MN MN - Joshua Guimond, 20, Collegeville, 9 Nov 2002 - #2

MAR 16, 2021
Father Of Missing St. John’s Student Josh Guimond Files Lawsuit Against Stearns County In Search For Answers – WCCO | CBS Minnesota (cbslocal.com)
[...]

Attorney Mike Padden is representing Josh Guimond’s father, still fighting to find out what happened to his son. ...

“We’ve commenced a lawsuit against Stearns County to secure the investigative file from the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office,” Padden said.

[...]

Padden has taken that push to court, with the desire their own private investigator can see what’s documented from the early days of Guimond’s November 2002 disappearance.

Padden points to Jacob Wetterling’s kidnapping 13 years earlier, led by the same people, as the main reason the information should be released.

[...]

Stearns County has said the Guimond case remains active and in court filings contends releasing data would “jeopardize the integrity of the investigation and could impede potential prosecution of anyone who played a role.”

A judge will make the final decision on what to do in the coming months. A father hoping it means his theories will see some follow-up after holding onto them for so long.

[...]
 
Since Stearns County has nothing to hide, hand 'em over. They apparently "can't" solve the case after 19 years, so let someone else who wants to solve the case do it. Josh's Dad and the rest of the family deserve answers after being given zero cooperation on the part of St. John's, in addition to enduring a shoddy investigation by Stearns. What happened to Jacob Wetterling's case was a travesty. Enough.
 
What the police should have been doing with their time-

Mininum Once a year searches of the lakes

Intensive investigation of the monk community

Friends at the party

Roommates

Mininum once a year Ground searches

Mininum Once a year podcast, tv and radio

Unfortunately as the years fly by, hardly any of these have been done.
 
Exactly and what are their reasons for failing to perform any of the above actions? One theory is that certain folks hope enough time passes that people will just give up. Well they didn't give up on Jacob, in spite of being misled and misinformed. So much hurt and pain in that case; same with Josh. I rarely see any attention paid to Josh's case anymore. Heartbreaking.
 
"In the hours after Guimond disappeared, and on subsequent days, someone erased items from his computer hard drive. It isn't clear who did this or whether the erasure is connected to his disappearance. Some of the information that was erased, and later recovered, was about making fake identification cards."

Can anyone believe that after 19 years of investigation, this information hasn't been solved and cleared up for us yet?

What are they doing?
 
MAR 16, 2021
Father Of Missing St. John’s Student Josh Guimond Files Lawsuit Against Stearns County In Search For Answers – WCCO | CBS Minnesota (cbslocal.com)
[...]

Attorney Mike Padden is representing Josh Guimond’s father, still fighting to find out what happened to his son. ...

“We’ve commenced a lawsuit against Stearns County to secure the investigative file from the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office,” Padden said.

[...]

Padden has taken that push to court, with the desire their own private investigator can see what’s documented from the early days of Guimond’s November 2002 disappearance.

Padden points to Jacob Wetterling’s kidnapping 13 years earlier, led by the same people, as the main reason the information should be released.

[...]

Stearns County has said the Guimond case remains active and in court filings contends releasing data would “jeopardize the integrity of the investigation and could impede potential prosecution of anyone who played a role.”

A judge will make the final decision on what to do in the coming months. A father hoping it means his theories will see some follow-up after holding onto them for so long.

[...]

I'm not too hopeful anything will happen here. Should've went with a different attorney..... being Rassier's appeal in his case just got tossed out!
 
"In the hours after Guimond disappeared, and on subsequent days, someone erased items from his computer hard drive. It isn't clear who did this or whether the erasure is connected to his disappearance. Some of the information that was erased, and later recovered, was about making fake identification cards."

Can anyone believe that after 19 years of investigation, this information hasn't been solved and cleared up for us yet?

What are they doing?

So true. That could very well be the root of all in this case.
But, maybe as is the case a lot of the times, Police know more than they are letting on. ?
Hopefully?...
 
Gone without a trace: Joshua Guimond’s 19-year disappearance fuels Minnesota father’s lawsuit and quest for truth | Park Rapids Enterprise

Gone without a trace: Joshua Guimond’s 19-year disappearance fuels Minnesota father’s lawsuit and quest for truth
Brian Guimond said he does have a theory as to what happened to his son, but at this point, he’s tight-lipped. He does believe the truth will come out — although, he doesn’t believe it will be the result of the investigation currently being handled by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.
Written By: Trisha Taurinskas | 10:05 am, Dec. 9, 2021

St.%20John%E2%80%99s%20University%20campus%20in%20Collegeville%2C%20Minn

Joshua Guimond disappeared from St. John’s University campus in Collegeville, Minn. in 2002 following a late-night gathering with friends. Thorough searches of the lakes surrounding campus failed to prove theories that the college junior drowned after leaving the university’s Metten Court dormitory. Photo courtesy of St. John’s University Archives

Nineteen years after Joshua Guimond went missing from Minnesota’s St. John’s University campus in Collegeville, Brian Guimond is on a mission to find his son — and highlight what he sees as inadequacies in an investigation that has failed his family.

A lawsuit filed against the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office in March on behalf of Brian Guimond seeks the release of the investigative file into the disappearance of Joshua Guimond — a suit that will continue to gain steam in January 2022 as it goes before a judge for a scheduling conference.

Joshua Guimond went missing the evening of Nov. 9, 2002 after leaving an on-campus gathering at a neighboring dorm hall. While his friends assumed he had slipped out to the bathroom, Joshua Guimond never returned to the party — and has never been seen publicly since that night.

He left, seemingly, without a trace. His vehicle remained parked on campus. His keys were found securely in his apartment, along with his glasses, contact lenses and wallet, which included his credit cards and identification.

Regarded as an exceptional student with aspirations of law school and a life in politics, friends and family members say he was a responsible individual who didn’t behave irrationally. While alcohol was consumed prior to his disappearance, those who were with him that evening claim they did not observe him to be intoxicated.


In the days following his disappearance, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office — led by Sheriff Jim Kostreba — focused entirely on a theory that Joshua Guimond fell into one of the campus lakes while making the three-minute walk back to his residence.

To this date, Joshua Guimond’s body has never been discovered.





“Back on day one, hour one, Kastroba was the sheriff, and he said, ‘He’s in the lake, end of story,’” Brian Guimond said. “There was no investigation.”

While the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office maintains the investigation into the disappearance of Joshua Guimond remains active, Attorney Mike Padden, who is representing Brian Guimond, is skeptical.



“We want to see it ourselves, and see if we can figure it out,” Padden said. “To be frank, we don’t really trust them to be competent.”

Part of that broken trust is rooted in what Brian Guimond learned long after the disappearance of his son — that a building just a short walk away from where his son lived housed Catholic monks facing credible allegations of sexual abuse. On Oct 1., 2002, St. John’s University reached a settlement of “several allegations of abuse against the abbey,” according to a statement released by the university in 2003.

Those allegations — and names of alleged perpetrators — have been slowly released throughout the years, with the latest update in 2017. To date, the Abbey has released the files of 18 monks who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse, according to the Minnesota Transparency Initiative.

Stearns County Sheriff’s Office Andrew Struffert, who is handling the Joshua Guimond case, indicated his department was thorough in their investigation of St. John’s Abbey buildings and those it housed, despite the lack of public transparency into the allegations being dealt with at the time.

“At this point, we have no evidence that shows that any of the staff members or any of the monks were involved whatsoever,” Stuffert said.



Trust was further eroded through Stearns County Sheriff’s Office’s handling of the Jacob Wetterling case, which had been labeled a failure by once-interim Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson. After 27 years, the Wetterling case came to a close with a confession from Daniel James Heinrich.

“Our whole goal is to get their investigation file, and they’re fighting us on it. They don’t want us to get it,” Padden said. “With everything that has happened with Jacob Wetterling, these people just don’t have a good track record.”



St.%20John%20University%20St.%20Maur%20House%20on-campus%20apartment

Joshua Guimond never returned to his St. John University St. Maur House on-campus apartment following a small gathering across campus on Nov. 9, 2002. The case has remained unsolved for 19 years. Photo courtesy of St. John’s University Archives


The disappearance and investigation
Roughly fifteen minutes after Joshua Guimond left the gathering at Metten Court, his friends attempted to call the college junior at his St. Maur House apartment but received no answer. They assumed he had gone to bed, until the next morning when he didn’t show up to mock trial practice.

That evening, after he had been missing for 24 hours, his friends reported his disappearance to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office. A search party for Joshua Guimond began Monday, Nov. 11, 2002, which included the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, the local National Guard and volunteers from the community.

While portions of the 2,500-acre wooded area around the campus were searched on foot and horseback, divers focused on Stumpf Lake, which ran between St. Maur House and Metten Court.



Guimond_SJU_Campus_Map_Graphic.jpg

Joshua Guimond was last seen at St. John’s University’s Metten Court in Collegeville, Minn. on Nov. 9, 2002. After sneaking out for a bathroom break, friends assumed he made the three-minute walk to his St. Maur House apartment. Joshua Guimond has not been seen since. Photo courtesy of St. John’s University Archives


At that time, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office ran with the theory that Joshua Guimond ended up in the lake on his own accord. Alcohol was considered a factor by investigators.

Brian Guimond claims it was that narrow vision that halted the type of investigation that his son deserved — one that should have included the possibility of foul play.

“The first twenty-four hours are the most critical, and they just kept saying, ‘He’s in the lake,’” he said. “Well, where’s your evidence? They just kept saying, ‘He’s in the lake.’ They just kept repeating it.”

Taking matters into his own hands, Brian Guimond and the Find Joshua Fund lobbied to have The Trident Foundation, considered the country’s premier water-based crimes investigative organization, brought into the helm. After seeking approval from the Stearns County Board and St. John’s University, the Trident Foundation was allowed to do a full investigation of the three university lakes in May 2003. No evidence related to the disappearance of Joshua Guimond was found.

Following the extensive search, Trident Foundation Executive Director Scott Romme said that his organization’s search — paired with the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office efforts — should steer family members, the community and law enforcement to explore other avenues.

From Brian Guimond’s standpoint, that didn’t happen.



Joshua%20Guimond%20Missing%20Poster.jpeg

Joshua Guimond’s father, Brian Guimond, is filing a lawsuit against the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office for the investigative file relating to his son’s disappearance. A scheduling conference is slated for January 2022. Photo courtesy of the Find Josh website.


A father’s fight
Armed with years of collected documents and a deep aching grief, Brian Guimond has never stopped searching for answers over what happened to his son on that cold November night in 2002.

In the years following the Trident Foundation search, he and others continued to be met with the likely explanation that his son had fallen into the water and had possibly gotten stuck in the mud.

In November 2004, Brian Guimond took that theory to Bradley Wenz of the Minnesota Soil and Water Conservation District, who indicated that soil capable of drawing a person in had not been identified in Stearns County, according to a letter sent by Brian Guimond to Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch in 2005.

“A year and a half after the lakes were cleared by Trident, Sanner was still sticking to the story that he fell into a swampy area,” Brian Guimond said. “So then I got a hold of the Soil and Water guy and he said, “No, we don’t have any soil like that in this county.’”

Brian Guimond also questions why the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office waited nearly two weeks to speak with the students his son spent time with before he went missing.













“The last nine people to see him, they didn’t even get talking to them for two weeks after the fact,” he said. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that you needed to talk to these people now. I mean it’s just one thing after another.”

For two years, Sheriff Sanner was adamant that Joshua Guimond’s disappearance was not the result of abduction. However, in 2005, Sanner did indicate that Joshua Guimond was considered a missing person and that it was possible that he could have disappeared by abduction.

Since the initial search of the lakes, there has been no new evidence or updates on the case presented to the family or the public.

As far as allegations of sexual abuse against monks who lived on campus at the time of his son’s disappearance, Brian Guimond said that was information that should have been on the record.

“I don’t know if it would have made a difference, but it should have been made public,” he said. “Their story was, well we monitor our own. Well, that’s the fox being put in charge of the hen house.”

Brian Guimond said he does have a theory as to what happened to his son, but at this point, he’s tight-lipped. He does believe the truth will come out — although, he doesn’t believe it will be the result of the investigation currently being handled by Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.



Joshua%20Guimond

This is an enhanced image of what Joshua Guimond might look like. 2017 image provided by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.


Response from Stearns County Sheriff’s Office
Struffert took over the case into Joshua Guimond’s disappearances more than a year ago as part of the Sheriff’s Office regular case sharing practice.

When he received the case file, he said he spent a lot of time combing over the details — and from that analysis, created a new set of action items to tackle.

“I’m checking those items off, and I can assure you they are still being worked on,” Struffert said. “That case is getting a complete review by a new set of eyes, by a new person.”

Struffert admits this case offers its own set of obstacles, largely because of the lack of body and official crime scene. Nearly 20 years from the date of Joshua Guimond’s disappearance, there are currently no suspects.

“We have interviewed a lot of people over the years, and I wouldn’t say at this point there are any suspects,” he said. “Ya know, this case is unique compared to a lot of others with the lack of physical evidence that we have at the scene, and that makes this difficult. And even as time progresses, as you go further and further out from the date of the incident, it makes it much more difficult.”

Some of those interviews have come in the last few years, Struffert said. However, he noted that he generalizes interviews into a category that could include a potential witness, other students or anyone who was in the area at the time of Joshua Guimond’s disappearance.

“What I’m categorizing as an interview is just speaking with anybody in reference to this case,” he said. “So, yes, there have been follow-up interviews. And even from the very beginning, friends and family were interviewed. We haven’t done many of those recently, but even the friends at some point are going to be re-interviewed.”

One aspect of the case that has changed is access to new technological capabilities. That is an element that’s being looked at in this case, particularly as it relates to Joshua Guimond’s computer, which the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office has sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

“That is continuing to be gone through to this day,” Struffert said. “They’re sifting through the mountains of data. So yeah, it makes me hopeful that we can talk to people who maybe haven’t been spoken to before.”

In the meantime, Brian Guimond and Attorney Mike Padden will continue their quest to put someone else in charge of the investigation.

“My client doesn’t think they’ve done a competent investigation, and we should be permitted, perhaps with some limitations as to what we can do with it, to be able to do our own investigation,” Padden said. “Look at the Jacob Wetterling case. Once the file was released, everyone realized what a debacle that was.”

Padden and Brian Guimond share the belief that, without the release of the file to an outside investigative entity, the truth might never come out.

“They’re just hell-bent on not giving it up, which guarantees that this case won’t be solved,” Padden said. ”I think that they’re concerned that if it does get solved with the release of the file, it’ll be a further embarrassing moment for their agency.”

The scheduling conference in January 2022 will set a date for a hearing, at which point a judge will interpret the statute Padden and his client are citing in support of their case. Padden said if the court doesn’t rule in their favor, he and his client are poised and ready to appeal.

“Our position is that at this point the case is essentially over,” he said. “They haven’t done anything substantive for years, and we should be entitled to get the file.”
 
Brian Guimond's hearing released some information about Stearns County investigation. Does anyone have any clue about these "mysterious writings" that were looked into late 2019?
 

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Brian Guimond's hearing released some information about Stearns County investigation. Does anyone have any clue about these "mysterious writings" that were looked into late 2019?
This is a "hail Mary" pass here -- but -- at one point a MySpace page was discovered that contained writings that had all the appearances of possibly being connected to Josh's disappearance. It's been a long time, but I think I may have passed this onto someone involved with investigating the case. I don't know who "discovered" these pages or how -- but somehow I was directed to them. Does this sound familiar to you, DarkJodo?
 
This does sound familiar, but I recall this info being passed long before 2019. It is possible that it took that long to follow that lead, so it definitely is a possibility
 
This does sound familiar, but I recall this info being passed long before 2019. It is possible that it took that long to follow that lead, so it definitely is a possibility

I just barely remember the MySpace stuff, can someone fill me in on it as I can’t find any thing about it due to how much MySpace has changed and the articles that were out about it a long time ago are no longer. Strange.
 
Growing up in the local community, about 5 min from St. John's, I heard absolutely nothing about this case until I discovered the information through the Behind the Pine Curtain website. When I discuss it with my classmates over the 3.5 years I've attended school here not a single person knew about it and they were all shocked to find out a student went missing from campus. What's the oddest thing to me is that the school doesn't talk about Joshua. No more marches or searches. Not even a statement after the recent 15th anniversary. or support for the family all these years later. The lack of transparency here is astounding. As for what could have been done better, I'm not a police officer nor do I have much life experience but I can say allowing the same people who handled the Jacob Wetterling case to handle this one is asking for screw-ups. As for the college, the monks' alibies should have been taken as well as transparent cooperation by the church to search all areas.

Hey all, I'm new here. I graduated from CSBSJU in 2018 and grew up about 10 miles outside of St. Joe. I'm currently a 2L law student. I had been obsessed with both Jacob Wetterling and Josh Guimond for years, even prior to attending St. Bens. I was a sophomore in 2016 when Jacob was found. I walked to Local Blend that morning and saw news crews everywhere. The mishandling of Jacob's case is no secret in Stearns County, but at the end of the day, the 27 year old mystery surrounding his abduction and subsequent murder was solved and he was brought home to rest, and that's truly what matters most. I'm hopeful the same can be done for Josh, but I'm not willfully ignorant to the fact that it will likely be an uphill battle, considering three of the major players include SJU, the monastery, and Stearns County PD.

I can also attest to the disheartening lack of acknowledgement of Josh's disappearance. I'm aware tensions were high in the early years of the "investigation," however; I found it sad that the school never publicly posted, or even acknowledged, Josh's disappearance. I spoke with my psychology professor often about the case because he was really the only faculty who would engage, and his insights were fairly valuable IMO.

I personally fear that SCPD will prove to be difficult in Josh's case because they likely don't want the public to loose any more faith in their ability to solve crime than it already had from Jacob's case. I also fear that the school will prove to be equally as difficult. I'm not certain of the relationship that exists between the monastery and the school, but I'd imagine there is some sort of hierarchy that would be interesting to explore. Monks have a strong presence on campus, and some "fathers" and "brothers" even live in the dorms, often at the end of the hall, where they oversee dorm activity. I was caught in the male dorms past curfew one evening and the following day, my boyfriend (at the time) and I were called into the "brother's" "dorm" (apartment?) and I'll be honest...it felt odd. This is all to say that the culture of CSBSJU, and SJU in particular, is heavily influenced by the Catholic Church and while I haven't explored the nature of that relationship, I imagine its interesting to say the least.

I've often made the 3-minute walk Josh had taken the night he disappeared. It's difficult to describe just how small the campus really is, and how second-nature the student flow of traffic seems. For instance, the Link (the campus buses) run at 15-minute intervals almost all day long, up until about 2a.m. most weekend nights (correct me if I'm wrong/if things have changed since 2018). So, if Josh walked back to Maur around midnight on November 9th 2002, which was a Saturday, there should have been buses running.

Moreover, I think most other CSBSJU students would agree that anywhere from 10pm - 12am/1am, there are students walking around, especially if they're walking from their dorms/apartments to the two bus stops on the SJU campus or vice versa. I just find it difficult to believe that if Josh hadn't wandered into the woods or fell into a body of water (for which there is no evidence to suggest he had), and if he had been met with foul play and/or taken against his will, someone would have seen something. If he had gotten into a vehicle with someone along his walk back to Maur, I tend to think it must have been with someone he knew, trusted, or respected otherwise any struggle would have been noticed. There's enough activity on a Saturday night at SJU for someone to hear Josh, and hopefully help him, if he had screamed for help or showed signs of a struggle.

I guess I don't really know where to go from here, but I'm glad to see people are interested in Josh's case. I loved my time at CSBSJU, but I refuse to be willfully blind to the realities surrounding his disappearance. The arboretum is vast, and the forests are deep. There are a few different bodies of water on campus, though they have been dredged and searched. The campus sits right alongside I-94, the largest highway in Minnesota. He could have vanished within the small window of time between buses. The Abbey is sacred to both the church and the school. There is a monastery that sits right on campus, along the waterline of Lake Sag. There is a preparatory school on campus. There are secrets, some of which have come to light, and some of which, I imagine, remain "behind the pine curtain."
 
Did SJU have Life Safety Officers back in 2002?

If so, I wonder if there’s a retired LSO out there who was employed by SJU in 2002 and would be willing to answer some questions?

I mean, NDAs could have been slid across the table at some point after Josh’s disappearance, but if not, maybe there’s a retired employee out there who feels no sense of allegiance to SJU as their former employer and could maybe shed some light on how the first 24-48 hours went down?

You never know…it’s not irrational to think subpar police work could leave key players unquestioned for weeks or even years. There are cases where even eye witnesses haven’t been questioned once.

Thoughts?
 
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