|This case has remained unsolved for 21 years, 0 months, and 28 days.|
By all accounts, Joshua Guimond was set to accomplish great things in his life. He was an intelligent, responsible student who had started college at St. John’s University in Minnesota. While pursing a degree, he also participated on the university’s mock trial team and hoped to one day become a lawyer, and then perhaps a congressman from there.
One night in November 2002, Guimond attended a party with some friends in a nearby dorm. He left abruptly around midnight, and then he disappeared. After being reported missing by his friends, a search was conducted by authorities to find the 20-year-old college student, but they haven’t been able to find much — no blood evidence, no fingerprints, no body.
While some in law enforcement stated that Guimond clearly drowned in one of the nearby bodies of water, others think that foul play was involved, pointing to either one of his roommates or to a stranger who he might’ve met that night. Some interesting information was found on his computer that was left behind, but it isn’t enough to solve the case.
Over two decades later, we still have few answers. To date, Guimond has never been found, nor has he made contact with anyone. What happened to this bright, young college student who was once voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school? Was foul play involved, or was this a tragic accident? Where is Joshua Guimond?
Table of Contents
About Joshua Guimond
Joshua Guimond was born on June 18, 1982 as an only child to parents Brian and Lisa Guimond. Raised in Maple Lake, Minnesota, he enjoyed ice fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities, often doing them with his father. He also was regarded as a kind and responsible student by his peers and even voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”
At some point, Guimond’s parents split and his father remarried Representative Barbara Vickerman who represented the Redwood Falls area. Perhaps because of this, Guimond was especially interested in law, joining the mock trial club and hoping to one day move on to study law and, perhaps in the future, to become a state congressional representative himself. Unfortunately, Vickerman died from cancer in 1997, just a few years before Guimond headed to college.
In 2002, Guimond was 20 years old and attending St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. He was described as a motivated student who was liked by everyone. From all outward appearances, there’s no reason that Guimond should have gone missing on that chilly November night.
The Night of the Disappearance
It was November 9, 2002 when Guimond decided to go to a party with some friends at the St. John’s University campus located in Collegeville, MN. He went to the Metten Court dorms for a while for a poker party, then left the party abruptly around 11:45 PM without informing his friends.
Guimond had reportedly drank some alcohol but did not appear to be intoxicated, his friends reported. They assumed that he’d left to go back to his dorm room and didn’t try to contact him; it was only a 5-minute walk back to his dorm so it should have been safe enough.
Two witnesses reported seeing Guimond on a bridge around the time he left the poker party. The sighting was reportedly in an area around Stumpf Lake. It’s not clear if this sighting was ever confirmed by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.
Fighting with a Roommate?
One of Guimond’s roommates, Nick Hydukovich, was reportedly in a relationship with Guimond’s ex-girlfriend of four-and-a-half years, Katie Benson. Both Hydukovich and Benson were together the night of Guimond’s disappearance, although there were some inconsistencies in their timelines.
Additionally, another roommate reportedly heard Guimond and Hydukovich arguing about Benson that night, although it’s not clear at what time this occurred.
The next day, Guimond missed a mock trail team practice — something that was very uncharacteristic of him. Worried friends went to his dorm in St. Maur House to look for him, and upon finding it empty, they contacted the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department to report Guimond missing.
The Search Begins
The Sheriff’s Office began investigating Guimond’s disappearance quite quickly. Left behind in his dorm room were his coat, keys, wallet, and glasses. His computer was left on, which seemed a bit odd if he was planning on going out for any length of time. Guimond also had been writing a paper about Alexander Hamilton and had some of his research he’d done the day before was left on his desk.
In addition to the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, other organizations were brought in on the search to find Guimond including the National Guard and the FBI. Divers searched a nearby lake near Collegeville but were unable to find any evidence or clues.
Guimond’s roommate, Nick Hydukovich, was interviewed to determine if he might’ve had something to do with the missing college student. Both Hydukovich and Guimond were co-captains of the mock trial team and were friends. Hydukovich stated that he’d had brunch with Guimond on November 9, and then had last seen him around 6:30 PM before he left to go to Benson’s place (who also happened to be Guimond’s ex-girlfriend).
When Hydukovich returned around 2 AM, he reportedly didn’t see Guimond. However, another roommate reported that he’d heard Guimond and Hydukovich arguing about Benson at some point that night. It’s not clear exactly what time the argument supposedly took place.
Discrepancies in the Timeline
Hydukovich told authorities that he left Benson’s home around 2:30 AM on November 10. His keycard that was used to access the dorms showed that it was used at 2:42 AM.
However, Benson said that Hydukovich left her home around 1 or 1:30 AM. Since the drive back to St. John’s University was only about a 10-minute drive (as Benson attended the nearby College of Saint Benedict), that would have left a lot of unaccounted time in Hydukovich’s story. Of course, it’s possible that Benson misremembered exactly what time Hydukovich left her place. Benson has also stated that she doesn’t believe he had anything to do in Guimond’s disappearance.
Some have pointed to the fact that Hydukovich declined to take a polygraph examination as a sign of guilt. However, as I’ve said in other cases, I don’t think it’s that suspicious that someone would refuse to take a polygraph.
Other Missing Students
In an odd coincidence, two other students also went missing — Chris Jenkins and Michael Noll. Jenkins, a student at the University of Minnesota, went missing in the early morning hours of November 1 after attending a Halloween party. It was later discovered that he was thrown off a downtown Minneapolis bridge that night and drowned. His body was recovered on March 25, 2002.
Noll was a student at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and went missing just a few days later on November 6 after celebrating his birthday at a bar. Noll’s body was eventually found in a nearby lake, the cause thought to be drowning. His body was recovered on March 25, 2002.
Scent Dogs Brought In
Guimond’s scent was tracked by one of the scent dogs to an area behind St. John’s Abbey and the frozen lake beyond. However, nothing of Guimond’s was discovered in or around the abbey.
Reportedly, some of the monks living at St. John’s Abbey had a long history of sexually abusing minors, something Guimond knew about and was upset with. Several lawsuits were filed on behalf of reported victims of the abuse in 2016, with some of the allegations being “credible,” according to sources.
Did Guimond Drown?
The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office focused heavily on the idea that Guimond had drowned and didn’t consider foul play a possibility until many years later. Guimond’s father, Brian Guimond, has said of the early investigation, “Back on day one, hour one, Kastroba was the sheriff, and he said, ‘He’s in the lake, end of story.’ There was no investigation.”
The Sheriff’s Office and other agencies did search the nearby lakes and bodies of water, but nothing of Guimond’s has ever been found — no body, no clothes, no clues.
Guimond’s Computer Examined
When investigators looked more closely at Guimond’s computer, they found that someone had tampered with it, erasing items from his hard drive. The computer was handed over to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at some point for a more in-depth analysis.
Later, it was determined that Guimond had been using a Yahoo Personals account to speak with men online while posing as a woman. Some have theorized that perhaps Guimond met up with one of these men that he’d been speaking with and the night had ended up going badly for one reason or another.
Photos Released by Sheriff’s Office
In October 2022, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office released images to the public that were discovered on Guimond’s personal computer. Sheriff Steve Soyka says that they aren’t sure why these photos were on the computer or why they were saved. Some have speculated that these are the men that Guimond reportedly chatted with on his Yahoo Personals account.
The Sheriff’s Office wants to speak with these men in regards to Guimond’s disappearance and wants the public’s help in identifying the men. Soyka said of the men, “These are people that we’ve exhausted all other resources to try and identify.”
Lieutenant Zach Sorensen said of the photos:
“There are people in these photos who have nothing to do with this investigation but what we don’t know is, are there any people that have something to do with this investigation? We’ve received more tips in the last three days than we have in the last three years.”Lt. Zach Sorensen (Source: KTSP News)
The Sheriff’s Office is still looking to identify and speak with the men in these photographs. If you recognize any of them, please contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at (320) 259–3700.
A Mishandling of Guimond’s Case?
Brian Guimond isn’t thrilled with the recent developments in his missing son’s case. He said of the recent news and photo releases, “They have had these photos. This is new information? Give me a break. That is not correct.” It seems that he wishes more was done at the time of his son’s disappearance back in 2002 rather than waiting 20 years later to release so-called “new” information.
According to sources, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office has had these photos since at least 2008, so why did it take until 2022 to release the images to the public? “What a joke,” Brian has told Forum News Service, referring to the efforts that the Sheriff’s Office made to solve his son’s case.
When asked if the release of the photos some years earlier might’ve helped in the investigation, a member of the Sheriff’s Office replied, “I can’t answer that. That’s something that nobody is able to answer.” The Sheriff’s Office also did not comment on whether they attempted to subpoena records from Yahoo regarding the Yahoo Personals account.
Brian, Guimond’s father, believes that his son’s case might never be solved:
“Anybody that really knows what’s been going on with Stearns County knows that they’ve put one roadblock up after another. Give me a break. They don’t want this solved.”Brian Guimond (Source: Forum News)
Theories on What Happened
With over 20 years since Guimond’s disappearance, there are several prevailing theories about what happened to the 22-year-old in November 2002. Some believe it was an accident while others continue to maintain that foul play was somehow involved.
One of the more prevalent theories is that Guimond fell into a nearby icy lake and ended up drowning. This theory seems more credible when you consider that two other college students who went missing at or near the same time as Guimond were eventually found, having drowned in nearby bodies of water.
If Guimond did drown, I’d expect that all of the search efforts would have eventually turned up something, but nothing has ever been found even several decades later.
Foul Play Involved
The recently released episode of Unsolved Mysteries regarding Joshua Guimond’s case suggested that Guimond had been talking to the men pictured by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office and could have gone to meet one of them on the night he disappeared.
Guimond’s father, Brian, has suggested that there might’ve been foul play involved by one of the nearby monks in St. John’s Abbey. He pointed out that the dorm his son visited on the night of his disappearance was supervised by Reverend Tom Andert, a priest who was facing multiple sexual misconduct allegations spanning three decades.
Ultimately, St. John’s Abbey announced after an independent investigation that the allegations against Andert were unsubstantiated. That being said, 18 other priests at St. John’s Abbey faced “credible allegations of sexual abuse.”
Lastly, some have suggested that Guimond’s roommate, Nick Hydukovich, might’ve had something to do with his disappearance due to discrepancies in his timeline of events and the fact that he refused to take a polygraph examination.
Guimond Ran Away
Another possible theory is that Guimond simply up and left his life to start anew. However, it’s odd that he would have left behind some of his most important items (like his wallet and eyeglasses) if he intended to run away. Did he have money in an account somewhere that he could have accessed? Surely, authorities would have looked into that and monitored the account to see if money was ever withdrawn.
There are some cases where I think it’s plausible that someone might’ve run off to start a new life, but I don’t think this is one of them. Guimond had a lot going on at St. John’s University — even a mock trial the next day that he’d been looking forward to, according to all of his friends. In my opinion, if he was going to run away, he wouldn’t have left behind something he needs to function like eyeglasses.
What Do I Think Happened?
This is another one of those long-unsolved cases that’s tough to decipher. So much time has passed since the disappearance, it’s hard to figure out what exactly happened. Ultimately, I think I agree with Guimond’s family; there was probably some foul play involved.
Despite the fact that the other missing college students were eventually found in bodies of water and deceased due to drowning, I’m not convinced that Guimond’s death was similar. After all, both the other missing male college students were found about six months later.
The fact that Guimond’s body was never recovered suggests to me that he was never in the river or other bodies of water in the first place. November in Minnesota is quite cold, between 50°F for the highs to 21°F for the lows. This means that decomposition of a body would be slowed considerably versus if Guimond’s disappearance occurred in the summertime.
And, with extensive searches that were reportedly carried out by the Sheriff’s Office, it seems likely that they would have found some evidence that Guimond had gone into the water — clothes, shoes, or a body. According to maps provided by the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, several bodies of water as well as forested areas were searched. Shouldn’t they have found something if he was in one of those bodies of water?
Foul Play Possible
Although there were heinous allegations made against the monks at St. John’s Abbey, I’m not convinced that any of them had anything to do with Guimond’s disappearance. As morbid and horrible as this sounds, Guimond was too old for them to attempt to abuse. Most of the monks who were credibly accused were accused of sexually assaulting minors, not 22-year-olds.
If the monks had anything to do with Guimond’s disappearance, it likely would have been if he decided to confront them about the abuse, which I don’t believe happened. Why would he confront the monks in the middle of the night?
Some have suggested that Hydukovich, Guimond’s roommate had something to do with the disappearance, but there is no publicly-released evidence pointing to this theory, nor have authorities named Hydukovich as a suspect or even a person of interest.
If another roommate really did overhear Hydukovich and Guimond arguing in their dorm and an altercation resulted from the disagreement, then surely any fighting would’ve happened in the dorm and authorities would have found some sort of evidence, like blood on the floor or signs of a struggle. There is no publicly-available information that suggests they found any such clues.
Yahoo Personals Chats Could’ve Resulted in Trouble
Instead, I think it’s more likely that Guimond met up with someone that night that he was chatting with on his Yahoo Personals account. Guimond was reportedly representing himself as a woman to the men he was speaking with. This could’ve landed him in hot water if one of the men showed up expecting to meet a woman and instead was confronted with Guimond.
Stearns County Sheriff Soyka has said of the case, “We’re open to all kinds of possibilities. A college kid typically just doesn’t disappear from the campus.” It’s been over 20 years now since Joshua Guimond vanished, and it’s time to bring his family closure. Someone out there knows what happened to Guimond and it’s time to come forward with information.
There are a few updates in Joshua Guimond’s case, although he remains a missing person to this day.
March 2021: Lawsuit Filed
In March 2021, Brian Guimond filed a lawsuit against the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office to seek the release of the investigative file into the disappearance of his son, Joshua Guimond. Brian ultimately lost the lawsuit.
October 2022: Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix
On October 25, 2022, the Unsolved Mysteries reboot on Netflix released an episode covering Joshua Guimond’s disappearance called “What Happened to Josh?”
Do You Have Information?
At the time of his disappearance, Joshua Guimond was 20 years old, 5’11, 176 lbs., and had blonde hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information should contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at (320) 259–3700.
Cold Case Questions
- What do you think happened to Joshua Guimond?
- Do you think Guimond is still alive today?
- Do you think his former roommate had anything to do with his disappearance?
Tell me your thoughts about this case in the comment section below!
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