The Joshua Guimond Case: Vanished from st Johns or eaten by turtles?

Since the late 1990′s, there have been over one hundred mysterious drowning deaths of young men, all in the mid west area of the U.S.A. Two retired New York Detectives believe the deaths are not mere accidental drowning deaths related to alcohol abuse.

As the cases kept on coming, more and more young men were found dead in rivers, lakes, creeks, there appeared there was a pattern, all the victims were of similar age, most were students, most were catholic. The detectives started tracing were they thought it most likely the bodies of the victims had entered the water, they repeatedly found near the place of entry into the water in many cases, graffiti with seemingly cryptic messages, and most famously of all smiley faces.

It was not until November 2002, that the first real leads pointing to possible perpetrators came into the picture. Two cases were connected during an investigation into the latest missing student .

The students name was Joshua Guimond, 20 years old from Maple lake Minnesota, a student at St Johns University, Collegeville, Minnesota. Joshua Guimond went missing from St Johns University on the night of November 9th, in 2002, after leaving a card game with close friends at the Metten Court student apartment at st Johns university. Sometime around midnight Joshua told his friends he was going back to his dorm room at St. Maur house, st Johns University.That was a three minute walk. Joshua was not inebriated according to his friends when he left the small card party.

The next day Joshua’s friends raised the alarm when he could not be found anywhere.

Sunday, November 10, 2002: Searches for Joshua began late in the day when he did not show up for mock trial team practice but only minimal searches could be conducted in the dark.

His roommate said he last saw Joshua around 8.30pm the previous night November 9th, before he went over to the card party at Metton Court.

Joshua was not depressed, was a very active conscientious student with many friends and was hoping to become a lawyer and serve in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Joshua had also been outspoken in his criticism of the abuse scandals that plagued st johns university and abbey.

Friends and family know Joshua to be so well planned and organised, Joshua did not have his glasses or contact lenses , his car which was undisturbed , credit cards or even his coat when he went missing, the weather was very bad at the time and there were no belongings at all missing from his room. This leads family and friends who really know Joshua to say that they know his disappearance must be foul play.

The search for Joshua included the National Guard, hundreds of local people who searched the grounds and lakes in the st johns university area, the Stearns County Sherriff’s department used horses and men on foot to search.

For days, volunteers and law enforcement searched the entire St. John’s campus and woodlands. Stumpf Lake was carefully checked.

The Sherriff’s Dept concentrated their efforts around stumpf lake, which runs between Metton court and St. Maurs house, assuming Josh had drowned.

The Trident foundation using underwater search equipment conducted a thorough search of all three lakes in the area and found no sign of Joshua.

Volunteers from the Trident Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to respond to drownings or water-based crime situations, brought sophisticated equipment to search the waters in Stumpf Lake, Gemini Lake and Sagatagan Lake on the St. Johns Campus. Sidescan sonar techniques with multiple directional passes, ensuring complete and overlapping coverage of the lakes, was conducted by the team. All three lakes were cleared with no relevant evidence found.

Mar 12, 2004 – Joshua’s dad, Brian Guimond , voices concern over the way his missing sons’ case is being handled.

With no clues as to Joshua’s whereabouts after three years , Guimond presented members of the Stearns County Board with a packet of information and spoke about his frustration with the search efforts conducted by the Stearns County Sherifs Department. He reminded board members that it took two requests to the county board before the Trident Foundation, a nationally acclaimed non-profit organization designed to respond to drownings or water-based crime situations, was allowed to search and clear the lakes on the St. Johns campus. Guimond said he was then told by Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner that Joshua must have fallen into a swampy area of the campus.

However, on Nov. 18, 2004, Bradley Wenz of the Minnesota Soil & Water Conservation District reported that he had not experienced a natural soil type that could draw in and cover a body in a short period of time. Guimond said that on Feb. 15 of 2005, he met with Attorney General Mike Hatch about additional concerns with the investigation that included delays in conducting a search after Joshua disappeared, delays in interviewing students and the failure to examine the hard drive of Joshua’s computer. “As you can see, the facts state that the investigation has not been performed in a timely manner and some things have never been done,” Guimond said. “As a parent, you can see how this has been very frustrating. I think it is time somebody is held accountable for their mistakes. It is obvious that we have had no cooperation from the first day. And if anything, we have been lied to and misled. This is my son, a human being“not a missing animal“that we are talking about and trying to find.”

At the conclusion of the board meeting, the commissioners held a brief discussion about Guimond’s presentation and concluded that a letter would be sent to Guimond notifying him that a decision was made not to take any action on the issue.

The letter will address the decision that they made, not to tell the sheriff how to run his department, said Roxanne Gerads, Stearns County Administrative Assistant.

Timeline of events in the search for Joshua

Saturday, November 9, 2002: Joshua Guimond , a junior at St. Johns University and a 2000 graduate of Maple Lake High School, was last seen at the north end of the St. Johns Campus leaving a party at approximately midnight to walk home to his on-campus apartment in St. Maur House.

Sunday, November 10, 2002: Searches for Joshua began late in the day when he did not show up for mock trial team practice but only minimal searches could be conducted in the dark.

Monday, November 11, 2002: The entire St. Johns campus and surrounding areas were searched by horse and foot, including buildings, the power plant and all wooded areas. Divers from the Stearns County Sheriffs Department searched a slough on campus after a search dog led them to the area. The Minnesota State Patrol aided in the search sending helicopters to do an arial search of the woods on and around campus, and a state-wide alert by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Minnesota Crime Alert Network Missing Persons Bulletin went out in all major media and twin cities newscasts.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002: Campus buildings continued to be searched, as stated by Michael Hemmesch, St. Johns Director of Communications. He also stated that the Stearns County Sheriffs Department was conducting the search and had not yet asked for help from local volunteers. Offers from Maple Lake High School were turned down by the Stearns County Sheriffs department, which said that only prayers were needed at this time.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002: The Minnesota National Guard stepped in to aid in the search, providing 118 troops and equipment and searching a 16-square mile area surrounding campus, including swamps and woods. After a search dog picked up Joshua’s scent near Stumpf Lake, a snake-like body of water located on the route Joshua would have taken back to his apartment, the decision to lower the water level in order to search the lake was approved. Searches and dragging of the lake uncovered no clues. Requests to totally drain Stumpf Lake awaited DNR approval.

Thursday, November 14, 2002: Brian Guimond attended a meeting and press conference at the State Capitol for families of three other missing students and met the Jenkins family, who would later help the Guimond family in their search for Joshua.

November 24, 2002: A search organized by Guimond’s family of 75-100 volunteers, mostly from Maple Lake, combed the woods around the St. Johns campus. A report from Lt. Dave Nohner from the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department said the sonar search of Stumpf Lake was unsuccessful in yielding any evidence in the disappearance.

Week of Dec 2: The Stearns County Sheriff’s Dept. had contacted and questioned eight of the nine students present at the party the night Joshua disappeared, but stated that they were unable to contact the remaining student.

December 19, 2002: Yellow ribbons were tied to every sign, post, tree and fence in Maple Lake by Maple Lake High School Student Council members as visual reminders of the search for Joshua. Newscasts, KARE 11 TV and KSTP TV from the Twin Cities and the St. Cloud Times, were all present to cover the event.

December 29, 2002

Chris Jenkins’ scent traced to st johns abbeys’ doors -Hoover the blood hound is blocked from entering the abbey.

Hoover then follows Joshuas’ scent from Metton Court to Stumpf Lake, then to Joshuas’ apartment a  st Maurs, then from there to st Johns’ abbey.

Again the search is halted , the dog is blocked from entering st johns abbey.

December 29, 2002: The scent of Chris Jenkins, a missing University of Minnesota student, was traced to St. Johns by Hoover, a man-trailing bloodhound hired by the Jenkins family. Hoover traced the scent to St. Johns Abbey and the dog showed interest of entering.

From the apartment where Joshua Guimond was last seen, Hoover followed his scent to Stumpf Lake, on to Joshua’s apartment and then on to the Abbey.

January 5, 2003

Hoover finds Joshuas’ scent at the rear of the interior of the  very large building that is st johns abbey.

January 5, 2003: Hoover appeared to pick up Joshua’s scent in the back of the Abbey after gaining permission to enter and then to the lake behind the Abbey.

NEWS RELEASE  January 8, 2003:   ATTACKS CREDIBILITY OF SEARCH DOG HOOVER- ACHIEVES MOVING OF SEARCH FROM ABBY AREA TO OTHER SEARCH AREAS

January 8, 2003: Stearns County Sheriffs Dept. sent divers into East Gemini Lake, across from Stumpf Lake, while the lake behind St. Johns Abbey, Sagatagan Lake, was only searched with underwater cameras. The Sheriffs Dept. said divers went into East Gemini because a news release claimed the credibility of Hoover was in question. The news release also stated that there had been no indication of any member of St. Johns academic or monastic community being involved in the disappearance of Joshua.

January 18, 2003, SEARCHERS ASKED TO STOP SEARCHING WITH HOOVER- PETS NOT ALLOWED ON CAMPUS

January 18, 2003: Hoover was brought out again and followed Joshua’s scent to Sagatagan Lake and out onto the lake. Hoover had traced the scent to the center of the lake when St Johns Life Safety staff member asked the group to leave for interfering with the investigation conducted by the Stearns County Sheriffs Dept. and because pets were not allowed on campus. A later clarification by Michael Hemmesch, Director of Communications at St. Johns, stated that both reasons were true but the crew was actually asked to leave because the search was not coordinated through the Stearns County Sheriffs Dept. and their search would impede on the investigation.

PRIVATE SEARCH OF SAGATAGAN LAKE USING HOOVER AND UNDERWATER CAMERAS IS APPROVED BY ABBOT OF ST JOHNS ABBEY JOHN CLAUSAN AND STEARNS COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT

January 18, 2003: The Guimond family was notified that private searches could be conducted as long as Abbot John Clausen of St. Johns was notified prior to the event and the Stearns County Sheriffs Department approved the action. Hoover returned to Sagatagan Lake and a perimeter was established by holes drilled in the ice. A camera purchased with funds from Find Joshua was used though no clues were found.

February 27, 2003, BODY OF CHRIS JENKINS FOUND IN MISSISSIPPI RIVER NEAR DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS

February 27, 2003: The body of Chris Jenkins, the missing U of M student, was found in the Mississippi River near downtown Minneapolis. The Jenkins and Guimond families had been working together to find their sons after both were reported missing within the same two-week period. (9 days between them.)

February 27, 2003 , PLANNED IN DEPTH PRIVATE SEARCH BY SEARCH DOG HOOVER WHO MADE SCENT TRACE OUTLINE OF AN AREA INCLUDING TWO BOATHOUSES IS STOPPED BY STEARNS COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT

At St. Johns, a private crew, funded by Find Joshua, conducted an under-water search in two areas outlined by Hoover. The plan also included Hoover searching an area and two boathouses near the lake and Brian Guimond said the appropriate authorities were notified prior to the search. On the day of the search, a deputy on-site stated that a search warrant was required to search the boathouses. A later statement by Pam Jensen, Stearns County Sheriffs Dept. captain, said that it was not necessary for Brian and his crew to search the boathouses as they had already been searched.

End of March, 2003, MICHAEL NOLL FOUND DEAD IN HALF MOON LAKE

End of March, 2003: The body of Michael Noll from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the third missing college student, was found in Half Moon Lake in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The Guimond family requested additional search efforts from the Stearns County Board of Commissioners, asking that the Trident Foundation be allowed to search the lakes on the St. Johns Campus.

End of April, 2003 FURTHER DOGS BROUGHT IN – ONLY SEARCH STUMPF LAKE AREA

End of April, 2003: Searches continued with help of search dogs from North Star Search and Rescue and Canine Search Services, which combed the area around Stumpf Lake. A sonar unit operated by Ken Anderson of Emergency Support Services scanned Stumpf Lake.

STUMPF LAKE RULED OUT BY SHERIFFS DEPT

April 29, 2003: Stumpf Lake was dragged, though no evidence was found. Sheriffs Department Detective, Kerry Beckenbach, said no more searches of Stumpf Lake by the Sheriffs dept. were planned at that time.

May 8, 2003: The Stearns and Benton Sheriffs Departments spent an hour diving areas previously designated by search dogs and sonar in Stumpf Lake, but were unsuccessful in finding any clues.

TRIDENT FOUNDATION SEARCH ALL LAKES NOTHING FOUND

May 13 & 14, 2003: Volunteers from the Trident Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to respond to drownings or water-based crime situations, brought sophisticated equipment to search the waters in Stumpf Lake, Gemini Lake and Sagatagan Lake on the St. Johns Campus. Sidescan sonar techniques with multiple directional passes, ensuring complete and overlapping coverage of the lakes, was conducted by the team. All three lakes were cleared with no relevant evidence found.

STEARNS COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT RULE OUT ANY MORE SEARCHES OF ANY OF ST JOHNS PROPERTIES

Early June 2003: A letter sent to the Guimond family by St. Johns stated that the Stearns County Sheriffs Department recently indicated that the St. Johns property had been satisfactorily examined and no further searches were planned at the time.

TEN PEOPLE PROTEST THE HALTING OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO JOSHUA GUIMOND’S DISAPPEARANCE.

June 18, 2003: On Joshua’s 21st birthday, a demonstration of approximately ten people, organized by Brian Guimond , rallied outside the Stearns County Courthouse in St. Cloud asking for more activity into the investigation.

November 9, 2003

JOSHUA’S FAMILY AND FRIENDS GATHER AT HOLY CROSS LUTHERAN CHURCH FOR A ONE YEAR MEMORIAL FOR JOSHUA- AN OAK TREE DEDICATED TO JOSHUA WAS PLANTED.

November 9, 2003: One year after the date that Joshua disappeared, family and friends gathered at Holy Cross Lutheran Church to share memories and find support through the continuing difficult time. An oak tree dedicated to Joshua was planted at Holy Cross Lutheran Church.

March 12, 2004:

St johns University Via The Order Of St Benedict take out court Order of restraint against Joshua Guimond’s father to stop him from further searching for his son at St Johns University and St Johns Abbey and they win.

March 12, 2004 St. Johns University, through the Order of St. Benedict, Inc., requested and was granted a temporary Harassment Restraining Order against Brian Guimond , Joshuas’ father. A hearing was set that would later put the order into effect for two years.

Timeline of the above was taken from an article by Theresa Andrus and Angela Stegeman

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This entry was posted in Brian Guimond, Chris Jenkins, Chronology, Chuck Loesch, Drowning Deaths, Homicide, Hoover, John Klassen, Joshua Guimond, Michael Noll, Missing, scent trace, St Johns Abbey, Stearns county Sheriff and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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