January 11, 2003

Serial Killer Theory Gains Ground

Since 1997, dozens of college-age males in the Great Lakes region have disappeared after drinking. Sadly, the majority of them were later discovered to have drowned. The similarities between the disappearances have left many family and community members, especially those in LaCrosse, worried that a serial killer is at work. Others believe it is the culture of alcohol that led to their deaths.

Serial killer theory
The case for a serial killer first originated in La Crosse, WI after seven young men in the past nine years became highly intoxicated in local bars and apparently fell into the river. People believed the similarities were just too many to ignore.

All of the men were white and were either in college or were hanging out in locations popular with college students. The men were all last seen in highly populated areas in the early hours of the morning after becoming separated from their friends. They had high blood alcohol contents, yet no one noticed highly intoxicated young men stumbling toward water. They all drowned, and with the exception of Richard Hlavaty, there were no witnesses. Many of the men disappeared during colder weather months, so it is unlikely they would have simply gone swimming.

The opposition
Police and local government officials have held community meetings to address the growing concern over the deaths and to quell any concerns about a possible serial killer in the area. Officials contend that none of the deaths were the result of foul play, and the coincidences between the cases are not so unusual. The deaths occured in college towns, where there are many college-aged males. College men who drink tend to do so in bars from late evening until early morning during the months when school is in session. The upper Midwest is overwhelmingly European American, so it isn't surprising that most of the victims were white. There are also many colleges in river towns along the Great Lakes, and rivers have stronger currents than lakes. Officials also point out that no serial killer has ever been known to murder victims by drowning. Outraged family and community members have retorted that just because the public has never heard of a mad drowner, doesn't mean one doesn't exist.

The serial killer theory advances
After the disappearance of four college students in neighboring Minnesota (Michael Noll, Josh Guimond, Erika Dalquist, and Chris Jenkins), all of whom had last been seen out drinking with friends, news of the similarities between the Minnesota and Wisconsin drownings began to spread. Families of the drowning victims garnered support for the theory by holding onto the belief that their loved one must have been murdered. The father of Nathan Herr, a victim from Sheboygan, WI, believes the deaths are going around the Great Lakes. As time goes by, and with the recent development that Chris Jenkins was, in fact, murdered, the serial killer theory is gaining momentum.


stardust said...

I used to live in LaCrosse for a brief time during 2002. I remember hearing about these drownings from my then boyfriend, who had been a student at Viterbo during the time when some of the drownings took place. Everyone I met while living there believed that there was a killer at work.

One detail that stuck in my mind were the personal items left in front of the Indian statue in Riverside park, belonging to one of the drowned men. I don't know if anyone has thought of this before, but it really spooked me to read about Chris Jenkins in Minneapolis, because he was dressed in an Indian costume when he disappeared (his body was found in the costume as well). I don't know if its just a coincidence, but something about this-the 'indian connection'-sticks out to me.

Anonymous said...

This is a link to a Trane Theory slideshow. The reason for the theory is that

*Classes were being held for air conditioning technicians at the time young men disappeared.

*Reports of a van being used for an abduction and for attempted abductions.

* A van is commonly used by technicians.

*There were 8 disappearances in 9 years in LaCrosse and one of those victims was chased into the water.
Trane has a training facility here

*Chris Jenkins is belived to be murdered in Minneapolis .Trane has a training facility nearby .Other young men also disappeared in nearby ST Paul

*A third location in Tennessee also has classes and a young man disappeared nearby.They only had classes 2 times that year for a total of 10 days of classes.

Anonymous said...

Here is the link to the slideshow.


Anonymous said...

Also according to The Trane theory,there is a fair chance if the killer or killers are technicians,that they may have got training in Minnesota as thousand of inmates participated in vocational training for HVAC Technicians.

From Milwaukee magazine.

Roach, who has a Minnesota criminal record, also told police he’d been a member of a gang he referred to as “DOD” and then called Dealers of Death. He said Jeramy Alford was the leader.

A van was disposed of in a river.


Luis Alford told police he hit Miller with a hammer and stabbed him with a barbecue fork, while his brother stabbed him with a knife, authorities said. His brother claimed full responsibility for the killing, after first blaming it on an unidentified third party, according to the county attorney's office.
"He said he hit Mr. Miller in the head with a pipe five or six times and stabbed him with anything he could find," the criminal complaint states.

A fisherman discovered the van belonging to Miller's employer submerged in the Cedar River Friday morning near Palo.

BoyintheMachine said...

Att: Stardust,

It also should be noted that it is relatively common for individuals commiting suicide to do the same thing. Many will leave out an i.d. so their body can be identified.

I'm not saying that's what happened, just saying there is more than one interpretation.

monique777 said...

Alford is a gang member but hardly sophiticated enough to pull off these killings (assuming they are killings and connected). I mean look at where the former head of this gang sits right now -in jail, gabbing away about one of his gang's murders! Typical gang behavior. They can't keep quiet. Impulse,showing loyality, and recognition drives them, not the methodical nature this killer demonstrates.

A technician from Trane using a police scanner (high association between victims and police contact) to hunt his victims down for his demented sexual gratification and then the use of water to purify his victims and remove all evidence.

A Trane technician could also be a former cop too.

"Cells of kiilers throughout the country" could only be possible if they are actual cops or extremnists (eg. the terrorists following Bin Laden).

This killer is cautious,patient,highly trained at controlling his victim quickly and well trained in other areas, sophisticated...all of which do not describe gang behavior.

monique777 said...

Point of view from a Criminal Investigative Psychologist:

"The probability is virtually zero...that intoxicated students just happen to walk similiar or even different routes(and) end up on the river bank....There is a high probability that there is, or was, a serial killer...in Lacrosse,WI..."

Dr. Maurice Godwin

Anonymous said...

Some of the victims apparently end up in a body of water rather quickly, & sometimes are found relatively quickly thereafter, like a day or 2. Others are not found for weeks or months, which makes one wonder, was the victim kept somewhere & placed in the water much later after his disappearance?

Is there some similarity among those victims, who were possibly kept longer?

Is there some similarity among those, who were found in the water relatively soon?

There may be 2 distinct subsets of types of victims -- perhaps even more subsets.

Are victims perhaps only kept longer during the coldest winter months, when a dead body could essentially be easily kept frozen in a garage or the back of a vehicle for extended periods of time ?

If a victim is kept over a period that includes warmer months, was that victim actually kept alive?

Are there any signs that the victim had been kept alive? Hair length, whiskers, lack of whiskers?

Can muscle tone be determined? Can a body show that muscles have somewhat atrophied in the weeks prior to actual death?

Anonymous said...

I understand that none of the bodies have shown any signs of being raped. When we think of a man possibly being raped, we think of sodomy, & I assume the medical examiners checked for that, even in the most short-shrift exam.

However, it is possible that these young athletic men were used for something else of a sexual nature. A date rape drug could have been used to make a victim more responsive to stimulation by another person. I don't know how that could be proven one way or another. Would there still be any semen stains or traces on clothing, even after having been in the river.

I just think that something related to something sexual is going on here. The victims are essentially all young, good-looking, athletic, successful, smart college men. To the killer(s), they represent perhaps virility, masculinity, success, strength, power, perhaps even wealth.

It seems as if the killer wants to exercise power or control over this type of victim.

Perhaps the killer is smart & educated & succesfull, but not athletic, good-looking, or outgoing, is therefore not desirable himself.

The victims who went missing after leaving bars were all described as outgoing --- perhaps lively at a bar, unlike the killer.

I think some victims were just in the wrong place at the wrong time --- car broke down, walking, drunk, perhaps staggering some.

Other victims were perhaps targeted at bar.

While still other victims may have actually been known to the killers.

PAULA said...

I think maybe that the killer could be a woman. Maybe a traveling nurse. If all these guys have no defensive wounds....think about it. something is making them go into the water even in very cold months. A nurse would have access to many different types of drugs. If a man were doing this surely these guys would have fought back in some way.

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