A DROWNING-MEN PANDEMIC?
A spate of cold weather river drownings -- 17 in one year alone -- has ignited fears in France that the deaths may be the work of a serial killer. And so certain are French citizens that this is in fact what's happening that they've even named the mystery murderer "Jack the Pusher".
Residents of the affected cities, towns and villages have also organized massive public protests demanding an official investigation into the matter as well as calling for heightening of security all along their riverbanks.
Police, community leaders, and even bars and restaurants, are also warning young males, who are the exclusive targets for this death-by-drowning scenario, to be on their guard at all times whenever they're out partying now, especially late at night or very early in the morning:
33-year-old John Ani disappeared October 7, 2010 after a night of drinking. His body was found Oct. 11, 2010 in the Deule River. Toxicology testing confirmed alcohol and drugs in his system, according to French media reports.
On Februrary 5th, 26-year-old Thomas Ducroo disappeared while walking home and turned up dead in the same river on the 23rd of February. Toxicology tests also confirmed drugs and alcohol in his body tissues.
And, on February 21st, Jean-Meriadec Le Tarnec, age 22, also mysteriously vanished. Rescue divers located his body in the Deule River on Feb. 25th. Toxicology results are still pending.
In 2011, nearly 1000 protesters marched along the riverbanks in Lille France demanding answers in these troubling deaths. Autopsies concluded they all were accidental drownings, but family members and friends of the victims totally disbelieve it.
Posters in the town of Lille now warn students to watch out for a killer nicknamed "Jack the Pusher."
Attorney Laura Robinson, a 28-year-old Californian who's younger brother now resides in Lille, said the issue is a very curious one indeed, "because the victims all left nightclubs in the center of the old part of town, but their bodies were found in the Deule River near a wooded area on the outskirts of the city."
She added that repeated police rulings of 'no foul play' in these drownings "doesn't make sense" because "after falling into a river and possibly landing on rocks, there must be bruises and cuts present on the bodies."
But, as with similar drowning in the northern US, there aren't...