, Ron Grozelle.
The initial examination was not able to establish a cause of death, so further testing was required. The subsequent autopsy in July 2004 listed the cause of death as "undetermined." Drugs and alcohol were not found in his system.
The body was exhumed in November 2004 for a second autopsy, which also found the cause of death to be "undetermined."
Early on, investigators suspected suicide, based on interviews with his girlfriend who said Joe had confided in her that he once tried to take his life in high school. But Grozelle's family insisted he never would have taken his own life. They hoped that an inquest into his death would answer any remaining questions. They have always maintained that their son's death was neither an accident or a suicide.
A month-long Coroner's Inquest into the death was finally held in March 2007 in Kingston, Ontario. The cause of death was defined as "unascertained, non-natural." The manner of death was "undetermined."
In February 2010, Joe Grozelle's father, Ron, told the media that he was requesting a new investigation of his son's case after Col. Russell Williams, 8 Wing commander at Trenton, was charged with the first-degree murders of two young women--27-year-old Jessica Lloyd and 37-year-old Marie Comeau, a corporal who worked at the airbase. According to The Whig Standard, "Williams also faces charges of sexual assault connected to two home invasions last September in the Tweed area." Furthermore, the paper reported that Ontario Provincial Police are looking into all unsolved crimes in jurisdictions where Williams served over the course of his 23-year career. Williams was completing a master's degree in Defense Studies at the Royal Military College from August 2003 to June 2004, the time when Joe Grozelle was a student at the college.
Ron Grozelle told the Whig-Standard, "I would characterize this case as one of those that needs to be followed up. I would hope they contact me and tell me what they've found. If I don't hear from them they'll certainly hear from me."
Name/age: Joseph Grozelle, 21
Hometown: Ridgetown, ON
College: Royal Military College, Kingston, ON
Last Seen: 10/23/03, Kingston, Ontario
Recovered: 11/13/03, Cataraqui River, Inner Harbor, in Kingston, Ontario
CNews, Scope of Grozelle inquest debated, 1/12/07
The London Free Press, Still waiting to mourn, 07/09/07
CBS News.ca, RMC cadet death inquest likely on hold until 2007, 11/17/06
Government of Ontario, Inquest in the death of Joseph Grozelle announced, 12/14/05
CBC.ca, Shadows of Doubt, 11/15/08
Published 6/11/09. Last Updated 11/23/10.