November 5, 2008

11/05/08: Trevor Boehm, 20, Evanston, IL

On November 8, 2008, the parents of college student Trevor Boehm arrived at the Northwestern university campus for Family Weekend. It was supposed to be a fun visit, but they discovered their son was missing.

According to the university, the 20-year-old hadn't been in his residence hall, attended classes or used his student ID in the dining halls since Wednesday, November 5, four days before he was reported missing.

Trevor’s body was found in Lake Michigan on November 16, 2008.


 The Search for Trevor
Northwestern University Police began its investigation immediately following the missing person report, and the school notified students two days later. During the investigation, police discovered that Boehm had not used his WildCARD or Marlock key since Nov. 5, when he was last seen returning to his dorm room. The investigation turned up no other leads. Throughout the investigation, the university has said that there is no indication of foul play.

On November 13, about 11:30 a.m, Boehm’s brown suede jacket containing his Northwestern identification card, keys, and cell phone was found among the rocks on the shore of Lake Michigan (in an area reported as the Lakefill). Boehm's family is then notified of the discovery and the U.S. Coast Guard to begin searching Lake Michigan with a boat and a helicopter. The water had been too choppy for a search of Lake Michigan earlier in the week.

On Sunday, November 16, the body of Trevor Boehm was spotted in Lake Michigan just before 7:30. The body, which was positively identified as Boehm, was found about seven miles south of Northwestern near Montrose Harbor in the 4500 block of North Simonds Drive. An autopsy on Monday, November 17 found that Boehm died of drowning. The manner of death (eg., accident, suicide, homicide) is pending further investigation.

His green Schwinn bicycle, with oversized seat and tires, still has not been found. Trevor's whereabouts in the hours leading up to his disappearance are also still unknown.


November 5 – Trevor Boehm disappears.
November 8 - Boehm's parents arrive for Family Weekend and are unable to reach their son. They notify the University police.
November 9 – The University discovers that Trevor’s id card had not been used since November 5, and a missing person’s report is filed.
November 10 – Students are notified about the disappearance.
November 16 – Trevor’s body is recovered from Lake Michigan.
November 17 – An autopsy finds Trevor had drowned. The manner of death is not determined.


About Trevor Boehm

Trevor Boehm graduated from Colorado Springs School, a private high school with a concentration on the arts, where he was very involved in the school’s theater program. Boehm enrolled at Northwestern in fall 2007 as a theater major and lived on the fifth floor of Willard Residential College. At the time, he was a freshman board representative for the Purple Crayon Players, an on-campus theater group. According to the Office of the Registrar, he completed his first term last year before leaving NU sometime during winter quarter. He re-enrolled his fall in the School of Communication and was living in a single room on the fourth floor of South Mid-Quads Hall.

Friends described Trevor as “vibrant, caring, compassionate” and from a “tight-knit family.” They say that although he was struggling at school, he remained his usual charismatic and positive self. He was a happy person with many friends. They added that his disappearance was “completely out of character.” His friends insist that he would have told somebody if he had needed alone time, and he was definitely not the kind of person to get mixed up in any wrong doing.

Case Details
Name/age: Trevor Boehm, 20 (freshman)
Hometown: Monument, Colorado
College: Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Major: Communications
Residence: South Mid-Quads in a single room (no roommate)
Reported missing: Sunday 11/9/08
Recovered: Sunday 11/16/08
Physical description: 5’10,” 145 pounds, white male, brown hair, brown eyes, small birthmark on his right forearm.
Belongings: Trevor's bicycle, a green Schwinn with oversized tires and oversized seat, is still missing.
Additional notes: One day previous to his disappearance, Nov. 4, Election Day, was extremely crowded due to the volume of supporters at the Obama rally in Grant Park and many streets were closed off. 



BoyintheMachine said...

I wonder what the autopsy showed regarding alcohol.

If he had a significant level of alcohol then I would tend to lean toward suicide.

If no alcohol was found, then it appears more suspicious.

I'm having trouble rationalizing why his jacket and other items would be found on shore, as well as the fact that his bike is missing.

I'm seriously wondering if the bike isn't in the water. I wonder if the police searched the water for the bike or not, near the location of his personal items.

If the bike is found in the water, then I would definately lean toward homicide.

Now, if we are dealing with a homicide and the bike was stolen, then this would narrow it down a bit. If the bike wasn't ditched in the water but was kept then it was either salvaged, i.e. parts taken from it and then the rest disposed of or else it is not being used. If the bike is intact it is definately not in use but stored away somewhere. The bike is too identifiable and would easily attract attention. But of course I still favor the idea that the bike is in the water, most likely near the area where the other personal items were found.


Let's say that this death is connected to other similar mysterious drowning deaths of young college-age men. What can we learn about this?

Well, if this is murder, with the murderer taking the bike, then this would imply one or more of the following:

1.) The murderer has a garage or has access to one for storage.
2.) The murderer has a large shed or has access to one for storage.

(In both of the above, the murderer is not going to keep the bike in their house as it is too identifiable.)

3.) The murderer rents storage space or has access to a rented storage space.

4.) If the bike was salvaged for parts then the killer must have prior knowledge or experience with bicylces. If the bike was salvaged then I would suggest a connection to a local business catering to bicycles or their repair, possibly either a regular or frequent customer if not an actual employee.

5.) A Bicylce workshop would be the prime location of storing a bike without raising suspicion. I'm not talking about a showroom, mind you.

If bike shops are searched or their owners questioned by Police, then I would recommend they not only focos on the bike as a whole but as well search/question the salvagable parts from the bicycle, the parts that can bring in money.

Now, this may seem to be too much info at once, and it is. It all depends on if the bike is found in the water or if it has been taken.

If anyone finds out the level of alcohol (if any) at autopsy, I would be very interested in learning of it.

BoyintheMachine said...

I just mapquested the area and there is a Turin Bicycle right near the campus (.7 miles from the official mailing address of the campus). It would be a starter point for me at least, especialy with inquiries about bicycle parts, especial TIRES, and if it has a work shop or not, one capable of storing a bike.

My intuition tells me that if the bike is being stashed in a work shop then the owner may have no idea about it.

BoyintheMachine said...

Just listened to the Smiley Face Killers Update December 6, 2008 with Kristi Piehl.

According to Piehl, the Police are treating Trevor Boehm's death as if it was suicide and that family has supposedly accepted that it was suicide.

BoyintheMachine said...


It is being reported that a smiley face was found spray-painted on a rock near where Trevor's belongings were found.


Anonymous said...

The bike could have been taken by anyone. Biking is a very prominent mode of transport in Chicago.

Supposing some random person saw the bike, found it and stole it; it would appear a bit unlikely that the bike was anywhere too near his other belongings since nothing else was reported missing..

Although. Where is Boehm's bike lock?

Anonymous said...

Waterford Precision Cycles is a small bicycle manufacturer based in Waterford, Wisconsin. Waterford produces high-end, custom, hand-built, steel-alloy frame bicycles, particularly road, criterium, stage, track, and cyclocross racing bicycles, that range in price from about $2,500 to $8,500. Waterford builds both tig-welded and lugged steel frames to order, and specializes in custom and unique bicycle frames.

The company also manufactures Gunnar Cycles, which are steel-alloy, tig-welded bicycle frames and forks including off-road, touring, racing and recreational bicycles, that start at roughly $1000 for a frame and fork combination. In addition, Waterford manufactures frames for the Milwaukee Bicycle Co. as well as several other small specialty bicycle companies.

The company is operated by Richard Schwinn, formerly of Schwinn Bicycle Company, and business partner Marc Muller. Schwinn (great-grandson of Ignaz Schwinn, who founded Schwinn Co. in 1896) was vice president of production for Schwinn Co., and Muller worked for Schwinn as a designer of the company's hand-crafted Paramount racing bikes.

Anonymous said...

New article, entitled "Are college campuses prime locations for serial killers?a"

It is somewhat of a response to Jan Jenkin's new book, Footprints of Courage. It also mentions Dan Zamlen's case.

However, I think I found a discrepency:

"On November 8th, 2008 Boehm’s parents arrive in Evanston, IL for family weekend only to find that Boehm was missing. He had not been in his residence hall or used his dining card in four days. On November 16, 2008, Boehm’s body was found in Lake Michigan, seven miles south of Northwestern University. Police believe Boehm’s cause of death was drowning, but the Boehm family believes there was foul play."

When Boehm was first recovered, the Boehm family did NOT believe he was a victim of foul play. When Kristi was on Coast to Coast AM she mentioned the Bohem family wished to lay their son to rest and pursued no further investigation. (I wish I could find that interview. I'm prettty darn sure though those are the basic details.)

So, I don't know why the article thought otherwise? Unless they now DO believe their son was a victim of foul play? I can't find any source to back up that they now support their son being a possible sfk victim.

Anonymous said...

This case is haunting me.

I did a search on Trevor, and theres a lot of gossip
and other strange claims:

college confidentialdotcom, under a thread 'Hopkins Student kills another with sword
off campus', a Sam Lee (same first name but not me), states his mother claimed
Trevor had a biopolar and depressive history and resulted to suicide.

I can't find a single source on that. And its just sounds like forum gossip -

(But its kind of interesting as it would make sense why Boehm's parents originally
didn't want to further investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.)

Contrary to all the above, Brian Blackwell of blackwellbriefdotcom and also
a newsarticle on zimbio all claim Boehm was last seen at a frat party Nov 5, the night
he went missing.

That's a huge contrast to what was in main press.
It is reported that he was last seen at his dorm Nov 5 and
he last used his ID card into his dorm Nov 5.

ALso - all of a sudden now - I'm REALLLY confused with dates. Was he last seen Nov 5 AM,
as in the night of Nov 4 - Election Day. Or the night of Nov 5 into Nov 6 AM.

I always kind of assumed that it was the night of Nov 5 into Nov 6 AM.
Since, along with the fact that his ID wasn't used since Nov 5, media reports
he hadn't attended classes since Nov 5. Meaning Nov 5 during the day he had classes
and went to them.

So it could just be that Blackwell and Zimbio are simply mistaken.

If we do go with Blackwell though we have to assume he thought
the disappearance to be the night before Nov 4 PM into Nov 5 Am.

The question arises: where is the frat, with what school?
Or had he been somewhere else that night, like a frat party - but was seen
by an eyewitness afterwards at his dorm.

And then theres the fact that Nov 5 was election day.
Was he just at his own dorm that whole night?

I want to correct one specific thing, Grant Park - where Obama was -
is way far from Evanston. I think I originally mentioned that to you
Lisa and I appologize if anyone thought they were a close distance.
I just meant that Chicago was crowded all over
A huge majority were up partying all night that night, so it
wouldn't be at all strange for
a young college kid to be somewhere.
Chicagoland in whole was pretty hoppin.

Thing is the fact that Obama was in a crowded Grant Park is linked with
Brian Blackwell's reasearchin relation
to the Trevor Boehm case. So, my bad for not specifying the distance
beforehand and any misunderstanding (and Brian Blackwell who then got misinformed).
OR b) Brian Blackwell thought made an error in distance OR
c) (this sounds like a stretch) the frat was by Grant Park and it is relevant.


Lots of big question marks with this case.

It took a long few days before anyone realized he went missing. That speaks something.

If anyone has that coast to coast am interview where they talk about Trevor I would love
to hear it again and reevaluate the public eye on this case. I'm really confused.

Anonymous said...

The plot thickens???

Trevor was found in Lake Michigan near the Montrose Harbor on Nov 16 2008.
(over 10 miles from the Evanston campus- and a long commute)
Earlier, his belongings (except his bike) were found on Nov 12 along shoreline rocks
of the Lakefill in Evanston.

A 34 year old archetect, Zhya Jacobs, was found in Lake Michigan along Montrose Nov 11 2008.
According to maps, Zhya lived rather close to the Montrose Harbor.

Zhya was from India. He is an 07 graduate of Harvard University's Graduate School
of Design - cambridge, MA.

It can be presumed he was still clinging on to his life after he
was recovered from the water (after a jogger had spotted him) as he wasn't pronounced
dead until later at Weiss Hospital.

(In one of the comments sections on an article about Zhya, some one comments in
sympathy that Zhya and Trevor lived in the same building. This sounds like
an outright prank though. Zhya lived at 720 W Gordon Terrace. Trevor lived
way North at the Evanston campus for Northwestern.)

Anonymous said...

More on Zhya:

Zhya David Jacobs, MDesS '07 [Harvard University Graduate School of Design]

Zhya David Jacobs, MDesS ‘07, tragically drowned in Lake Michigan on November 11. The circumstances surrounding his death are not clear. Founder and president of the student group GSD India, Zhya was also a teaching fellow of the 2006-2007 studio option in Mumbai, led by Professor Niall Kirkwood, Chairman of the Landscape Architecture Department.
Zyha was committed to addressing the issues in cities of the developing world and using them as laboratories for global solutions. He once wrote that his experience in the Mumbai studio option encouraged him to pursue the role of design in shaping our way of life and understanding the importance of bringing the sensibility and ethics of the design profession to tackle these complex issues.
Martin Bechthold, Professor of Architectural Technology and Co-Director, MDesS Program, emailed a letter to the MDesS alumni in which he said:
“Zhya was an outstanding student and wonderful member of the GSD community. I greatly enjoyed working with him, and fondly recall his friendly and kind presence. Zhya also worked closely with Professors Niall Kirkwood, Monica Ponce de Leon, Daniel Schodek, Kostas Terzidis, Spiro Pollalis and John Macomber. He left behind a closely knit group of friends from his years at the GSD. We will all miss him, and will be sending our sincere condolences to his family and friends in India. Please join me in remembering Zhya, his passionate enthusiasm for design, his friendship and richness of spirit.”
Zhya worked most recently as Senior Architectural Professional at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

Last video of Zhya:

Anonymous said...

And just for reference, Here is a good overview of the scenery at the Lakefill, where
Trevor's phone, jacket, and identification were found:,northwestern

Lots of artsy graffitti. Lots of nature.

Anonymous said...

And, I'm reluctant to post this,
but here is a REALLY BAD joke the Northwestern school paper put out a short while back - months after Trevor's belongings were found at the Lakefill.

tennessee111 said...

There may be a killer ang that killer posts here. IHere it would probably be the person that made comment 6
Schwinn, who founded Schwinn Co. in 1896) was vice president of production for Schwinn Co., and Muller worked for Schwinn as a designer of the company's hand-crafted Paramount racing bikes.

Here is why. Steinkeoway worked at the Delano theater which became the Muller theater and Boehm was a theater major in school