On the evening of January 29, 2013, Jacob Samusenko stepped outside his parent's home in Erie, Pennsylvania to quickly take out the trash...and the athletic 17-year-old honor student's not been seen or heard from since.
That is, not until authorities discovered what they believe to be his badly decomposing body floating in the nearby bay yesterday afternoon.
An autopsy will be performed this morning on the corpse of "a young white male" who was spotted floating in the Presque Isle Bay by a passerby.
The victim was said to be wearing the same clothing that Samusenko was last seen in before he left his house only a short distance from where the body was found.
A spokesperson for the Samusenko family confirms they have already been notified by police that the deceased is likely their long lost loved one.
A classic Smiley Face Killer scenario
This winter, last winter, the winter beforeÂ…over the past 16 consecutive years young men like Samusenko have been mysteriously vanishing off the face of the earth. Only to be found days, weeks or months later in nearby bodies of frigid water.
Drunk or sober, their deaths are always ruled as "accidental" and their missing person files slammed shut without further inquiry or debate.
Sometimes in fact, like Nick Wilcox, 24, who disappeared in the middle of New Year's celebrations from downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin this year, the youths are never found again.
Only a sinister smiley face will mark the spot where they were last observed to be in. Or so the Smiley Face Killer legend has it.
The case of the drowning men
A few years ago the FBI was made aware of a fairly recent and very troubling phenomena whereby males between the ages of 17 and 30 had begun drowning by the numbers.
At that point in time there were 40+ cases that matched the Samusenko disappearance, all of which the Bureau ultimately decided were simply due to an uncanny "coincidence."
The young men had been drunk, investigators determined. Or suicidal, or clumsyÂ…or whatever.
But by now there have been hundreds of them dying in this unprecedented manner, so once again the federal authorities are looking into the case of the drowning men, because, at last, it strikes them as somewhat suspicious.
In the meantime, Jacob Samusenko continues to be listed among the missing, and $10,000 reward posters are still posted throughout his neighborhood, all over the internet, and even on crime show host Nancy Grace's Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Erie County's coroner says he will know for certain if the cadaver just retrieved is indeed that of the missing teen by around noontime today.
Positive identification in progress, as yet another family awaits word that their young man has died in yet another accidental drowning.
Bookmark this post for updates Â– poster courtsey Killing Killers website