We thought the smiley face killer conspiracy had long since disappeared after it blew up in the media almost a year ago. Then-KSTP reporter Kristi Piehl reported on two New York City cops who said there was a connection between the drowning deaths of drunk college men in the Midwest and northeastern United States: a smiley face at the scene of the crime. Watch the original report here.
Piehl no longer works at KSTP, but it appears she is still investigating this theory as her full time job. She says there are now close to 70 similar cases reported and the parents are convinced their sons were murdered. They are calling for a federal investigation of the case.
Well the conspiracy is back in the spotlight. ABC's Good Morning America had an interview this morning with Piehl and the father of one of the supposed victims. NBC's Today Show also had a report. Check out the videos below.
The ABC report is available here.
Here is NBC's report. A former FBI profiler is interviewed in this piece saying the theories have no merit:
MinnPost's David Brauer previewed the reports, citing examples of local media debunking or doubting the theory from her original report.
Authorities have repeatedly checked out the theory, spun by two retired ex-New York cops, and found it wanting. In Minneapolis, police rejected links to the well-publicized Chris Jenkins disappearance. The FBI says there is no proof a killer or killers are at work: "The vast majority of these instances appear to be alcohol-related drownings."Does this conspiracy still have merit locally? Are you a smiley-face killer believer?
In a memorable takedown, then-Minnesota Monitor staffer Steve Perry flayed the story, writing, "Let the record show that Kristi Piehl of KSTP has done her part to bring the yarn to the huddled masses yearning to breathe the vapors of another massive conspiracy." Over at Mpls.St.Paul, Brian Lambert wrote that the theory, "Boggles ... every rational instinct."