Unsolved case raises questions 3 years later

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It was a frigid November night when he vanished from SJU without leaving his glasses, his coat or any solid clues to his whereabouts behind.

Three years and a day later, Joshua Guimond is still missing.

A lack of information surrounding his disappearance has left Guimond’s family members and friends bewildered at what appears to be a stall in the case.

“It’s important for people to realize that SJU is not leading this investigation,” said Michael Hemmesch, director of media relations.

That’s causing some to fear Guimond’s impact is fading from the CSB/SJU community. The senior class of 2006 is the last to witness the investigation.

“He certainly won’t be forgotten,” said senior Anthony Mayerhofer, Guimond’s friend and Mock Trial teammate.

Guimond disappeared shortly past midnight Saturday, Nov. 9, 2002 after leaving alone from a gathering in Metten Court.

Foul play?

Stearns County Detective Steve Soyka said nothing in Guimond’s case points to foul play.

But that theory, Soyka said, is as strong — or weak — as any other.

“There isn’t any physical evidence or eyewitness testimony that would lead us to believe it’s a crime of any kind,” Soyka said. “It’s still a missing persons case.”

Aubrey Immelman, a psychology professor who specializes in crimes research at CSB/SJU said he believes otherwise.

He said circumstantial evidence indicates Guimond may have been abducted and that foul play should not be ruled out.

“After reading books, it seems to me this is foul play and the motive was sexual,” Immelman said.

In fact, Immelman said his research suggests Guimond’s disappearance could be linked to the 1989 Jacob Wetterling abduction by someone he believes is a sexual sadist in the Stearns County area.

But Soyka said this isn’t true.

“There is definitely no correlation between Jacob Wetterling and Josh Guimond,” Soyka said.

A common thread

Based on his research, Immelman said Guimond had worked at SJU’s former video store. He also said that before his abduction, Wetterling had biked to a video store to rent “Naked Gun” with a friend.

Immelman said a common thread such as this is attractive to sexual sadists.

“Serial killers operate in their comfort zone, within 10 miles of where they live,” Immelman said. “They’re highly territorial.”

Sexual sadists are also more likely than other sex offenders to hide their victims’ bodies and target young males like Guimond, Immelman said.

He said his research maintains that if Guimond was abducted, the suspect would’ve been older, in a position of authority and familiar with the St. John’s campus.

Immelman said the abductor wouldn’t have been aware of the bus schedule and of surveillance “blind spots.”

Remembering Josh

Mayerhofer remembers the Monday after the disappearance. It was an odd cycle day. The Link exited through St. John’s rear entrance on Stearns County Road 51.

“Tragedies always happen on beautiful days,” Mayerhofer said. “Next thing you knew, helicopters were everywhere.”

Later that month, dogs traced Guimond’s scent to Stumpf Lake. No additional information has reinforced this finding.

Other fruitless investigations have cast serious doubts on the idea that Guimond fell into the lake and drowned.

Meanwhile, posters of Guimond sprawled every bulletin board and painted concrete walls across campus. Few remain today.

The “Find Joshua” sign at the entrance to St. John’s is gone.

Jason Laker, SJU dean of students, said this doesn’t mean Guimond has been forgotten.

“[The sign] became worn and tattered by the weather,” Laker said.

New posters will be issued and hung, and a memorial plaque will now commemorate Guimond.

The plaque will hang permanently inside Sexton and contain vital information to help others identify him.

Laker also plans to introduce a “memory box” where family, friends and supporters can drop notes.

But Mayerhofer said these efforts aren’t enough.

“I think [the sign] should still be there. That’s not too large a price to pay to keep the hope alive,” he said.

Keeping hope alive

Guimond, a political science major, would likely be in law school today.

He co-founded the CSB/SJU Mock Trial team with Nick Hydukovich in 2000.

“The thing that made him good was [his ability] to wear you out, the way he structured his arguments and details,” said senior David Schonhardt, also a Mock Trial teammate. “He could beat you if he wanted to.”

“But on top of that, he would always encourage you to excel toward his abilities rather than make you feel inferior,” Mayerhofer said.

Guimond’s legacy

Hemmesch said SJU’s main concern is to do “anything and everything possible” to find Guimond.

“We certainly offer our prayers to the Guimond family and Josh’s friends as they continue to wait, search and hope for his safe return,” Hemmesch said.

In the meantime, Mayerhofer and Schonhardt hope Mock Trial can eventually host its own tournament in Guimond’s name.

“After Nick [Hydukovich], Josh was definitely the best mind in the legal program here thus far,” Mayerhofer said. “His depth of knowledge we have to pass on.”

They keep reviving old stories about cases he helped them win.

It keeps the memories alive.

Unsolved case raises questions 3 years later
Greg Ruhland
The Record
November 10, 2005

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Topics: Aubrey Immelman, Jason Laker, Joshua Guimond, Michael Hemmesch

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