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Terms of Service (S1, E3)

Summary Notes

Season 1, Episode 3

Date of Release: July 11, 2022


Welcome to Simply Vanished, an investigative podcast about missing persons. The show is produced by Trembling Leaf Media in Minneapolis and hosted by civil rights lawyer Josh Newville. Alternating between serial and episodic format, Simply Vanished digs deep to tell the stories of unsolved disappearances. In this first season of the show, Josh dives into a story that hits especially close to home for him—that of Joshua Guimond, a college student at Saint John’s University in Minnesota who disappeared in the middle of the night on Saturday, November 9, 2002.

Before getting into the third episode covering the case, we recall a story involving a student named Anthony which occurred during approximately the same time Josh went missing. Anthony was walking back to his dorm after a party when a 4-door vehicle pulled up and convinced him to get in the car. They drove him to a swampy area and demanded he give the driver a blow job. Anthony ran into the woods and the car occupants chased after him, but never caught up to him. Josh asks that Anthony or anyone he has shared this story with over the years to please come forward with any additional information. 


Josh speaks with filmmaker and videographer Justin Tholl, whose pending documentary The Hunt for Josh details the disappearance of Josh Guimond and the investigation that has followed. The case is local to Justin, who grew up in St. Cloud. He also had friends who attended Saint John’s University during the time Guimond went missing. In recent years, he was shocked to learn that no new evidence had arisen since 2002 when Guimond first went missing. Justin explains that he started digging into the case and got a copy of Josh Guimond's computer hard drive and began analyzing it for clues. He discovered that data had been deleted just days after Guimond's disappearance. Someone downloaded and installed an internet washer and a file compressor software, and deleted files from Josh's computer. Whoever it was operating the computer also ran internet searches for Amber Alert, the Collegeville area and the television show America’s Most Wanted, and checked an online email account. 


A potential explanation is the fact that Guimond's dad and uncle stayed in his dorm room following his disappearance for several days, and that it was actually his uncle's email being checked. The uncle joins the conversation and shares his side of the story. Neither Guimond's uncle nor his father were computer savvy at that time and had no idea about this detail. They also touch on the finding of several fake IDs on Guimond's computer and the theory that the deletion activity may have been related to deleting these files. This is another instance in which if those friends would speak up about basic facts in this case, it would eliminated waste of investigative resources, and we could be one step closer to discovering what really happened to Josh Guimond. 


We also know that Guimond deleted a Yahoo chat program from his computer on October 28, 2002. He had several different accounts and was very active on the platform talking with people in a sexual way during the month of October 2002. During that month, it seems he was regularly up in the middle of the night on these chat rooms. Just prior to deleting his his account, there is record that Guimond reported another chat user for violating Yahoo Chat's Terms of Service, which also came almost immediately after Guimond had a twenty-plus minute phone call. While we don’t know who he reported or why, this suggests that something spooked Guimond enough for him to quit using his account altogether.


Please rate the show and subscribe on Apple podcasts, and download the Simply Vanished app! You can find more information and resources on our website.


If you have any information about Joshua Guimond, please contact us or the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department. You can submit tips anonymously on our website or via our tip line at 415-969-LOST (5678).


Gpa Gene:  I think the highlight of having him come to our farm, visit every summer, it was nothing for him to say hi to Paul Wellstone, or to David Mangy, or any of the people that used to stop in at the time I was county commissioner in Redwood County.


Gma Marge: And he was not that old when he started working for us, with us, at the grocery store because he had been what, 11 or 12, whatever. And he was quite the schmoozer. He would carry the groceries out for the people because the town was basically older people. He'd carry them out and he'd say, "I work on tips because my grandma doesn't pay me."

Cousin Jake: This would've been the time we were able to drive ourselves. So, we're going up and Josh had this Lumina. He must have just got the thing. And I was riding with him. I still remember it. It was an automatic, but it had first and second and drive, or third and drive. And it didn't matter every stoplight, everything, all the way up to Duluth, he powered through all those years, every damn light all the way up there. And I'm pretty sure the tranny went out the week after he got home.

Cousin Lizzie: Well, weren't you like--you would tell him, "I don't think that's a good idea."

Cousin Jake: Yeah - I'm like, "Dude, I don't know." He's like, "No, it is the quickest way to get there." He did his hunting and fishing, and stuff like that. When you're coming out here, we're making bombs, riding four-wheelers and three-wheelers, which wasn't in his wheelhouse most of the time. So, I was riding my dirt bike and he was riding a three-wheeler one time. And all of a sudden, he just went flying off the road and he hit a tree or whatever. So, I come back and I come around. He's laying in the ditch. And he just looks at me and goes, "I want my grandma!"

Gma Marge: If he'd be running the register and I'd be back maybe putting stuff away or something, he'd go, "Bag lady needed on one." He was always full of something.

Josh Newville: This is the Simply Vanished Podcast, produced by Trembling Leaf Media in Minneapolis. I'm your host, Josh Newville.


Welcome back to the podcast. And first of all, thank you to the members of Josh Guimond's family, who welcomed me graciously into their homes this weekend. At the top of the podcast, you heard from Gene and Marge Short, Josh's grandparents, and then from his cousins, Lizzie, Sean and Jake, and his aunt and uncle, Vicky and Tim. It was truly an honor and a privilege spending time with you in your homes, laughing, hearing your stories, and genuinely having hope that we are, together, pushing this case forward.


And that brings me to you, our listeners. Thank you for providing that hope by continuing to talk about Josh's case, for your kindness, your feedback. We cannot do this without you. And so, please continue to talk about this case. Please continue to share information about Josh and the leads that you're hearing on this podcast.

And on that note, before we dive into episode number three, recall this story involving Anthony as we reported in episode number two.



We have confirmed that the following story originated in November of 2002. It occurred approximately the same time that Josh went missing. A student we are calling Anthony was walking back to his dorm from a party in Flynntown, when a four-door pickup truck or SUV type vehicle pulled up. The four occupants of the vehicle told Anthony that they had a friend who was hurt or killed by the stone bridge. And he should get into the truck so they could safely get him back to his dorm. After Anthony climbed into the truck, the occupants drove him to a swampy area. When Anthony asked what they were doing, they told him it was time to pay the price for the ride. They then told Anthony he was to give the driver of the vehicle a blowjob. When the driver exited the vehicle to change spots with the passenger in the rear, Anthony ran into the woods. The four occupants then chased after Anthony, but apparently never caught up to him.



So, that's Anthony's story. The same two-week period that Josh Guimond disappears, the same Flynntown that Josh would have been walking from after leaving Nate's dorm, the same stone bridge that bloodhounds traced Josh halfway across, the same heart of campus that Josh theoretically would've been walking towards.

And this is all not to mention the proximity and similarities and potential connections with these other incidents that occurred around the same time and in some cases in a similar fashion. So, you can see why this is a very important lead.


But here's the problem. Unlike with Mary and Kyle, and Zach and Kyle's dad, Morgan, Anthony is not talking, or at least he has not yet responded to our efforts at reaching out. So, for now, I am simply reiterating this ask to not just Anthony, but to those who he's told this story to over the years, and I know there are at least several people, please step forward. Please call me, let's talk. I will keep you entirely anonymous as I have thus far. At the bare minimum, even if it doesn't solve this case or provide a major clue, it would eliminate a waste of investigative resources.

Turning the attention back to our listeners, I will update you as we know more information to the extent that we can. Please remember that this is an active, an ongoing investigation. And so, our ability to always keep you fully in the loop will be somewhat limited at times.

I am so excited to have Justin Tholl with us today. And this will be your first time hearing from him directly. He's been amazing to work with. He's done an incredible amount of work. And I really just can't thank him enough for everything, both in terms of helping me, but also in terms of helping Josh Guimond's family and just being so dedicated.


So, Justin, who are you? Where did you come from? Tell us about yourself.


Justin Tholl: Well, I was a storyteller. So, I knew at a very young age that I would be involved in making videos. So, that's what I do professionally, edit, shoot, produce video content mainly for web and websites, and broadcast. But for fun, I would do short films. I have a couple under my belts. I do a few music videos here and there.

But what drew me to this though was it was local. I grew up in St. Cloud. So, it's a few miles away from St. John's. A lot of my classmates and friends went to St. John's. I would visit them. In 2002, my friends were freshman at that point. And I remember Josh going missing around that time, and even remember seeing some of the posters they had put up.

It was years later, the podcast, In the Dark, came out. And one of the episodes featured Josh's case. And that just sparked something in me. Like, "Oh, yeah, that happened. And he's still missing."

And to me, that was unbelievable that it had been that long for this missing person to have zero evidence come up of wherever, whatever path happened to him. Nothing has came up since 2002. And that seemed bizarre. So, I think that's when I really truly started deep-diving, digging into Josh's case, almost too obsessive.


Josh Newville: So, you started purely researching online, right?


Justin Tholl: Yes. So, it would be gathering newspaper articles, old web news videos, anything I could find. I would try to get past news footage through broadcasting agencies and stuff, just trying to hunt these down. But I was just gathering everything I could.

Josh Newville: But then, at some point, you realized you were missing tons of information still.

Justin Tholl: I hit a big wall.


Josh Newville: What'd you do then?


Justin Tholl: About that time, I made the decision like, "Okay, I reached this wall. Either go proceed onto this and actually do something with it and make something out of it, or I have to just stop this cold turkey." That's when I called Brian.

Josh Newville: Josh's dad?


Justin Tholl: Josh's dad. And so, that's when I started digging in for real. And I got a lot more insight about who Josh was as a person and things revolving around his case. And eventually, he handed over the hard drive that Josh had at that time.

Josh Newville: The other thing that we should point out here is that investigators have an image of the hard drive taken relatively soon after Josh's disappearance, right?


Justin Tholl: Correct.


Josh Newville: And so, it's not as if you were trampling over evidence. By the time Brian gives you the computer, you most definitely are not the first person to look at the hard drive, right?


Justin Tholl: Correct. They installed some consumer-based recovery software.


Josh Newville: And tried to?


Justin Tholl: And see that and tried to pull what they could at that level.


Josh Newville: So, recovery software, why would you need recovery software? Why did someone try to use recovery software on Josh's computer?


Justin Tholl: Well, I assume they were looking for data that had been deleted that they were hoping to recover using this recovery software.


Josh Newville: They didn't find nearly the breadth and depth of information until you ultimately get ahold of it. How did that happen? What did you do differently?


Justin Tholl: Well, I'm obviously not a computer forensics guy. I'm not the best at that. So, I had to teach myself. I got some open-source forensic software that would be able to read all the data and metadata with every single file.


And just a lot of time sifting through everything on that computer, on that hard drive, running numerous searches, following trails within the files, just anything that I can. The majority of this time is me trying to find what's the true date. What is the absolute truth that this file was created or modified?


Josh Newville: A lot of people find it pretty spooky that Josh's computer was apparently playing music at 11:52 PM and skipping songs through 12:32 AM or something like that. There's something about this particular timestamp that you indicated was more reliable or seemingly more reliable than a lot of the other timestamps and time codes on the computer. What was that exactly?


Justin Tholl: That this particular file contained the UTC time code within it. So, I could compare the last modified time to the last entry that was written to this file. And I can see what each version of the drive was translating that date and time to be.


Josh Newville: I see. And so, it does seem to you then, this particular music match player that the timestamps associated with that are actually more consistent and more reliable than, say, the timestamps on random other parts of the computer.


Justin Tholl: That's accurate, yeah.


Josh Newville: How do we square that with the fact that Josh's dorm room doesn't register him badging in past 11:06 PM?


Justin Tholl: It could be someone else accessing his computer, a roommate. It could be someone. We talked about the rock in the door. Someone could have, anyone could have been in there. I don't know.


Josh Newville: So, to be clear, this wasn't a dorm that had a hallway. This was a townhouse style dorm, that in order to access it, the only access point was a front door on the ground level. And that was it, right?


Justin Tholl: Right, right.


Josh Newville: So, perhaps Josh gets back and the dorm... or the door is propped open. Or perhaps, he gets back and somebody else is just walking out the door at that same time and he catches it. Perhaps, the door wasn't propped open, but maybe it didn't latch all the way. Or maybe he did use his access card and it didn't register. Or maybe, as you point out, maybe it wasn't Josh at all.

And then, again, there's a possibility that there is... even though you've done everything you can to sync up the timestamps and verify that the timestamps on this program are actually quite accurate, there is a good possibility, I suppose, that maybe that actually still is wrong.


Justin Tholl: Correct.


Josh Newville: So, one question I've been asked, Justin, is, is it possible that everyone just has the timeline wrong, and that Josh went to Nate's dorm, along with Alex and Greg, earlier on maybe in the 10:00 hour, and that he actually left shortly before 11:00, or around 11:00, or something?

And that when he gets back, he badges in at 11:06, and then that explains how he's at the computer playing music and potentially using AOL instant messenger and such, and potentially doing other stuff on the web. We just don't know because of the deletion. But isn't it possible that that's true?


Justin Tholl: I guess it could be possible, but that's a lot of people to collaborate. And you would think that at least one person at the party would say, "No, it was at 10:00 or whatever."


Josh Newville: Right. So, we've got all told there were 10 or 11, if you count depending upon whether you count, Josh, or not, people. And so, it does seem like it would be a lot of people being a full hour off at that time. I want to get in. I want to talk about certainly what you found on the computer.


Justin Tholl: Sure.


Josh Newville: But before that, I think we have to address the elephant in the room. How and why, and who deleted information from the computer such that we needed recovery efforts in the first place?


Justin Tholl: So, there was some information deleted from Josh's computer days after Josh had gone missing.


Josh Newville: How do you know that?


Justin Tholl: We have internet activity listed out. We have a series of webpages that were visited. We have programs that were installed. And one of the programs installed was an Internet Washer, so way back when Microsoft tracked your data like they do today.


Justin Tholl: But there were two blatant areas that all of your search history would appear. All of your JPEGs from webpages would download to you. And they were in these two main folders. They're hidden. Users couldn't just open it up on their desktop. They were hidden folders deep within that. So, yes, they were harder to find.


This program targeted those two folders. But what wasn't apparent is Microsoft had a third folder hidden even further down that could store all that same info and this software did not target. So, that's what I'm working with with the webpage history on Josh's computer.


Josh Newville: That's why you have some information even though a lot of it at least was deleted, right?


Justin Tholl: Right, right.


Josh Newville: All right. So, you know that someone at some point has used the computer. Let's actually talk about how... I don't want to be hesitant here. I don't want to pass along judgment to people that did touch and use the computer necessarily because we're talking 20 years ago. I don't know that everyone understood the value of this type of electronic evidence. Right?


Justin Tholl: Exactly.


Josh Newville: And so, Ted joked that it's this big box of evidence, which it really is, and people are just using it in some ways that seems absurd to us now in 2022. But in 2002 and even for a number of years following that, I don't know that it seems that absurd. Right? So, if I understand correctly, someone logged on to the computer and you said visited some websites. What websites did they visit?


Justin Tholl: Pretty innocent websites. They searched the Amber Alert. They even searched for the area of Collegeville, which is adjacent to St. John's. They searched the name, Josh Guimond, and no results came up. It was way too early for even Amber Alert or for the other websites. They even have Josh's name out there. They also searched America's most wanted.


Josh Newville: America's most wanted?


Justin Tholl: Yeah, that was a strange one. I'm only assuming they're looking for any info on Josh at that time.


Josh Newville: Did they visit any other websites in that immediate timeframe?


Justin Tholl: During that timeframe, they also visited the Internet Washer site. They looked at getting a trial version. And then, there was more activity using webmail.


Josh Newville: Wait, someone logged in the middle of all of this? Someone accessed their webmail?


Justin Tholl: Their webmail, yeah, or email.


Josh Newville: In terms of the order of events, did the webmail happen at the beginning or in the middle?


Justin Tholl: In the middle. There is even two instances where Internet Washer site was access to. So, first, there was the initial Amber Alert, America's most wanted, Internet Washer trial, and then it jumped back to more activity, webmail.


Josh Newville: And another program that was installed was some zip program, right?

Justin Tholl: Yeah. It's an early version of, if you remember, WinZip back in the day. That was the thing. It was software that would package up files specifically and try to compress them in a more manageable file size.


Josh Newville: So, basically you could take lots of information and put it onto a thumb drive, right?


Justin Tholl: Exactly.


Josh Newville: Do we know whether a thumb drive or any other device was used around the same time as that zip program was used? 

Justin Tholl: We do. We can see a USB device being used in that. And we'd have no idea which files they took. Whether those files were deleted or not, they could still be on the computer. There's just no way of knowing what they took, or if anything was took at all. But they didn't use Josh's account on his computer. They had to use... they had to create their own account.


Josh Newville: And that user that was created was one of Josh's roommates, right?


Justin Tholl: Yep.


Josh Newville: And you've talked to that roommate at least in writing briefly, right?


Justin Tholl: Correct.

Josh Newville: And that roommate has denied ever touching Josh's computer. Is that correct?

Justin Tholl: That is correct.


Josh Newville: And their explanation is that they gave the username and password to someone else who was using Josh's computer in the days following his disappearance, right?


Justin Tholl: Yeah. It was his understanding that he needed that information in order to use the computer to use the internet.


Josh Newville: One theory I'm working within this case is that the reason someone may have used an Internet Washer and brought a zip program onto Josh's computer and taken files off of it is to engage in some impression management. Does that make sense to you?


Justin Tholl: Yeah, it's totally possible.


Josh Newville: Impression management is a danger to any investigation that involves human behavior. Very often, you as the investigator maybe pulled down rabbit holes by people who engage in conduct that seems suspicious to you or that cause an event to occur that seems like foul play.

Often though, that event or that conduct can be explained by something completely innocent, or at very minimum, something simply irrelevant to your investigation. Because those rabbit holes can cost you an exorbitant amount of investigative resources, such as time and money, it's important to check for impression management as an explanation where you have concerning conduct or events.

For example, in this case, there are two potential theories regarding impression management that we are currently kicking around. The first is that Josh's dad and Josh's uncle stayed in his dorm room following his disappearance for several days. And in fact, it was Paul Guimond's webmail that was being checked in close proximity to when the Internet Washer and zip program were downloaded.

So, let's just ask him, why not? No one seriously suspects that Paul and/or Brian engaged in any foul play against Josh. And so, is it possible that they were trying to protect Josh or themselves from some sort of embarrassment? Or who knows what other form of impression management may be at play? And it just so happens, Paul brings up the second theory that I'm kicking around at the end. Here's a portion of our conversation.


Josh Newville: Hey, Paul. It's great to meet you. And thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. I've been getting to know the family a little bit more. And yeah, it's been really nice.


Paul Guimond: Thank you. I appreciate you doing the podcast.


Josh Newville: Yeah, of course. So, one of the things that you might recall... and you were actually there right on campus in the days following Josh's disappearance, right?


Paul Guimond: Yes, I was, where I stayed in the dorm room with my brother, Brian.


Josh Newville: You actually stayed in Josh's very dorm room itself, right?


Paul Guimond: Yep. In Josh's dorm room, yes.


Josh Newville: And there were a lot of late nights, a lot of searching. You guys were doing really everything you could to try and find your nephew, right?

Paul Guimond: Yes. So, we were just going on right away. They're saying he drowned the lake. It's like, "There's no way." But in my opinion, somebody from the campus snatched him up.


Josh Newville: And we're going to talk about the lake and the idea that he could have drowned. And we're going to address all of that and certainly as many of the possibilities that have leads as we can. But for right now, suffice to say that even investigators and I don't think really anyone else seriously is exploring the idea that the lake is a real possibility at this point.

So, that's got me really just digging into who was Josh, figuring out what made him tick, what he was up to, especially around the time of his disappearance. Really trying to better understand him, dig into his computer, dig into his daily habits, talking to people, things like that. And I hope you do get a chance to listen to his autobiography, the one that we had in our bonus episode I guess, because, man, it was impressive.


Paul Guimond: As I just said, my girlfriend and I were just going to sit down. We're going to listen to that tonight. I mean, he was the brightest one of my niece and nephews that came out, and he was going to be a politician. There's now two leads about that.


Josh Newville: Well, so one of the things that's come up over the years and it's just trickled out at times, but in the days following Josh's disappearance, investigators didn't lock down his computer right away. It was just a different time. So, it took him I think three, four, five days or something like that to grab it. But within those first few days that you were there, you guys were using his computer to check your email and stuff like that while you were hanging out in his dorm room looking for him. Right?


Paul Guimond: Yes, exactly.


Josh Newville: Well, one of the things that we've learned is that in order to access the internet at St John's on one of those computers at that time, you needed a network login from a student or a staff member.


Josh Newville: And there's been some controversy surrounding the fact that a new user account was created on Josh's computer couple days after his disappearance under the name of one of his roommates. And that roommate says, "Hey, I just gave my login information, or I logged in for Josh's dad or his uncle, or something. And that's it. I never touched the computer again."


Josh Newville: And it seems like some of what he's saying here must have some truth to it. Because for example, when we're looking at the history here, we can see that you checked your email. You logged into your Yahoo email and you looked for your nephew on Amber Alerts, and America's most wanted, and stuff like that. Right?


Paul Guimond: Yeah. I mean, I remember like it's today. I remember doing all that.


Josh Newville: Gotchya. So, in that immediate timeframe, in that same few minutes even, there was also a search for an Internet Washer on the computer and a file compressor, a zip software. It's not quite clear to what level stuff was deleted. It does seem like stuff was deleted from the computer at that point.


Josh Newville: And so, there's been a lot of questions as to, was this done by that roommate, or the one whose username that was created was brand new, or was this maybe done by family as some sort of impression management, wanting to make sure that they got something off the computer that might be embarrassing-


Paul Guimond: Yep, I understand all that.

Josh Newville: ... for Josh or something? Or was it nefarious? Maybe someone trying to cover up foul play or something like that. And as we're trying to dig in and understand all of this, I wanted to ask you, was this you? I mean, you're obviously logged into your email basically the same time. You and/or Brian, did you guys download this stuff and try to delete stuff for-


Paul Guimond: No, I did not have any clue of that.


Josh Newville: All right. So, we keep looking.


Paul Guimond: I can tell you straight up right now, my brother, Brian, is not computer savvy, even now in this day and age. And back then, I didn't know about that either to be honest with you. I did not, getting on and checking email, stuff like that.

I mean, later on, you'd say, "You learn about that stuff." Yes, what I know now to back then, hell, it's way different. Yes, I could have... I couldn't even God damn search on his computer to try to find stuff. Now, did you find the fact that he was making fake IDs?


Josh Newville: All right. So, there was an Adobe file with some fake IDs, right?


Justin Tholl: Yes.


Josh Newville: And this has received some attention in the past. But at the end of the day, these were Adobe Photoshop files with some really terrible image, terrible fakes, by the way. I don't know how [inaudible 00:30:24].


Justin Tholl: They'd never pass.


Josh Newville: Maybe in some bars, they don't. I don't know. But they were pretty bad, especially the Michigan one, right?


Justin Tholl: Right, right.


Josh Newville: So, there was I think four or five fake IDs on his computer. Interestingly, Josh's was not on there if he even had one. We don't even know if he had a fake ID. And we're not going to name their names because what's the point, right? But four of his friends, their photos and their names were with fake dates of birth, because we also know their dates of birth and they're not the same, were on these IDs. Right?


Justin Tholl: Yes.

Josh Newville: And 19, 20, 21-year-olds might legitimately be a little bit scared of the idea of having been busted having used a fake ID. Right?


Justin Tholl: Sure.

Josh Newville: So, there has been some speculation I think that the deletion activity may have been related to just simply trying to clean up those IDs off the computer.


Justin Tholl: That's a theory that has been thrown around quite a bit.


Josh Newville: You look at me skeptically though. What about that? It seems like you doubt that explanation.


Justin Tholl: I doubt because the Adobe file was never deleted. It's been on his computer ever since it first was created in '01.


Josh Newville: How do you know that?


Justin Tholl: I can see the created date, modified date, every time they open it. I see no attempts of those photo IDs even being deleted at all. They were just left on.


Josh Newville: Well, I mean, it's possible that there were more, right? And then, maybe for example, Josh's was on there and it was deleted.


Justin Tholl: It's possible.


Josh Newville: And so, you can see why someone might suspect that that was their goal is maybe to delete the fake IDs off the computer, right?


Justin Tholl: Right. And a lot of people have theorized that maybe Josh was doing this photo ID ring, where he was paid as a service to provide other students or other people these fake IDs. And I read that and it makes zero sense. But what's on the computer? It's literally those four IDs.


Josh Newville: I mean, again, this is another instance where if those friends would just talk about this basic thing, it would yet again help us clear up stuff that 20 years later should not be something we're sitting here struggling with trying to understand.


Justin Tholl: Right. Just put it to bed.


Josh Newville: So, we also know that Josh deleted something else from his computer on October 28th, right?


Justin Tholl: Yes.


Josh Newville: What was that?


Justin Tholl: That was the Yahoo chat program.


Josh Newville: And what else do we know about the Yahoo chat program?


Justin Tholl: So, we know that Josh had been active on the Yahoo chat throughout a number of different rooms. And he had several accounts chatting in these rooms.


Josh Newville: So, he was using different accounts, profiles to chat, right?


Justin Tholl: That's correct.


Josh Newville: And this was in the Yahoo chat program itself that he was doing this, right, or on the web, I guess?


Justin Tholl: On the web. It was a web-based app.


Josh Newville: Got it. Do we know what rooms he was in?


Justin Tholl: Some of them, yes.


Josh Newville: Were they sexual?


Justin Tholl: Yes.


Josh Newville: So, he was definitely using Yahoo chat to talk in a sexual way with people, right?


Justin Tholl: That's correct.


Josh Newville: Had he been doing this throughout the whole time that he had the computer as far as you can tell?


Justin Tholl: No. That activity happened, I would say, mid-2002. And it started with just his Yahoo account, his Yahoo email, which was Joshua5427 or something is the zip code of Collegeville. So, it started innocently enough. He would search. He would go into law chat rooms, sports chat rooms, that sort of thing, and dating chat rooms too. Nothing too crazy.


Josh Newville: Did that change at some point?


Justin Tholl: It did. So, two new profiles were created. And I'm being careful not to say Josh did this because I don't know for sure that Josh did this because anyone had access to his computer. Anyone could walk in there and use it, and people did. How likely is this that it's someone else? Not very.


Josh Newville: Why do you say it's not very likely?


Justin Tholl: That anyone could have came in, just because the time that it was used. Those are times regularly he would be at his dorm.


Josh Newville: And let's be more specific. It was in the middle of the night usually, right?


Justin Tholl: Yeah.


Josh Newville: And I mean, quite frequently, it seems like Josh was up at very late hours and very early hours into the morning using these chat rooms, right?


Justin Tholl: Yeah, pretty regularly.


Josh Newville: Well, I should say someone was, but it seems like it was because of that, it was probably Josh.


Justin Tholl: Yes, we could say it was probably Josh.


Josh Newville: And we should add here, we also have Josh's badge access data for his dorm room for the entire fall semester of 2002. And we can tell when he went into his dorm room, and then when he would get on the computer by comparing these pieces of information, right?


Justin Tholl: Correct.


Josh Newville: So, in all likelihood, it was Josh that created these two new Yahoo chat profiles in early October 2002, right?


Justin Tholl: Yes.


Josh Newville: And he then engaged in very different behavior on the Yahoo chat program than he had previously starting in mid-2002. What was different about that behavior?


Justin Tholl: Way more explicit material than he'd shown in the past.


Josh Newville: So, he was going into chat rooms that were clearly very sexual in nature. He was doing this quite frequently for the entire month of October of 2002, right?


Justin Tholl: That's right.


Josh Newville: What happened on October 28th that Josh deleted the program?


Justin Tholl: We don't know for sure, but we do have evidence that he had visited the Yahoo administration and reported a user for misconduct for breaching the terms, agreement. What that is, we have no idea.


Josh Newville: How do you know that he did it?


Justin Tholl: We can see the websites that he visited. We saw that he had info that he submitted and that got sent off. 


Josh Newville: Wait, did you see the info that he submitted?


Justin Tholl: We can't interpret the info that was submitted.


Josh Newville: So, it's just encrypted data that you can tell was transmitted?


Justin Tholl: Yeah. Yahoo would probably have that if they stored that information for that long of a period, but they would be the only ones that would have that info right now if it existed.


Josh Newville: And so, he logs on. And do you know what user he reported?


Justin Tholl: I do not. No.


Josh Newville: So, he logs on. He reports somebody for something. We don't know who or for what. And then, what happens?


Justin Tholl: Uninstalls Yahoo chat and deletes his user folders on his hard drive.


Josh Newville: So, not only did he delete the program from the computer.


Justin Tholl: And it could have automatically deleted that folder too, but that's key because back then, Yahoo chat would store some of your information, who you're talking to. Even some of the personal messages that you've sent or received would be saved in this folder.


Josh Newville: These were webcam rooms, right?


Justin Tholl: Some of them were, yeah. So, he had been doing this Yahoo chat for a while. And it seems like later in the month of doing this, he went and visited these camera chats. And the focus seemed to turn more into webcams.


Josh Newville: It seems like something spooked Josh that caused him to delete this program, right?


Justin Tholl: I agree. Something occurred that he decided to never use this for a while at least.


Josh Newville: And so, you and I have looked at a lot of pieces of evidence. And we've been trying to construct a timeline to track as much of Josh's activity as possible, right?


Justin Tholl: Yes.


Josh Newville: One of the things we noticed is that it seems like Josh logged onto this computer on October 28th and reported this user for violating terms of service, almost immediately having a 28-minute phone call using his phone card, right?


Justin Tholl: That's right.


Josh Newville: And we have no idea who he called using that phone card that day, do we?


Justin Tholl: Correct.

Josh Newville: And so therefore, we have no idea whether that's related to the logging onto Yahoo and reporting the user or not, right?


Justin Tholl: It could be totally unrelated.


Josh Newville: With the information that you have been able to recover from Josh's computer, you've learned a lot about him. Fair to say?


Justin Tholl: That's fair.


Josh Newville: You've got at least six months a year or more of internet history, just at some level, right?


Justin Tholl: That's right.


Josh Newville: You've got activity on the computer that's not strictly internet related, right?


Justin Tholl: Correct.


Josh Newville: As we've talked about already on this show, you've got the music player, right?


Justin Tholl: That's right.


Josh Newville: What other kinds of software have you been able to find on the computer?


Justin Tholl: Software-wise, I believe I have all the data from when he first purchased the computer freshman year at St. John's.


Josh Newville: How about email? Have you been able to access Josh's emails?


Justin Tholl: I've been able to recover some of the webmail that he used. So, he would go into Hotmail. And since that was web activity, I was able to recover some of those messages. But as for pulling specific emails, correspondence, I've not been able to pull anything from any of his accounts or online accounts.


Josh Newville: So, you've got a few emails, it sounds like, but you don't have a lot.


Justin Tholl: Right.

Josh Newville: And so, I think some of the emails you said, you've seen some with his ex-girlfriend, Katie, right?


Justin Tholl: Yes.

Josh Newville: And what do you recall about those emails that you've been able to find?

Justin Tholl: Well, those were after their breakup.


Josh Newville: It was actually at some time in the summer of 2002, not just a month or two before. It was actually earlier, right?


Justin Tholl: Right.


Josh Newville: Okay. And so, after the breakup, what did you see in the emails?


Justin Tholl: Just them talking about how they missed... they scheduled to meet up after a class. And Josh had missed it and he was sorry. And it just seems like everyday things. There was one point where he messaged Katie saying, "Hey, could you bring back my gray hoodie and something else that I left there?", and just things of that nature.


Josh Newville: Wasn't there an email, where shortly before Josh's disappearance, or I don't know, maybe within the month before Josh's disappearance, where they're talking about homecoming? So, this is between Katie and Josh?


Justin Tholl: Yes.


Josh Newville: What was going on with that?


Justin Tholl: Katie had invited Josh to the homecoming game and Josh had declined. And he stated that he was trying to avoid Jason.


Josh Newville: This has been a rabbit hole in this case for a long time. And I think we've just managed to be able to fill it in here in this past week or so. If Josh is avoiding someone by the name of Jason in the month of October 2002, so a month before his disappearance, that's obviously potential for concern. 


Josh Newville: And so, there's been some speculation for years as to what Jason could he possibly be referring to that he would know at St John's that would potentially be at St. John's homecoming.


Josh Newville: Well, upon further reflection and digging into the emails and digging into old calendars that are available online for the high school games and so forth, it actually makes far more sense that this is the Maple Lake High School homecoming game that Katie and Josh are referring to in this email exchange, not the St John's university.


Josh Newville: And for that reason, it then substantially narrows the number of Jasons. In fact, Josh was very close friends with Jason growing up. And so, I called him and further dug into why might Josh have been avoiding him at that time. As it turns out, Jason thinks he was doing a multi-level marketing thing at the time. And he thinks that Josh may have been avoiding him for that reason.


Josh Newville: Nonetheless, they remained friends and they were lifelong friends. And so, it was actually really nice talking to Jason and hearing about his memories of Josh and their friendship. And Jason noticed the growth that Josh was clearly exhibiting at college, the changing perspectives as he commented himself on in his autobiography.


Jason: He was, I would say, one of a kind, but everybody uses that cliche. He was a very good friend, fiercely loyal when anything was happening. He would take the time and help you out. I have pictures from second, third grade at birthday parties, everything else. We would hang out all the time, all the way through high school, all through quite a bit of elementary school.


Jason: You're always forever evolving. So, college changes a lot of people because you're away from your core group that you knew through high school. And other people have different perspectives that you may never have thought of. And Josh was always very curious about everything.


Josh Newville: Before we disconnected, I asked Jason if there's anything he'd like to say to potential tipsters in Josh's case.


Jason: Think if it was your own kid, or your own best friend, anybody that you're really close to. If you want to know what happened to them, you all know how we feel and how we want to know what happened to Josh.

Daniel Gunnarson: (singing "The Rivers Told Me Lies")

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