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On Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 a memorial service commemorating the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of St. John’s University student Joshua Guimond was held at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Josh’s home town of Maple Lake, Minn. The 20-year-old junior vanished mysteriously while returning on foot from a card game at Metten Court to his room in nearby St. Maur House around midnight on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2002.

Josh remains missing and his case appears no closer to resolution than the day he vanished 10 years ago.

Vist the “Find Joshua” website at http://www.findjoshua.com/

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Related reports

10 Years and Counting in Search for Joshua

Joshua Guimond
Joshua Guimond

By Theresa Andrus
Maple Lake Messenger
November 7, 2012

It has been 10 years since Joshua Cheney Guimond disappeared without a trace from the campus of St. John’s campus in Collegeville.

Joshua, the only son of Brian Guimond and Lisa Cheney, was a 2000 graduate of Maple Lake High School and a star student. He served as president of his class, was the student council representative to the school board, and was voted Most Likely to Succeed by his classmates.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 10, 2002, Joshua, a 20-year-old junior, disappeared after leaving a gathering of friends to walk back to his dorm. There was speculation by local law enforcement that Joshua had stumbled into a nearby body of water, but no trace of him was found. Friends and neighbors from Maple Lake traveled to Collegeville to join in the search, whether through official or unofficial efforts.

Joshua’s disappearance occurred in the same two-week period after three other young Minnesotans went missing, which prompted national attention and searches of the St. John’s campus that involved the National Guard, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department and numerous volunteers. When the official searches ended, the private efforts began, with a bloodhound and divers brought in several times to search the St. John’s campus and surrounding lakes.

The family of missing University of Minnesota student Christopher Jenkins connected the Guimond family to a dog handler and her bloodhound. An uncle of missing University of Wisconsin-Ear Claire student Michael Noll accompanied a group of divers to help in the search for Joshua on the frozen lakes at St. John’s. The Trident Foundation, which assisted in the search for Erika Dahlquist of Brainerd, brought in state of the art equipment to search and clear three St. John’s lakes.

However, Dahlquist disappeared under different circumstances than the three young men and the bodies of Jenkins and Noll were found early in 2003, with their deaths attributed to accidents that occurred after heavy drinking. But in 2007, the persistent efforts of the Jenkins family resulted in the reclassification by the Minneapolis Police Department of the death of Chris Jenkins from an accident to a homicide.

The possibility of criminal activity or a serial killer as the cause of the deaths was rekindled in 2006 when St. Cloud State student Scot Radel disappeared after a night of drinking in St. Cloud and his body was later found in the Mississippi River. After Radel’s death, the Criminal Justice students of SCSU professor Lee Gilbertson analyzed 40 cases of young men who disappeared nation-wide in the last decade. The highly publicized results of the study showed more than half of those cases occurred within close proximity to I-94, prompting speculation about an “I-94 killer.”

In the July 2007 Cosmopolitan magazine, those findings were repeated in a story entitled “Why Are These Young Guys Dying?” Although Joshua Guimond was not mentioned in that article, his photo was used and that drew a protest from Brian Guimond, who said the bodies of the other young men were found, but no trace of his son has ever been found.

In 2008, the I-94 killer became the “Smiley Face Killer” when two retired detectives from New York went public with the results of their investigation and attributed the drownings not to a single serial killer, but an organized group of killers. The “Smiley Face Killer” label arose because the detectives often found spray-painted variations of a smiley face near where the victims went into the water. Those reports were aired by Twin Cities media and in a May 2008 issue of People Magazine.

For the seventh anniversary of Joshua’s disappearance in November of 2009, rallies urging further investigation of the case were held on the St. John’s campus and at the Stearns County Law Enforcement Center in St. Cloud. Crews from Twin Cities television stations covered the gathering and a petition with 461 names was presented to Stearns County detective asking that St. John’s University and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department fully disclose all information about Joshua’s disappearance and all information about past crimes against students at St. John’s.

In May of 2010, Fox 9 News aired a story on the background of the case and what a technical expert found in a search of Joshua’s computer hard-drive. The investigation found that two days after Joshua went missing, someone accessed the computer and appeared to forward and delete hundreds of e-mails, using an Internet washer to clean items off the hard-drive. There was also evidence that someone had been using the computer to make fake IDs for other students. And an Internet search Joshua conducted about two weeks before he disappeared focused on sex abuse by some monks at St. John’s.

More information, reports over the past 10 years and messages concerning the case can be found at www.findjoshua.com.

At the time of the ninth anniversary of Joshua’s disappearance in 2011, Lamar Outdoor Advertising provided two billboards west of St. Cloud at no charge to the Guimond family that featured Joshua’s picture and encouraged anyone with information to call authorities.

Lisa Cheney said at times over the years, media outlets have expressed interest in the case, but hit a wall when they try to contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department. “They get to a certain point and they can’t get any information out of Stearns County,” she said. “It seems to happen every time.”

She said the relationship with the sheriff’s department was bad almost right from the start. “Of course we were upset, our son was missing,” Lisa said. “You would think they would have handled that better than they did.”

St. John’s used to send a letter to the family on each anniversary of Joshua’s disappearance, but that stopped after the fifth year. She said St. John’s did allow the family to bring a blood hound and drivers to the campus for searches, but there was so much more they could have done. “Josh was one of their own,” Lisa said. “They have the money and the power to do much more than Brian and I could do.”

“The main thing is why is St. John’s above the law and why is the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department letting them be above the law?” he asked, noting that sexual abuse cases involving staff or clergy at St. John’s are not getting the attention they deserve. Brian said he called Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner at the end of September, after having had no contact with his department in more than two years.

He said he was told a new detective has been assigned to the case, which has occurred a number of times over the past 10 years. “It was the same old, same old talk and do nothing,” he said, recalling his first encounter with the sheriff in 2002.

“After Josh went missing, the first thing in the early morning hours, the sheriff, right off the bat, says Josh fell in the water. And he said that with no evidence and no nothing. If that isn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is.”

In addition to media contacts over the past 10 years about the case, Lisa said she’s also received calls from psychics who think they can help to unusual requests from other law enforcement agencies.

“I had the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) contact me two years ago because they wanted my DNA, but they wouldn’t say why, so I didn’t do it,” she said. “Why would they want that eight years after the fact?”

But she said they finally told her they got a hold of a car from a person of interest and wanted to check it for Joshua’s DNA. This time, she gave it to them, but Joshua’s DNA was not found in the vehicle.

On the occasion of this 10th anniversary of Joshua’s disappearance, Lisa said the most important thing is to make sure her son is remembered.

“He’s still missing,” she said. “I want them to go on the news and say this is the 10th anniversary and remind people, because you never know who might have heard something or seen something. But the sad part is the people who say ‘He’s still missing? We thought they found him in the water.’ A lot of people don’t realize that, yes, the bodies of those other young people who disappeared around the same time were found. But not Josh.”

But the place where Joshua’s family feels supported and grateful for that support is right here at home.

“Maple Lake has done an outstanding job of supporting Brian and me,” Lisa said, citing the fundraisers during that first year that made investigations possible, people who volunteered to make ribbons to hang around town or those who stopped with a kind word, an offer to help, or a hug.

Ricky Smelser, Lisa’s boyfriend, pointed to the countless hours spent by fire department volunteers in searching for Joshua and the Maple Lake Lions who sponsored an annual scholarship in Joshua’s name.

And each of the past 10 years, Holy Cross Lutheran Church has held a remembrance service for Joshua.

“The pastors and the whole church, they’ve just been wonderful,” Lisa said. “And the people just for coming. I have this fear that one day, we’re going to go there and no one is going to come.”

This year’s service will include stories from some of Joshua’s friends and a balloon release will take place near the tree that was planted in his memory.

“It’s just a sad, sad deal,” Lisa said. “I think about all the things that Josh has missed over the years with his family and friends. “One of his friends told me that Josh always used to say he wanted to buy me a Lincoln Town Car,” Lisa said. “He was always worried about me and he wanted me to be safe. And I always told him I was going to live in the west wing of that big, fancy house he was going to have.”

Friends and family will have a chance to share their stories about Joshua at a prayer/remembrance service for Joshua Cheney Guimond at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Maple Lake at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 10. Classmates will be speaking about their memories of Josh, a balloon release will be conducted and remembrance wrist bands will be available at the church. Everyone is welcome to attend.

This article is reprinted in full, in the public interest

—————————————————————————

Friends, Family Gather to Remember Guimond on 10th Anniversary of Disappearance


Video not part of St. Cloud Times report

By Ben Katzner
St. Cloud Times
November 10, 2012

MAPLE LAKE — Ten years after the disappearance of St. John’s University student Josh Guimond, as many as 100 people crowded into Maple Lake’s Holy Cross Church on Saturday to remember.

Stories shared, fond memories were revisited and there were even some laughs. But the one thing they wanted most – Joshua to share in all those things with them – was still missing.

“It’s just a shame, I can picture him there, I can picture him with us but I really wish he was here,” said Guimond’s mother, Lisa Cheney. “It helps just to know that people out there still remember, that makes a big difference.”

Guimond was last seen in the dark hours of Nov. 9, 2002, leaving a friend’s campus apartment headed for his dorm. He was then a 20-year-old junior at St. John’s.

Somehing happened, although no one is quite sure what, and Guimond never made it back to his dorm. Weeks of searching, speculation and frustration followed, but ultimately led to few answers and plenty of questions.

Every year since, friends and family of Guimond have gathered to take part in the cathartic process of remembering.

“It’s awesome because the scariest thing about this whole deal is that you think that you’re the only one that remembers, and then you find out that you’re not the only one. There’s a lot of people out there that pray for him every day and they show their support,” Cheney said.

One of those supporters is Sartell’s Aubrey Immelman. He been following the incident since its start and involved in the search for Joshua almost as long. Immelman said that support for Guimond’s cause hasn’t seemed to lessen over the past decade, a sentiment evident Saturday.

“The church was full. It was about the most people I’ve seen,” he said. “It’s a somber atmosphere but the people are supportive of Josh’s family and it’s also a gathering of friends.”

“It’s sad. I never thought that it would be 10 years,” said Cheney. “He’s missed so much.”

Guimond is gone, but event’s like the one held Saturday make sure he is most definitely not forgotten Immelman said.

“It’s a bittersweet moment, it brings Josh back a little bit so he’s still there and it gives you somewhat of a sense that at least a little bit is happening,” he said. “It’s so important to keep it in the news. People assume that Josh has been found and that it’s all over, and people forget that we still have a missing student in our area.”

Cheney said the exposure is important to not only in her son’s case but other missing-person investigations too. Simply put, it shows that while headlines and coverage may dwindle, hope for good news and the aching for closure never dissipate.

“I’ll never have closure until we find Josh, one way or the other … we just want someone to come forward that knows what happened to him,” Cheney said.

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Updates

10 Years later, don’t forget Guimond

Aubrey Immelman
Letter to the Editor
St. Cloud Times
November 11, 2012

Ten years ago today, the parents of St. John’s University junior Joshua Guimond received a call no parent wants to hear: Their child was missing without a trace.

Josh was last seen leaving a residence hall on campus about midnight Nov. 9, 2002, presumably to return to his own room elsewhere on campus.

It’s been established that Josh did not go missing of his own accord; he’s not a runaway.

It’s also been established that Josh did not accidentally fall into any of the lakes on campus.

According to Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner, the Guimond case is classified as a “missing person investigation” and “anything is possible, including an abduction.”

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of Josh’s disappearance to remind readers that Jacob Wetterling is not the only missing person in our area and the murder of the Reker sisters is not the only unsolved homicide [link added 8/1/2016].

I also appeal to readers and St. Cloud-area leaders to demand that our local sheriff’s department refer Josh’s case to expert missing person investigators at the FBI.

Repeated pleas of my own have fallen on deaf ears, but law enforcement will respond if enough members of the public hold them accountable for their lack of progress in Josh’s case.

Reader comments

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Joshua Remembered At Prayer Service

A big crowd at the 10th anniversary prayer service for Joshua Guimond released balloons in his honor at Holy Cross Church.
A big crowd at the 10th anniversary prayer service for Joshua Guimond released balloons in his honor at Holy Cross Church.

By Theresa Andrus
Maple Lake Messenger
November 11, 2012

The 10th anniversary prayer and remembrance service for missing college student Joshua Guimond included friends sharing stories about Joshua, who disappeared from St. John’s University in Collegeville in 2002. Holy Cross Pastor Steve King began the service at Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Saturday with readings from scripture that signified the hope, endurance and strength of character that can be obtained through a relationship with Jesus Christ and provide guidance in tough times. …

Joshua’s college roommate, Nick Hudukovich told a couple of stories that occurred just before Josh disappeared. He said they were both involved in Mock Trial at St. John’s and a young woman on Nick’s team was having a “crisis of confidence.” Nick said Joshua went to talk to her, even though she wasn’t on his team, and apparently made a big impression. “But the time he was done, she was in great spirits and was going to compete that week,” Nick said, noting there’s no telling how much that act of kindness by Joshua may have affected the young woman’s life.

“That’s one thing I remember about Josh — his selflessness,” Nick said.” He added that Josh wanted to attend Yale law school, but not with the intention of gaining future power or money. “He didn’t have grand ambitions,” Nick said. “He wanted to go and give back to the local community. He wanted to run for the State House of Representatives and represent his community of Maple Lake.”

Nick said in this era of partisan politics, he would have liked to have seen Joshua work to bring people together. “His ideology was good government,” Nick said. “He wanted to work for all the people. More information appears in this week’s Messenger.

Full story

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Related reports on this site

Missing Person Joshua Guimond (Nov. 7, 2009)

Guimond: ‘Justice for Josh’ March (Nov. 9, 2009)

Josh Guimond: New Developments (May 24, 2010)


Josh Guimond (Photo credit: KMSP-TV Fox 9)

Refer Joshua Guimond Case to FBI (Nov. 10, 2010)

Minnesota Missing Person Linkage Analysis (June 22, 2011)


Penn State Scandal Highlights Joshua Guimond Mystery (Nov. 10, 2011)

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7 Responses to “Missing Person Joshua Guimond — Tenth Anniversary”
  1. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Penn State Scandal Highlights Joshua Guimond Mystery Says:

    [...] Missing Person Joshua Guimond — 10th Anniversary (Nov. 10, 2012) [...]

  2. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Missing Person Kevin Jay Ayotte Says:

    [...] Missing Person Joshua Guimond — 10th Anniversary (Nov. 10, 2012) [...]

  3. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Refer Joshua Guimond Case to FBI Says:

    [...] Missing Person Joshua Guimond — 10th Anniversary (Nov. 10, 2012) [...]

  4. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Guimond: “Justice for Josh” March Says:

    [...] Missing Person Joshua Guimond — 10th Anniversary (Nov. 10, 2012) [...]

  5. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Missing Person Joshua Guimond Says:

    [...] Missing Person Joshua Guimond — 10th Anniversary (Nov. 10, 2012) [...]

  6. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Josh Guimond: New Developments Says:

    [...] Joshua Guimond Missing — 10th Anniversary (Nov. 10, 2012) [...]

  7. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    Reader comments at http://www.sctimes.com/article/20121111/OPINION/311110023/Letter-10-years-later-don-t-forget-Guimond »

    Aubrey Immelman:

    More information: Missing Person Joshua Guimond — 10th Anniversary

    http://www.immelman.us/news/missing-person-joshua-guimond-tenth-anniversary/

    John Ellenbecker:

    “It’s also been established that Josh did not accidentally fall into any of the lakes on campus.” Not true.

    Aubrey Immelman:

    That’s incorrect, John.

    The Trident Foundation — the nation’s leading underwater search organization — reported in May 2003, after an intensive search using state-of-the-art technology, that Josh Guimond was not in any of the three lakes on campus as initially thought.

    In his written report, Trident executive director Scott Romme recommended that the search for Guimond should “head in another direction.”

    Efforts by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department, “coupled with our technologies and efforts,” Romme wrote in his report, “should provide a very high degree of reassurance to the family and the community that Josh is most probably somewhere else.”

    http://www.maplelakemessenger.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=4359&SectionID=15&SubSectionID=15&S=1

    John Ellenbecker:

    Aubrey Immelman – Trident isn’t the final word. To state that it has been “established” that Josh didn’t accidentally drown is simply not true. It may be established in your mind – but it is by no means an established fact. The reason law enforcement isn’t doing more is because they believe that he accidentally drowned – because in all likelihood he did.

    John Ellenbecker:

    Mother nature could have – and very likely did – effectively remove evidence of Josh long before Trident began their search.

    Aubrey Immelman:

    John: Your argument flies in the face of logic. There was a drowning in Lake Sagatagan on the St. John’s campus several years ago when a canoe capsized well away from land. One body was recovered by divers the same night and the other victim was recovered the next day.

    I’m not aware of any drowning victim in Minnesota in the past decade who has not been recovered. Moreover, the area of Stumpf Lake that Josh would have passed when crossing the culvert from Metten Court to his room in St. Maur House is only about waist deep and in November you can see the bottom for some distance out from the shoreline. It’s implausible that Josh could have fallen in and not have been found almost immediately.

    Your suggestion that “law enforcement isn’t doing more is because they believe that [Josh] accidentally drowned” is a slap in the face of St. John’s University and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department. Do you really think St. John’s would turn its back on a missing student and his family by not moving heaven and earth to recover the body of a missing student on their own campus?

    Furthermore, after the Trident Foundation had cleared all bodies of water at St. John’s, Stearns County Sheriff Sanner responded, “We felt more comfortable in looking at other possibilities after the Trident search. … But that’s not to say that Josh didn’t walk into a heavily swampy area and sink into the mud.”

    So, in May 2004, about 10 members of the sheriff department’s Mounted Reserves searched areas that had been too wet to cover in earlier searches. They searched lowland areas near the university for about 3½ hours, but found nothing.

    Sheriff Sanner concluded that no more searches would be conducted unless new information came to investigators.

    “Mounted Reserves find nothing in search for missing SJU student” (Kelly Scott. St. Cloud Times, May 6, 2004).

    John Ellenbecker:

    The simplest, most obvious answer is usually the correct one. A drunk student stumbling through an area of lakes on a cold November night is most likely to have stumbled into one of those lakes, suffered hypothermia and drowned.

    Aubrey Immelman:

    “Mother nature could have – and very likely did – effectively remove evidence of Josh long before Trident began their search.” (John Ellenbecker)

    John: Now you’re being ridiculous.

    Josh disappeared Nov. 10, shortly before the lakes froze over and the Trident search was conducted in May 2003, not long after ice-out. If Josh had fallen into a lake on campus, decomposition would have been minimal.

    But assuming, for argument’s sake, that Josh did fall into a lake 10 years ago, his skeletal remains would still be intact today and his jeans, shoes, and hooded St. John’s sweatshirt would still be recoverable.

    John Ellenbecker:

    I didn’t say anything about decomposition.

    Paula Yocom:

    I’ve witnessed a lot of apparent collusion and seeming indifference before, but it appears the way the Guimond case has been handled is at the top of the list.

    There has been no evidence — none at all — not a shred, to indicate that Joshua Guimond fell into a lake on campus.

    [...]

    So myself and many others continue to ask the question — what would cause certain people to give a great hue and cry when people want answers about what happened to Joshua Guimond? Other than to say he fell into a lake. That’s about as lame as it gets. Pathetic, too.

    John Ellenbecker:

    Paula Yocom – “There has been no evidence — none at all — not a shred, to indicate that Joshua Guimond fell into a lake on campus.” There has been no evidence — none at all — not a shred, to indicate that Joshua Guimond was abducted.

    John Ellenbecker:

    If you know the area in which Josh was walking you can see that logic and common sense suggest that a drunken college student is much more likely to have stumbled into one of the lakes he was walking next to, suffered hypothermia, and drowned.

    As unpleasant is this is to imagine, those lakes are filled with snapping turtles whose diet consists largely of carrion. AI likes to discount this – but this is where logic and common sense come in. There is no evidence of an abduction – none – and there is a very logical, simple explaination for Josh’s disappearance which has nothing to do with an abduction. The simplest, most obvious answer is usually the correct one.

    John Ellenbecker:

    And before you dismiss the issue of snapping turtles – as AI does – “Common Snapping Turtles can sniff out carrion (dead animals), which they add to their diet of plants, small birds and fish. They are so fearless and aggressive that on occasion, they have been known to attack swimmers. Because of their unique ability to detect dead and rotting flesh, Common Snapping Turtles have been used to help police search for human corpses!”

    Aubrey Immelman:

    “… there is a very logical, simple explaination for Josh’s disappearance …” (John Ellenbecker)

    Well, what is it? If you’re suggesting it’s the ferocious snapping turtles at St. John’s that are so aggressive they’ve been known to attack swimmers, what do you think the turtles did with Josh’s skeleton and his clothes?

    Aubrey Immelman:

    “The simplest, most obvious answer is usually the correct one.” (John Ellenbecker).

    That’s true. The simplest explanation for a student disappearing on the campus of St. John’s University is an accidental drowning. But when the second-largest search (after Jacob Wetterling) in the history of Stearns County fails to recover a body in a relatively small, shallow lake, drowning is no longer “the simplest, most obvious answer.”

    And being totally consumed — flesh, bones, and clothes — by snapping turtles is not the simplest answer; it is speculative, convoluted, and implausible.

    True, turtles are commonly responsible for postmortem injuries to submerged human remains. Tissue damage typically appears as scalloped pits on exposed areas of the body. (Josh was wearing a t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt, jeans, and shoes.) Large turtle species such as alligator snapping turtles may produce crushing injuries to the facial bones. (Forensic Taphonomy: The Postmortem Fate of Human Remains, 1996, by William D. Haglund & Marcella Harnish Sorg)

    There were police divers and multiple boats with sonar and underwater cameras on the scene within hours of Josh being reported missing. In documented cases of drowning at St. John’s University, the victims’ bodies were recovered within 24 hours.

    Two other students in the region disappeared around the same time as Josh: Chris Jenkins on Oct. 31 and Michael Noll on Nov. 6, 2002 — four days before Josh. Chris was found four months later in the Mississippi River and Michael was found five months after he disappeared, at ice-out on Half Moon Lake in Eau Claire.

    Neither Chris not Michael was consumed by turtles — so why would Josh be?

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