A theory has developed that credits the drowning deaths of a number of young men in the Midwest and Northeastern United States to the work of a serial homicide offender. In 1999, journalists first reported that college-aged students were drowning in rivers after an evening of heavy drinking (Maller). These deaths were said to form a pattern, and it was soon proposed that it was the work of a serial killer, or team of killers, who were deliberately targeting young men for murder (Kaye, 2008). Smiley face graffiti was sometimes, though not always, discovered near these death scenes. This serial murder explanation is now called the smiley face murder theory (Smiley, 2010).
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