A string of college student drownings across the Midwest has all the makings of great mystery. Or does it? Rumors have persisted for years that a serial killer is prowling Interstate 94, hunting young men in college bars and plunging them underwater. Investigators, though, say there’s no evidence of foul play. They say the victims were so drunk they fell in the river and died. Now criminologist Douglas Gilbertson of St. Cloud State University has completed a study he believes shows patterns that indicate some of the cases could be murders – and could be linked.
“We definitely do have some cases that are just not accidents. When you fill in the patterns that are coming out, that’s the next logical step,” Gilbertson said. According to Gilbertson’s study, more than 20 college-age men from Minnesota to Ohio have drowned after disappearing from a bar or party since 1997. One of the hot spots is La Crosse, Wis., which sits on the Mississippi River and is home to three colleges. Eight college-age men have turned up dead in area rivers after vanishing from bars in the last eight years. Police have ruled the deaths accidental.