He died in 2005 but no one really knows how. Who is Todd Geib?
In 2005, Todd Geib went to a keg party in an orchard outside Casnovia, MI, where he lived. He spent the evening among the 50 or so guests at the party, unloading during a fight that broke out just before 1 a.m. After that, he made some phone calls to let friends know he was leaving.
He was never seen alive again.
He would be found weeks later in a nearby lake. Initially, authorities wondered if he had been so drunk that he fell into the water and drowned accidentally. His blood alcohol level backed-up that theory. But there was no water in his lungs, which ruled out drowning as a likely cause of death. What’s more, there was some thought that he had been dead for a few days before he was found.
Todd Geib’s death was ruled accidental but now the show Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice is taking up his story, with a theory that he was the victim of a gang of serial killers who murder young men across the country.
So who is Todd Geib? Here's what we know.
In 2005, Todd was 22 years old and living in Casanovia, MI, not far from where his family lived in Ravenna. He worked Hager Distribution, Inc., and enjoyed sports and the outdoors in his spare time. He was sharing a home with his cousin and he stopped by there after seeing his parents the night that he disappeared. Afterward, he went out to a bar with some friends, before decided to head out to a party in the orchard around 9:30 p.m. June 11.
The party continued on into the early hours of June 12, but around 12:45 a.m. another group of men showed up trying to instigate a fight. Shortly after their arrival, Todd called the friend who had driven him there to say he’d had enough and planned to leave. Shortly after that, he called another friend and said he was in a field.
His final call was to his sister. No one heard from him after that.
Over 1,500 people searched for Todd after he disappeared. They spent days scouring the area where he was last seen and found no trace of him. It was 21 days later when a couple saw him in Ovidhall Lake, about two miles from Todd’s home. He was standing upright int he lake with his head and shoulders above water when he was found — but he was dead.
He was fully clothed and his wallet was in his pocket. Officers at the time assumed that he had either walked into the lake or gone swimming and drowned due to intoxication. In fact, later tests would reveal that his had blood alcohol content of .12.
3. Strange details
Experts will note that typically drowning victims float facedown in the water, unlike Todd who seemed to be standing up in the water when he was discovered. The autopsy also found that there was no water in his lungs, which seems to contradict drowning as a cause of death.
Dr. Michael Sikirca went on to present the evidence and crime scene photos at a conference of medical examiners, and many present there concluded that Todd had died a few days before being found, not the 21 days prior that he had disappeared. Nevertheless, the death was officially ruled an accident.
4. Smiley Face Killers
Many have wondered if there was something suspicious about Todd’s death. The irregularities in the timing and cause of death findings seem to suggest something more sinister than a drunken accident.
Some have theorized that he was killed by the Smiley Face Killer, a group of murderers who are suspected of murdering multiple college-aged young men and depositing their corpses in bodies of water. Allegedly, graffiti of smiley faces appears near where the bodies are found.
The theory was developed by New York City detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte, and Dr. Lee Gilbertson, a criminal justice professor and gang expert at St. Cloud State University but other experts have been skeptical that such a gang exists.
5. Revisiting the details
This year, Oxygen has run a series called Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice and they are reviewing the details of Todd Geib’s death. One new detail that has emerged is that he had two anti-depressants in his system at the time of his death: desipramine and amitriptyline. The two drugs together could have had what is known as an additive effect, which could increase the likelihood of side effects such as hallucinations, confusion, agitation, cardiac arrest, coma, and seizures.
The team on the show found out that Todd hadn’t been taking those medications by prescription and they are not known as drugs that are used recreationally. They suggest Todd was drugged at the party, rendered incapacitated and then murdered.
The team from the show and Todd’s mother, Kathy, have since presented the findings to the Muskegon County Prosecutor and a full review by the medical examiner has been requested. Final reports have not been completed.
Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.