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  1. #1
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    NY - Patrick Rust, 24, Watertown, 16 March 2007

    This case has been referred to Crime Wire for assistance. We welcome your input. Denny Griffin for Crime Wire.

    Army Sgt. Patrick Rust was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division headquartered at Fort Drum in Watertown, New York. In January 2007 he returned from deployment to Afghanistan. Following a 30 day leave he was back on post in February. The then 24-year-old Patrick was a local boy and was familiar with Watertown and the surrounding area. He didn’t have a driver’s license or vehicle.

    On Wednesday, March 14, 2007, Patrick moved from the barracks on base to share an apartment with a fellow soldier at 156 Sterling Street, Apartment 4, in Watertown. At that time the two men had known each other for approximately 15 months.

    The following day Patrick rode back to the apartment in his roommate’s car after they were released from duty at around 5 pm. At approximately 5:30 the roommate heard Patrick engaged in a phone call with an old friend from Colorado who was visiting the area.

    At around 6:30 the two left the apartment and drove to the Salmon Run Mall. While there Patrick purchased some games for his Gameboy PSP player in the Best Buy store. They then went to the food court and got something to eat at Wendy’s. After that Patrick withdrew cash from an ATM machine estimated by the roommate to be between $100 and $300.

    At approximately 7:50 they left the mall and stopped at a tanning salon where the roommate wanted to get a tan. At that point Patrick said that he was going to walk back to the apartment, which was a relatively short distance away.

    According to a timeline prepared by military investigators, another soldier saw Patrick walking and gave him a lift to the apartment at approximately 7:55. This individual told military investigators that he dropped Patrick off, but didn’t actually see him enter the apartment building. The roommate states that he arrived at the apartment around 8:30 and Patrick wasn’t there. He remained at the apartment and went to sleep between 10 and 11 pm.

    The next reported sighting of Patrick takes place at around 9:30 when he was observed in a bar called Clueless located at 545 Arsenal Street. Clueless is known as a gay and lesbian bar; but straights are welcome as well. There is no indication that Patrick was gay; and according to all available information he had never been in the establishment before.

    While at the bar Patrick met a classmate from his school days. This man was in the company of his roommate, another Fort Drum soldier. According to witness statements Patrick and his former classmate engaged in lengthy conversation about their school days. As time passed Patrick obtained his old acquaintance’s phone number so they could keep in contact and hook up again in the future.

    At approximately 1:00 am on March 16 the bartenders at Clueless reportedly refused to serve Patrick any more alcohol because he was intoxicated. One patron at the bar told investigators that Patrick had seemed “high” and had mentioned cocaine at one point. However, no cocaine was observed and there are no reports that Patrick was causing any trouble, only that he’d had too much to drink. When Patrick exited Clueless he left through the front door which was only used for deliveries. Regular patrons knew the back door off the parking lot was for entrance and egress. It is believed Patrick used that back door upon his arrival at the bar and during multiple smoke breaks during the evening. That is the last known time Patrick Rust was seen alive.

    It was subsequently reported to military investigators that Patrick placed two calls from his cell phone to his former classmate’s phone at around 1:10 am. The first ended with Patrick leaving a voicemail that he had enjoyed their conversation and would catch up with him again sometime. The second was a hang up.

    Patrick’s roommate told investigators that he awakened around that same time, checked Patrick’s room and found it empty. When asked why he woke up at 1 am, he said he always got up in the middle of the night to check his emails. He returned to bed, woke up again around 5 am and again found that Patrick was not there.

    At approximately 5:10 am the roommate sent a text message to his superior stating that Patrick hadn’t been home all night and would not be at the 7:30 formation.

    The sergeant whom the roommate texted later told investigators that he was surprised to receive such a message over two hours before the scheduled formation. He also said that Patrick had no history of being late for or missing formations.

    Sometime between Friday, March 16 and Sunday the 18th, before Patrick’s family or the civilian police were told he was missing, the military cleared all of Patrick’s personal effects from the apartment. The explanation provided by the military for clearing the apartment so quickly was that it was their procedure. However, Army Regulation 638-2 specifically prohibits entering off-base civilian housing to remove the personal effects of deceased or missing soldiers.

    On Monday, March 19, Patrick’s mother Judy Rust, her ex-husband Rodney Rust, Patrick’s roommate and the sergeant went to the Watertown Police Department where Patrick was officially reported as missing. The Watertown police launched an investigation and the military continued their inquiry.

    For the next six months neither the military nor the Watertown police made any progress in their investigations. And then on September 16, a farmer cutting hay in a field about five miles out of town found skeletal remains. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology responded to the scene to handle the recovery.

    Some clothing was found along with Patrick’s identification and ATM cards. DNA testing confirmed that the remains were those of Patrick Rust. A subsequent autopsy by the military conducted in Washington, D.C. was unable to determine the cause or manner of death. Due to the condition of the remains toxicology tests could not be performed.

    At this time there is no active investigation into Patrick’s death by either civilian or military law enforcement.

    The Rust family needs your help in finding out what happened to their son on March 16, 2007. If you have any information regarding this case please email me at denny@crimewiresite.com.
    Last edited by Denny Griffin; 06-17-2010 at 09:06 AM.

  2. #2
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    Strange, strange. How would Patrick's roommate know he wouldn't be at formation that morning? Conspiracy theories are running circles in my head.

  3. #3
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    Very strange story. I find it very suspicious that the roommate "knew" he wouldn't be making it to formation and that his belongings were cleared from their apartment before he was even reported missing. Why in the world would the military do that? Are they above having to answer police questioning? I know nothing about military law... I hope his family is able to find some answers about what happened to their loved one.

  4. #4
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    The roomate's story doesn't add up.

    It would be great if a judge would issue a warrant to search his computer and e-mail records to see if he really did make a habit of waking at 1 am to check his mail. It would also be interesting to see what else he had on his hard drive and if he tried to delete things right after the disappearance. I don't see any mention of cell phone records being checked not just for calls, but for ping location as well.

  5. #5
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    Right On

    Thanks for your comments. The roommate and the Ssgt that joined him to clear Patrick's personal effects are persons who should have been questioned further and probably polygraphed.

    In his written statement the Ssgt said he was ordered to clear the apartment. But he didn't say by whom and the interviewer didn't ask. This is an important issue because Army Regulation 638-2, beginning on page 65, makes it quite clear that the military is precluded from clearing the personal effects of deceased or missing soldiers from off-base civilian housing.

    Our Crime Wire statement analyst reviewed the written statements of both men and found major signs of intentional deception. In his opinion neither would have passed a polygraph.

    To my knowledge neither the roomie's computer nor cell phone records were examined. I'd love to know who he was in contact with that night and when.

    The Army is beginning to admit to Patrick's mother that mistakes may have been made in their handling of the matter. We're getting indications that they may be interested in cooperating in our efforts to learn the truth.

    However, local law enforcement is another matter. The two agencies involved are carrying Patrick's case as open but inactive. Because it's technically open they can't/won't release any information, but claim they will pursue any fresh leads.

    The family created a tip line in April and a caller said she was aware of a woman in a neighboring town that had formerly dated Patrick and that the other woman's current boyfriend had been with Patrick the night he disappeared. That sounds like a person the police might want to speak with.

    The family reported the call to the detective in charge of the case. He promised to respond and get the caller's contact information. But as of this date he hasn't. When I called the tipster a couple of weeks ago she said I was the first person to contact her.

    If we are unable to interest the police in following up in the next few days we'll do it ourselves. It may be nothing, but it should be checked out.
    Denny Griffin
    www.crimewiresite.com

  6. #6
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    a couple interesting things.
    why were so many sources reporting he was last seen walking home from the tanning place months after his disapearance?

    "My son has been missing for almost 4 months. He was a soldier who had just returned to Fort Drum after his deployment to Afghanistan. He had just moved off base to an apartment
    on Sterling Street. He had been in an argument in a local bar in Watertown prior to his disappearance. The person had threatened to kill him. He was last seen at the Clueless bar.

    Patrick did not have a driver's license or a vehicle and left the bar by himself. He was walking. The army checked out the local taxis and they did not recall giving him a ride.

    His cell phone activity ended shortly after he left the bar. He did not receive any of his messages. I was suppose to pick him up the next afternoon. We were going to Syracuse for the weekend.

    He never made it back to his apartment and did not have a coat with him. Temperatures fell below zero that night and it snowed.

    Patrick had purchased a new CD and 2 game cassetts, which he had with him when he disappeared. His game player and cd player were still at his apartment.

    If anyone has found a cell phone or a new CD or game cassetts in the vicinity of Arsenal Street, or has any information that may help me find my son, PLEASE let me know. "
    LINK
    author of this is Rod, so lets assume father
    also just read that his mother believes he went to that bar to escape someone persuing him

    wow what is going on???
    Last edited by wanttohelp; 06-24-2010 at 07:12 AM.

  7. #7
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    denny, i think you should update your info a bit, it would help us with a better place to start.

    Link

    The investigation initially was a Watertown Police Department case, but after the remains were found outside the city, the case was assumed by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. The probe was "administratively closed" in fall 2008 after all leads had been exhausted, but Sheriff John P. Burns said at the time that it would be reopened if new information developed.

    The department had "a person of interest" at that time, and still does, he said. The person is a former Fort Drum soldier.

    When the disappearance occurred, the soldier made an oral statement to military officials, the sheriff said. After the body was discovered, the soldier was questioned, but he refused to give a written, sworn statement, Sheriff Burns said.

    "He seemed to know quite a bit about what happened," the sheriff said.

    The soldier subsequently was deployed to the Middle East, so a detective was left waiting for him to return for renewed questioning. After coming home in June 2008, the soldier hired a lawyer and invoked his right to remain silent.

    "We know he is in the Syracuse area," the sheriff said. "But he won't talk to us. We talked to his wife, but she won't comment."

  8. #8
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    LINKnot sure it will work

    Drum soldier stays silent in death probe
    By DAVID C. SHAMPINE
    TIMES STAFF WRITER
    WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2008

    A former Fort Drum soldier who is wanted for questioning in the 18-month-old "wrongful death" of another soldier, Patrick S. Rust, is making himself unavailable, a Jefferson County sheriff's detective said Tuesday.

    The man, not identified, has hired a lawyer and is choosing to invoke his right to remain silent, Detective Steven C. Cote said.

    Sheriff John P. Burns said the case is now "administratively closed," but can be reopened any time that new information is developed.

    Sgt. Rust, 24, Russell, who served in Afghanistan, was last seen alive on March 16, 2007, when he left the nightclub Clueless in Watertown. He was the subject of a missing person investigation until Sept. 16, when a farmer who was cutting hay came across human remains in a field southwest of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services campus, and east of Old Rome State Road.

    The remains were identified as those of Sgt. Rust. No cause for death was determined, leaving the sheriff's office to list it as a wrongful death.

    Mr. Cote said in March that he was waiting for a soldier to return from duty in the Middle East because new interviews revealed the person had been with Sgt. Rust "in the course of the day he disappeared."

    The soldier returned to the United States in June, obtained his discharge from the Army, and retained an attorney, Mr. Cote said.

  9. #9
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    now from judy the mother
    Dear Newzjunky,

    My name is Judy Rust, and I am the mother of Patrick S. Rust.

    Patrick is a native Northern New Yorker who is now stationed at Fort Drum. Patrick has been missing since March 16, 2007. Not missing in Afghanistan or
    Iraq, but right here in the north country.

    I am desperate for help in locating my son.

    I am turning to you newzjunky, to help me keep his name and face in the
    public eye in hopes that someone will come forward and help me locate my
    missing son. I am attaching some of our flyers that we will be distributing
    all around the North Country this weekend.

    As I mentioned Patrick has been missing since March 16th 2007. Until the
    15th of March, he had been living on base. For reasons unclear to me,
    Patrick decided to move in with this other soldier, and did so on the 15th
    of March.

    Later that day on the 15th of March, Patrick and his roommate went to the mall where Patrick purchased a couple of games for his, I believe, Nintendo that he had at his new apartment. He apparently seemed eager to play these games and when his roommate decided to go tanning after the mall. The impression was left that Patrick decided to walk home from the corner of Arsenal and Massey Streets to play the new games.

    Instead, Patrick back tracked up Arsenal Street and ended up at a neighborhood bar where he met a school mate that he had not seen since graduation in 2001. Apparently Patrick spent the evening chatting with the school mate, and somewhere between 1:15 and 1:30 a.m. on Friday the 16th, Patrick walked out the front door of the bar and has never been
    seen or heard from again.

    The Watertown Police tell me that it should have only taken 10 to 15 minutes for Patrick to walk back to his apartment that night. Still, he never got there.

    As Patrick's mother, I know in my heart that that Patrick isn't just "missing". Foul play must be involved. Patrick had been so looking forward to that up coming weekend. It was his father's birthday (March 16th) and Patrick and his Dad had planned for some time, a weekend together in Syracuse. Patrick's bags were all packed in anticipation. Friday morning they had arranged that Patrick would call his Dad to let him know what time they would pick him up to go to Syracuse. This was a trip Patrick had talked about for a month, something everyone knew he was looking forward to doing with his Dad. Patrick would not miss that weekend.

    Now the Army has taken all of Patrick's possessions from the apartment, his
    bag, packed for his trip with Dad, his glasses, that he would not leave
    behind, and his Nintendo that he planned on using to play his new games.

    Patrick's cell phone was with him, none of the messages have been cleared,
    nor has the phone been used since that night. Patrick habitually checked and
    erased his messages nearly hourly, yet all the messages remain intact. We
    have even checked Patrick's bank account, in hopes of some small lead, only
    to find to our dismay, that it still hasn't been touched in these seven long weeks.

    Patrick has not had any contact with his family, or with his friends, and I know that Patrick would have been in contact with us if he could have been.

    A person does not just walk out a door and disappear, someone, somewhere
    has to know something that will help us locate Patrick.

    Please, if you can post this note on your web site, perhaps someone who spoke with Patrick before March 16th - or after- will help us gather information, any information big or small - l that will help us find out what has happened to Patrick and where we can find him. anyone with information can email me at : patrickrustsmom@hotmail.com.

    Thank you

    Judy A. Rust

  10. #10
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    How sad for his parents. My heart goes out to them.

    A few initial observations:

    I agree with the OP that stated the roommate's story does not add up. He just happened to wake up around 1 AM (at the time exact time Patrick was last seen)? He always wakes up around that time to check his email? I wonder if that was verified? People have all kinds of habits,fine. Surely they've checked to see if that was, indeed, his habit? I hope so.

    Later, at five AM, roommate texts their superior officer that Patrick won't be showing up for duty that day. Has the content and time of that text been verified? Superior officer claims it was unusual to get a text so early concerning an absence. How did the roommate know Patrick wasn't going to stumble in some time in the next hour and a half, take a shower and make it in for duty? Patrick had never been absent before so it's not like this was a pattern and the roommate would say to himself, "Oh, Patrick's out on a bender again and isn't going to get home in time to make it in for duty - again." Why did the roommate take it upon himself to send that text? (Trying ti establish an alibi?

    The cell phone records and pings could easily verify, or not, the stories of the superior officer, the roommate, the old friend. Have they been checked out? Maybe the roommate is a night owl, light sleeper, insomniac, whatever, and does, in fact, have the habits he stated about getting at one. I would need proof of that to be able to rule him out.

    The way the military handled Patrick's personal effects is way hinky to me. Was it the same officer to whom the roommate sent the text? if so, even more hinky. I wonder if this is their usual manner of handling things, even though it's against regulations. I'd be getting a lawyer and demanding some answers if I were his parents.

    This could be pure coincidence, but in the quote below, it states that the bar was on Arsenal street. I noticed the remains were also found on Arsenal street (albeit several miles away and in a rural area). Whatever happened to Patrick, likely happened on or near Arsenal street. Afterward, his body was subsequently disposed of on the same road. Could this mean the responsible party is someone unfamiliar with the area? If unfamiliar with the area, did they maybe just drive down the road they were already on when the foul play occurred and keep going until they reached a rural enough (relatively isolated spot) to dump the body? It would help to know how far off the road Patrick's remains were found.

    When I'm in unfamiliar territory, (out of town IOW) I tend not to stray any farther off whatever road I'm on than necessary. However, if I was well acquainted with an area, I'd likely know all kinds of remote places to place a body, and would choose the most out of the way, hidden one. KWIM? Or maybe it's a small town and there's only one main road - going to check on that.

    If there was no POI, one could speculate that maybe some terrible accident occurred. Patrick was allegedly intoxicated and walking down a road in the dark. He was near a bar where others were likely intoxicated as well and could have been driving. Did someone hit him with their car by accident? Did he, being impaired, walk out in front of a car? (I had an uncle who was killed that way - walked, or staggered, out in front of a semi while attempting to walk home.) The driver could have panicked, maybe being on suspension or having past DUIs, and disposed of the body rather than notifying the police? The fact that LE has a POI (and the threats mentioned by his mother) make this type of scenario less likely though.

    I'm going to try to find a map/satellite view of the area to see the relative position of the bar and the farm. I wonder if we can determine how likely it is that a person familiar with the are would have chosen that dump site.

    They must have checked the old friends phone records since they report the content of the two calls Patrick made. I wonder if they've verified any of the other players phone records? The superior officer? The roommate? It would help if we knew who had been "cleared" and how.

    We assume he was near the bar when he made the calls, but the cell pings would tell for certain Maybe they have checked all this out but not made the public or the family privy to the information. It would be helpful to know if they had verified by pings, for instance, that the roommate was actually home a 5 AM when he texted the superior officer.

    Hmmmmn. So many questions. . . . Sigh.

    I wonder if the military has ever returned Patrick's personal effects to the family?

    I don't know a great deal about criminal law, but I don't understand why this POI cannot be questioned further. If LE has good reason to believe someone has vital information that could shed light on an unsolved case (a case in which someone DIED/was KILLED!!), do they not have the authority to make that person submit to questioning??!! Just because said person has an attorney? I don't understand. Is this how the law works?
    Maybe someone else knows the legalities of this type of situation. If so, could you enlighten me/us?

    Her son, Sgt. Patrick S. Rust, 24, formerly of Russell, was a veteran of combat in Afghanistan who on March 16, 2007, disappeared soon after leaving the nightclub Clueless on Arsenal Street. His remains were found six months later, on Sept. 16, by a farmer cutting hay in a field southwest of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, outer Arsenal Street.
    http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20100331/NEWS03/303319964/

    I hope this family gets some answers and soon.
    "When we are born we cry that we are come
    To this great stage of fools."
    Will Shakespeare


  11. #11
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    Unanswered Questions

    There are certainly many questions that need answers. To the best of my knowledge the roomies cell phone records and computer were not checked. When he gave a sworn written statement to military investigators five days after Patrick's disappearance, he was asked if he were Patrick where would he have gone. His response: "If I had $27,000 in the bank I'd be in Canada if I wasn't already dead." That answer wasn't sufficiently followed up on and no polygraph was administered.

    The Ssgt that removed Patrick's personal effects from the apartment - contrary to Army Regulations - was the same man who received the text message from the roommate. He claimed he was ordered to inventory Patrick's belongings, but was not asked who gave that order. He was not polygraphed either.

    The local sheriff's department is not being cooperative with Patrick's mother in her quest to get answers. The detective won't return her phone calls.

    We're developing a strategy now regarding where to go next.
    Denny Griffin
    www.crimewiresite.com

  12. #12
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    did you guys read any of my post? his father was picking him up the next day? so i dont get what happened with that. its not like they were going to eat or a movie, it was a weekend trip. did they really not go to find out where he was until after the weekend? why would they not go that day they were suppose to leave?
    as far as the farm, i read in one of the articles they believed it had been accessed by roads behind some college, and something about construction on them.
    just reread my own post and caught this...

    "As I mentioned Patrick has been missing since March 16th 2007. Until the
    15th of March, he had been living on base. For reasons unclear to me,
    Patrick decided to move in with this other soldier, and did so on the 15th"
    of March.

  13. #13
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    Watertown is a rather small city, and there are better places to dump a body, but it becomes very rural outside of town very quickly. There really isn't anything up there but farms, cold, snow, and cows.

    I lived around that area for 16 years and at that time it was rather poor and everyone was related to everyone else. Since Drum came in things may have become more up to date. I drove a dump truck during the construction of Fort Drum.

    Arthur Shawcross, the serial killer, came from that general area, killed 2 children there, then after a stint in jail went on to murder prostitutes up the road a piece. I have a daughter who owns a business in Watertown.

  14. #14
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    Watertown Info

    Trident,

    When you talk with your daughter I wonder if she'd be willing to speak with me? She might be able to help me with some background information. You or your daughter can contact me at denny@crimewiresite.com.

    Thanks.
    Denny Griffin
    www.crimewiresite.com

  15. #15
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    How soon after Patrick went missing did the SSG enter his apartment and remove his belongings? Date and time after if you have the info please?

    When he did were SOP (rules and regs) followed? 1. Did he have witnesses that signed the docs where he inventoried the belongings and secured them? Where were they secured to? Has his Mother been given those belongings as of yet? (not referencing the reg that is notated above).

    As for a continued Military investigation---is there one still going on? If not have you requested any and all docs and paperwork through the FOIA? (Note: if you do this you will need to know exactly what forms you are looking for and request those specifically, they usually don't just hand whatever they have over unless you specify IMHO).
    Last edited by Kat; 06-26-2010 at 07:08 PM. Reason: misspell. take out a sentence

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