Sixteen years have passed since the body of Royal Military College cadet Joe Grozelle was found in the Cataraqui River in Kingston.
Now, after nearly two decades, Grozelle’s father, Ron, is still searching for answers.
“It seemed at the coroner’s inquest that they were heading down the path of Joe maybe committed suicide, and we didn’t believe that at all,” said Ron Grozelle via Skype from his home near Chatham, Ont.
He continued to say that there is no evidence that his son died by suicide, telling Global News that when he went to identify Joe, he noticed that his son had damage to his face as if he were in an altercation.
“I noticed that he had some bruising on his lip and that he had some broken teeth and chipped teeth,” said Grozelle.
According to Grozelle, this is what sparked his suspicions that the investigation may have been improperly conducted.
Before Grozelle’s body was found on Nov. 13, 2003, the Royal Military College area was littered with search crews — on the ground, in the air, and in the water.
According to his family and reports, he was last seen studying for exams in his dorm room, and when the third-year cadet didn’t show up for basketball practice, he was reported missing.
Three weeks later, his body was finally found in the water, not far from the campus, where the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service ruled his death was suicide by drowning.
After Ron and his family pushed for another investigation, Grozelle’s body was exhumed for a second autopsy. Ontario Provincial Police later concluded there was no foul play involved.
“I find that a little bit odd, that they can come to the conclusion that there was no criminality involved yet,” Grozelle said.
“They don’t know anything about what happened to Joe.”
Even though the case is now closed, the Grozelles have once again reached out to the coroner’s office to try to reopen the investigation as a cold case.
In a letter to Ontario chief coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer, the family wrote that they will never stop searching for the truth about what happened to their son.
“Just as you have your code of ethics, so do we as a family,” the letter reads.
“We know that the answers are there should anyone take the time to truly look for them.”
When asked why the family is now sending this letter to the coroner’s office and speaking to the media, Ron quickly said that his family feels that somebody knows something about what happened to his son, and maybe after 16 years they’re willing to come forward.
The chief coroner told Global News that he has read the letter and is preparing a response to the Grozelle family.