Chris Jenkins case deserves far better

The former University student’s murder may be linked to 40 other similar deaths all across the country.

by Paul Hamilton

I didn’t know Chris Jenkins personally, but judging from his parents he came from good stock. He came from the kind of love and affection that demands ultimate respect from the rest of us.

For all that his mother, father and the rest of his family and friends had to endure until the Minneapolis Police Department was able to make a proper determination of homicide in his case, I am truly sorry.

I also believe that Chris’s case could be the catalyst by which a fire is ignited underneath the bottoms of police chiefs, investigators and the powers that are all over this country: helping to bring about either the capture or killing of what may be one or more serial murders known as the “Smiley Face Killers.”

Parents tend to know their children, especially when the family is close and well adjusted. Chris Jenkins’s parents knew he was not the type to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge.

I remember watching the news coverage of his case since 2003, with his parents always suggesting that there was more to the story; ultimately they were proved correct.

The question now becomes what the Minneapolis Police Department will do to assist a current investigation that’s being conducted by two retired New York police detectives who are looking into the possibility that Chris’s murder may be linked to the eerily similar deaths of some 40 other young people across the country.

All of the cases in question were originally blamed on a drunken accident; fortunately, Chris’s has been changed from unknown to homicide.

Apparently retired detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte have been looking into a sick calling card left by the killer or killers. In city after city, they have found a painted smiley face at the point where the victim has entered the water.

For at least the past 10 years, a number of Midwestern college students (mostly men, but there are at least two women) have either gone missing or have been mysteriously found dead after going out drinking with friends. All seem to have somehow become separated from other people and were apparently alone, except for the perpetrator(s) of the crime.

It is extremely important for those in the campus community to remain vigilant about personal safety. As warmer weather approaches (hopefully) and summer gets into full swing, it will be important (as always) to stay with groups of known friends. But if you have to head out from an establishment alone late at night, taking a cab is always a good idea.

Paul Edward Hamilton welcomes comments at [email protected]