I’ve always been bothered by this.
Matthew Besner was a regular 27 year old guy who, last December, walked out of l’Orignal restaurant in the Old Port and wound up being found dead in the Lachine Canal three days later. You can read the CTV News article here.
In February of this year, the coroner’s office decided the death was accidental, the result of the inebriation of the victim. The coroner indicated that the victim had walked into the canal, fallen through the ice, regained his footing, fell through again and died of hypothermia while partially submerged, trying to free himself. You can read all about that here.
What disturbs me is that it seems so illogical, regardless of Besner’s blood alcohol level, which was reported at 0.26.
For one he was found a good distance from the bar. I estimate that it could have taken about twenty minutes to walk that distance, keeping in mind that the victim was apparently unfamiliar with his surroundings, as he was reported to have entered a depanneur near the Old Port restaurant he was frequenting to ask for directions to Verdun. While I suppose he was heading in the direction of Verdun, what would possess a Montrealer to cross the thin ice of the Canal? It wasn’t terribly cold back then, I’m not even certain it had really snowed much up to that point last winter. What would possess him to continue walking around in the cold without a hat or gloves that night, and why cross at that point of the Canal after potentially crossing paths with two bridges along Rue de la Commune? At the point where he was found, the Mill Street Bridge over the Canal would have been within eyesight.
It was this wikipedia article on the Smiley Face murder theory that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Why was he trying to find a way to Verdun? Why walk all that way? Intoxication seems too convenient an answer, a catch-all and lesson on why we shouldn’t drink too much all at the same time. You might want to consider this blog, which has been keeping track of some 200 responsible, college-aged men who have gone missing or inexplicably turned up dead across parts of North America over the last few years – Footprints at the River’s Edge
I’d really like to know if the workers who found Besner halfway submerged in the ice didn’t also notice a smiley face graffitied onto the side of the billboard pole you can see in the above photograph.