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Body found in river ID'd as son of Packers coach; police seek help (Smiley Face Murder?)
fox news ^ | 01/10/2012 | fn

Posted on 01/10/2012 10:07:50 AM PST by milwguy

The body recovered Monday from the icy waters of a Wisconsin river is the son of Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, Oshkosh police told FoxNews.com.

The autopsy of Michael T. Philbin, 21, who was reported missing Sunday night, is being conducted today but will likely take weeks before a cause of death is determined.

The body found in the Fox River in Oshkosh, about 50 miles south of Green Bay. Police delayed releasing the identification according to the wishes of the Philbin family.

Michael was last heard from Sunday at about 2:00am local time. He had gone to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to visit friends.

At around 2:30am Sunday a man called police to report that he believed he heard someone fall through the ice of the Fox River.

The elder Philbin, 50, has been the offensive coordinator of the Packers since 2007 and interviewed last week for the Dolphins' head coaching vacancy.

The Packers had a bye this past weekend, and will host the Giants in the Divisional Round next Sunday.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: philbin
Another young male college student drowns in the Wisconsin. Another drowning probably will be attributed to too much alcohol. Another drowning that will leave more questions than answers. Is there a chance the Smiley Face Killer has struck again?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smiley_face_murder_theory

First a map of the area

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&cp=12&gs_id=d&xhr=t&qscrl=1&nord=1&rlz=1T4ADFA_enUS379US405&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&ion=1&biw=1280&bih=558&wrapid=tljp1326216964654024&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=axletech+oshkosh&fb=1&gl=us&hq=axletech&hnear=0x8803e959eab78c29:0x2cc15c76194bf1da,Oshkosh,+WI&cid=0,0,10397190978279565694&ei=BHcMT-OSB-Pt0gGx78mSBg&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&sqi=2&ved=0CBYQ_BI

I used to work in Oshkosh and know the area where Philbin went in the river very well. The weather this winter has been unseasonably warm and as a result most lakes are not close to being frozen over to a degree which would make them safe to walk on, let alone the Fox River.

The area where Philbin went in is adjacent to UW Oshkosh campus, and is the river which separates Lake Butte Des Mortes from Lake Winnebago. The river is the last area to freeze up because of the current. Lakes Winnebago and BTM are among the first to freeze in the area, because they are very shallow, but as you can even see from the pictures, there is a lot of open water evident with just a small amount of ice extending from each side of the river bank.

The obvious question is why would Philbin go out on the ice? It was after bar time, so even though a lot of bars on on the other side of the river, that seems very unlikely. The area is really in the heart of downtown Oshkosh, and the river would be impossible to stumble into, especially if the first 30-50 feet of each side of the river were frozen. My guess is that you could not help but see the open water in front of you if you were walking that direction.

So why would a guy on the Deans list of a highly rated private college go walking onto a frozen river at 2:30 am? The other cases were mostly along the Mississippi River where the theory was the guys went to the river's edge (in LaCrosse, Wi. the river is along a walkway about 8-1o ft above the level of the river and if you fall in, you certainly get swept downstream by the swift current.

I can only surmise that Philbin had to have been disoriented due to being drunk, and perhaps was chased out there by persons unknown.

It is just beyond my capacity, knowing the area as well as I do, to think anyone would wander out on that thin ice unknowingly, no matter how drunk they were.

1 posted on 01/10/2012 10:07:56 AM PST by milwguy
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To: milwguy

Are there ice fishing shacks on that body of water? They are all over up in NE with warmer winters but freezing conditions each night and colder days have built up the ice cover for the spot.


2 posted on 01/10/2012 10:14:55 AM PST by fight_truth_decay
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To: milwguy
The Smiley Faced Killer thesis is not unreasonable. On the other hand Nederland has a number of deaths every year where people simply trip and fall into a Sluice or Canal and drown in a couple of minutes.

The problem is there are a lot of sluices and canals in that country, but many of them are in "downtown" areas where there are a plenitude of bars and beer joints.

So, is it the fall or the degree of inebriation that contributes most to their deaths, or, perhaps, there are crazy people and weirdos lurking about the Canals and Sluices in Nederland who rush out to trip such folk and push them into the Canals and Sluices?

There are invariably Heineken beer coasters in the vicinity of these Nederland events.

3 posted on 01/10/2012 10:18:12 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: milwguy

Very interesting


4 posted on 01/10/2012 10:20:19 AM PST by MattinNJ
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To: muawiyah
There are invariably Heineken beer coasters in the vicinity of these Nederland events.

Big Beer's fault.

5 posted on 01/10/2012 10:20:46 AM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: milwguy
Prayers for the Philbin family.
I don't know if anything nefarious occurred (save what happened long ago). The kid might have been bright, but the mixture of alcohol and youth often leads to dumb decision - no matter how bright the kid is by nature.
Prayers that the Good Lord may provide comfort and peace to his loved ones over this terrible loss.
6 posted on 01/10/2012 10:21:02 AM PST by El Cid (Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house...)
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To: fight_truth_decay

There are NEVER ice fishing shacks on the river. In both Lakes I would say there probably are, as sturgeon spearing season in Winnebago starts in about a month. From what I recall (I worked in Oshkosh 20 yrs or so ago), the river never seems to freeze completely over due to the current.

The river is a stretch a couple miles long between the two lakes (Winnebago and BTM) and maybe a 100-150 yards wide in most places.


7 posted on 01/10/2012 10:23:20 AM PST by milwguy
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To: milwguy

“””So why would a guy on the Deans list of a highly rated private college go walking onto a frozen river at 2:30 am?”””

Beer.

I am amazed that I survived during that age period. I was invincible, bulletproof and I could fly, as long as I had a few too many in me.

Prayers to the family.


8 posted on 01/10/2012 10:44:46 AM PST by shelterguy
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To: milwguy

Maybe. A friends Dad was a US attorney. He said they don’t catch most serial killers.

Not a man to talk with about such things. The cases he worked on were pretty horrible at times.


9 posted on 01/10/2012 10:46:34 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: El Cid

You’ve got that right - in college i didn’t drink (found out, the hard way, i was allergic to beer and couldn’t afford the good stuff) - so I was the designated driver. I pulled more fellow midshipmen out of bad situations then I care to recall - and we’re supposedly the cream of the nation according to some.

Course it had it’s benefits - i drove everything you could imagine - porsches, alfa romeos (sp?), a hearse one guy had...


10 posted on 01/10/2012 10:48:36 AM PST by reed13k (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.)
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To: shelterguy

I did some dumb things too, but walking out on thin ice was about the last thing I would ever consider no matter how drunk I was.


11 posted on 01/10/2012 10:48:48 AM PST by milwguy
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To: shelterguy

I did some dumb things too, but walking out on thin ice was about the last thing I would ever consider no matter how drunk I was.


12 posted on 01/10/2012 10:48:52 AM PST by milwguy
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To: milwguy
but will likely take weeks before a cause of death is determined.

Why?

13 posted on 01/10/2012 10:50:42 AM PST by Glenn (iamtheresistance.org)
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To: redgolum

The real curious thing is he was in Oshkosh to visit friends. First question is how did he get separated from his friends. When, what time, under what circumstances? He had his cell phone, so even if he was lost, he could have (and did call someone at 2:10 am) called his buddies to come get him. Oshkosh is not that big and the side of the river he was on is the side where the campus and housing is located, so no reason to cross the river that I can fathom.


14 posted on 01/10/2012 10:53:37 AM PST by milwguy
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To: milwguy
So, you go to the back to the restroom (ha!) and it's full ~ so you step out the back door because you are pressed for time.

Then, you figure you can just walk back around front and there isn't even an alley and these buildings are wall to wall with no clearance.

Next thing you know you are stepping into a creek/river/icepond/swimming pool/drainage area/basin and there you are.

Probably about 1 out of every 100 Americans can plunge suddenly into 32 degree water and survive for long without some assistance, or a shallow bottom ~ and then you've got 20 minutes ~ but that 1 out of 100 probably has 4 hours of margin ~ unless he drowns.

A lesson ~ never step out the backdoor at a beer joint. Plus, if it's wet stay away. If it's cold, stay indoors.

15 posted on 01/10/2012 11:08:16 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: Glenn

“Why?”

Toxicology test results take a few weeks.


16 posted on 01/10/2012 11:14:25 AM PST by momtothree
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To: milwguy

I did some dumb things too, but walking out on thin ice was about the last thing I would ever consider no matter how drunk I was.

<><><>

If you were still able to consider at all, you weren’t that drunk.

How did I hear it put one time? You haven’t really been drunk until you have to hold on to blades of grass to keep from falling off the face of the earth.


17 posted on 01/10/2012 11:17:24 AM PST by dmz
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To: milwguy

I have never heard of the Smiley murder cases so I looked it up. 40 young men in 11 states? The article stated 12 of those accidental deaths/possible murders had a “smiley face” used as graffiti nearby. Almost all were white young men, athletic and had been recently to a bar/drinking. Not sure if there is a serial killer or not... but it certainly is an interesting case.


18 posted on 01/10/2012 11:19:23 AM PST by momtothree
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To: momtothree

The majority were in Wisconsin, mostly along the Mississippi River.


19 posted on 01/10/2012 11:22:34 AM PST by milwguy
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To: milwguy
I remember the search for the missing physicist (2010) from the Chalk River nuclear plant in Ontario. FReepers followed it quite closely. Lachlan Cranswick left his house lights on, wallet and keys--they finally found him in the Ottawa river a few months later. His wandering off like that was considered suspicious especially late at night.

The Forum Websleuths followed this story closely.

20 posted on 01/10/2012 11:44:59 AM PST by fight_truth_decay
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To: milwguy

My first thought when I read this was that the Smiley Face killers are still at it.

Too many coincidences for this to have been an accident.

Now that it has happened to the son of a prominent person, perhaps a REAL investigation will take place?


21 posted on 01/10/2012 12:02:13 PM PST by Palladin (Vote for Rick Santorum: He is a REAL Catholic.)
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Could this death be attributable to Global Warming?


22 posted on 01/10/2012 12:05:26 PM PST by RC51
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To: Palladin

One thing that has occurred to me is that this happened very close to campus. I hope they have security cameras with recording capability around the area to see if possibly they picked up on something.


23 posted on 01/10/2012 12:27:58 PM PST by milwguy
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To: milwguy

I hope so. But these Smiley Face killers (if there is such a gang) probably know where the cameras are and how to avoid them.

I read a lot about the killings on Websleuths. This young man’s death seems to follow the pattern...young, handsome, vigorous men stay at a bar with friends until closing. Then the “friends” disappear. Guy on his own wanders into a river, creek, or stream and drowns. It’s usually around a holiday, too. One here in Scranton was on St.Patrick’s Day; one in the midwest, the kid was still wearing his Halloween costume.

Very strange, indeed. A case for our sharpest profilers and detectives.


24 posted on 01/10/2012 1:09:21 PM PST by Palladin (Vote for Rick Santorum: He is a REAL Catholic.)
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