October 21, 2003

10/21/03: Joseph Grozelle, Kingston, Ontario

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."

Unanswered Questions

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."

Case Details
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.


BoyintheMachine said...

It appears that his girlfriend Melissa seems very suspicious. She was with him but she conveniently fell asleep reading a book. When she awakens at 5:30 AM he is gone. She claims she last saw him working on a law paper that was due the next day.

On top of that, Melissa is the originator of the belief that he might have been "suicidal", as she claims he admitted to her that he tried to kill himself on at least on occasion. How very conveient.

If Melissa is telling the truth about waking up and finding him gone, then the only thing I can think of is that he left his dorm to get food or else take a break from the paper, like in a jog or walk. However, that's only if Melissa is telling the truth.

FleaStiff said...

Although I might have some concerns about Melissa, the major theme to this case clearly relates to senior officers and to both sexual as well as financial activity.

Although the Colonel was studying there at the time, I see no reason to suspect links between the Colonel and this cadet or any hazing at the school.

freebird88 said...

A cadet went missing a couple days ago and a bosy was just pulled out of Navy Bay on the college grounds. Another basketball player, male, and although the autopsy was not completed the Military's investigation team says foul play is not suspected. Suspicious much? The cadet's name is Mathieu Leclair, and this honestly makes me worry for the safety of my friends still attending the college.

tennessee111 said...

Could have been the work of the cruise ship killer . I believe some digging may reveal Joe knew someone that worked on one. 1015

Micheline said...

Please, leave Melissa out of it. You weren't there for the investigation - he left his room to go to the library to print a paper. She was questioned exhaustively and was given a multitude of polygraph tests by investigators, all while suffering the loss of the love of her life. This story doesn't even tell half of the details of the story that all of us at RMC lived through and know well, and keep re-hashing over and over again. The place where he was found was about 20 feet from College property. There were other folks who were considered 'strong suspects' at the college as well - they were equally devastated by the repeated questioning and polygraphs (which ALL of them passed with no deception). I don't know what happened to either of them, but I can say that if someone DID want to commit suicide, jumping off the causeway could certainly do it, as towards the ends of the causeway there are a LOT of huge pieces of limestone. And also, I don't know if you're aware, but there was someone seen crossing the causeway (the bridge that he was found below) that was caught on camera at roughly the time of Joe's disappearance - there is a photo of it somewhere. There's so much more to the case - please don't point fingers at Melissa. I can't tell you how much she suffered.

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Joyce Yagoda said...

I do not know what happened but it was not suicide. There is a complete personality change, in those thinking of, committing suicide! They also get their things together so their loved ones do not have to after their death.

Michael Glasspool said...

To whom it may concern:

Re: http://footprintsattheriversedge.blogspot.ca/2003/10/102103-joseph-grozelle-kingston-ontario.html (this article)

Correct me if I am wrong, when one looks at the photo of Joe Grozelle, his shoulder flashes have the British Pips and there's a photo of Joe Grozelle with the London Scottish Regiment from, in and around, the year 2000. There is also someone else in the photo who is of interest, however, I believe it is linked to another person who was there in Kingston studying at the University's Business School. The photo of Joe Grozelle appears to be available only in hard copy and the links have long but expired. So, again, back to the photo, Joe Grozelle was attached to the London Scottish Regiment and of course many countries send staff through the military school. I am working on the identity of the released photo of the video footage of a man sought after for information purposes.

I will check back here in a few days for a follow up.