Detectives Chase 'Smiley Face' Murder Mystery

Detectives connect the drowning deaths of 40 young men in 25 cities.

ByKristi Piehl via via logo

April 28, 2008 — -- Chris Jenkins was a popular student at the University of Minnesota who disappeared one night in 2003.

Four months later, he was found dead in the Mississippi River. At first police thought Jenkins was just a drunk college kid who accidentally fell into the river and drowned after a night on the town.

But for two retired New York City Police detectives, Jenkins' death became the link that connected the drowning deaths of 40 young men — usually high-achieving college students — in 25 cities in 11 different states.

Detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte have been tracking the suspicious drowning deaths of young men across the country ever since they investigated the death of college student Patrick McNeill, who drowned in New York City in 1997. Gannon made a promise to McNeill's parents that he would never give up on his case.

When the detectives took a look at Jenkins' death, they discovered that the position of his body and other physical evidence proved that the college student didn't drown accidentally. The cause of death on Jenkins' death certificate was changed to "homicide."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events