Could Drownings—Including a Minnesota Student's—Be Related?

Two former detectives say that 40 deaths might be connected.

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Two former New York City police detectives say they have linked more than 40 deaths of college-age people across the country—including the 2002 disappearance of a University of Minnesota student found months later drowned in the Mississippi River north of the Minneapolis campus.

The case the two detectives have put forth presents what could be an unbelievable crime spree of the style usually found on TV or in the movies—a nationwide string of deaths linked by an awful signature (a spray-painted smiley face) with no arrests yet. Minneapolis police in November 2006 denied any connection between the Minnesota student's death and other drownings in Midwest waterways. But the two New York ex-cops are convinced a link exists—and have gone public with their case in hopes of changing the way drownings are investigated—to "protect the innocent and prosecute the guilty."