Tuesday [Nov. 9, 2004] marked the second anniversary of the disappearance of SJU student Joshua Guimond, and still there are no answers.
The St. Cloud Times reported on May 6, 2004 that Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner has said that the most likely explanation for Guimond’s disappearance “is that he wandered away from the party [i.e., the card game] and either fell into a lake or one of the swampy areas on campus.”
However, all three lakes on campus had been cleared by the Trident Foundation — the top search team in the nation — in May 2003.
After an exhaustive search, Scott Romme, executive director of the foundation, recommended that the search for Guimond head in another direction: “Efforts [by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department] coupled with our technologies and efforts should provide a very high degree of reassurance to the family and the community that Josh is most probably somewhere else” (Maple Lake Messenger, May 21, 2003).
Sanner responded that although the Trident Foundation did not find any trace of Guimond in the three lakes it investigated, the search did not rule out the possibility that Guimond was in one of the lakes.
” ‘We felt more comfortable in looking at other possibilities after the Trident search,’ Sanner said.
‘But that’s not to say that Josh didn’t walk into a heavily swampy area and sink into the mud’…” (Maple Lake Messenger, Nov. 5, 2003).
On May 6, 2004, the St. Cloud Times reported that about 10 members of the sheriff department’s Mounted Reserves had searched areas that had been too wet to cover in earlier searches.
They searched lowland areas near the university for about 3 1/2 hours, but found nothing.
The sheriff then said that no more searches were planned, unless new information came to investigators.
(1) The premier underwater search team in the United States has cleared any lakes that Guimond could plausibly have fallen into.
(2) After the Trident Foundation ruled out the lakes, law enforcement authorities (who are not underwater search experts) were reluctant to discount the possibility that Guimond was in one of the three lakes investigated, but held forth the possibility that Guimond may have walked into a heavily swampy area and sunk into the mud.
This speculation flies in the face of logic.
It seems implausible that Guimond could have wandered off into the darkness toward a swampy area.
To do so, he would not only have had to proceed in the opposite direction from his intended destination (his residence hall), but he would also have had to walk away from the broad, well-lit, paved pedestrian walkway that he had taken numerous times before to and from his destination.
(3) There is no factual or credible information that supports the speculation that Guimond may have walked into a swamp and sunk into the mud.
However, if authorities really believe this is a possibility, it is imperative they drain these low-lying areas and conduct a conclusive search to exclude this possibility.
(4) There is no evidence that Guimond vanished of his own accord.
He was without his car, glasses or a coat warm enough for the frigid mid-November weather.
None of his credit cards have been used and there has been no contact with any friends or family members in the two years since his disappearance.
To conclude, the St. Cloud Times Tuesday quoted Sanner as saying there is no evidence that Guimond was abducted or was the victim of any crime.
However, this does not eliminate the possibility that Guimond could have been abducted by a meticulous perpetrator who left no evidence of a crime.
In view of the circumstances, an abduction appears to be the most plausible explanation for Guimond’s disappearance.
A particularly compelling argument is that another young male, Jacob Wetterling, was abducted just a few miles away 13 years earlier and sexual predators are known to be highly territorial.
It would be foolish and irresponsible to discount two disappearances of young males in close proximity as an unfortunate coincidence.
All Possibilities Should Be Investigated in Guimond Case
By Aubrey Immelman
The Record (CSB/SJU)
Nov. 11, 2004