Police from across Minnesota and Wisconsin will meet in Stearns County on Thursday to pool information on four missing persons cases involving young men.
Chris Jenkins, a 21-year-old Carlson School of Management senior, has been missing since Oct. 31 when he was last seen leaving the Lone Tree Bar & Grill in downtown Minneapolis.
Josh Guimond, a 20-year-old St. John’s University student, disappeared Nov. 9 after leaving an on-campus party in Collegeville, Minn.
Michael Noll, a 22-year-old Rochester native attending the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, disappeared after leaving a bar Nov. 6.
And more recently, Nathan Herr, 21, was last seen walking home from a tavern in Sheboygan, Wis., on Jan. 10.
Sheboygan Police Detective Mark Kolosovsky said he does not believe the cases are related, but he said police are tracking down every lead. The Sheboygan Police Department is coordinating Thursday’s meeting among police forces.
Steve Jenkins, Chris’ father, said the similarities among the four cases – the young men all disappeared after leaving bars or parties late at night – are too great to be ignored.
“Bodies don’t just disappear,” he said.
The FBI is playing a supporting role in the Jenkins’ investigation by following leads out of state, said Paul McCabe, the Minneapolis FBI bureau spokesman. McCabe would not otherwise comment on the investigation, but he said local police are still the main authorities in each case.
Cyndi Barrington, spokeswoman for the Minneapolis Police Department, said the case is still open and active, although there have not been any recent significant leads.
The Jenkins family has been openly critical of police during the investigation. They say Minneapolis police are not tracking down leads fast enough or devoting sufficient resources to the case.
“As the parent of a missing child you leave no stone unturned,” Steve Jenkins said.
The Jenkins family has hired two private investigators who they say are working around the clock on the case. They have also pursued leads with psychics and, more recently, a tracking bloodhound, named Hoover Von Vacuum.
The dog and her handler, Penny Bell, have assisted in the searches for Chris Jenkins and Guimond for the past six weekends. Search dogs are normally used in the first 48 hours of an investigation.
Steve Jenkins said the dog tracked both Guimond and Chris on St. John’s campus in Collegeville. He said the dog tracked Guimond’s scent to a lake and Chris’ to a parking lot.
The Jenkins family delivered a 45-page report to the FBI last weekend detailing what the bloodhound has found, Steve Jenkins said.
There is still a $50,000 reward offered by the Jenkins family for information leading them to their son.
Rocky Thompson welcomes comments at [email protected]