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Smiley Face Killers

Date: 04-25-08
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Open Lines, Kristi Piehl

During the first half of the program, Kristi Piehl, award-winning journalist for KSTP Channel 5 Eyewitness News in Minneapolis, shared details from her investigation into the murder of a University of Minnesota student and how it could be linked to the deaths of at least 40 other college men across the country.

In February 2003, the body of Chris Jenkins was found in the Mississippi River. Piehl said the police thought he had accidentally drowned, but later changed the cause of death to 'homicide.' The case caught the attention of retired NYPD detectives, Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte, who were working to solve the 1997 murder of Patrick McNeill. The two discovered evidence that connected Jenkins' murder not only to McNeill's but to a long string of drownings in 11 different states, Piehl reported.

In at least a dozen cases Gannon and Duarte found smiley face symbols when they had tracked down the spot where they thought the bodies went into the water, Piehl explained. They also found the word 'Sinsiniwa' written at a crime scene in Michigan, and later learned that a victim in Iowa had been found on Sinsiniwa Avenue. The two detectives think a large, organized group with a hierarchical structure is responsible for the killings, Piehl noted. More info about this case as well as Piehl's video report available at the KSTP website.

Ian hosted Open Lines for the last two hours of the show.

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