Part I: Crime Victim Sergeant Patrick Rust

A tireless victims' rights advocate, friend of the blog, and excellent crime writer at the site Zasu Says  sent me information on the story of former missing person and now deceased and probable crime victim Sergeant Patrick Rust. 

After researching this sad case, I had a few comments for my Missing Persons Monday segment.

Case Summary

On March 16, 2007 at about 1 am, US Army Sergeant Patrick Rust, who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan, left a bar called Clueless in Watertown, NY.  Rust had been drinking with friends at the establishment for several hours, was apparently intoxicated, and the bartender refused to serve him any more.

After leaving the bar, investigators reported that Rust's phone was used twice to call one of the friend's he had talked with that night/morning.  Police have been unable to find anyone who saw him alive again.

The sergeant's roommate, also active-duty, told police that he had not seen the missing man since the day before and that Rust did not return home from the bar that morning.  Rust did not show-up for work at Fort Drum that next morning and Rust's mother, the roommate, and his supervisor subsequently reported him missing the following Monday.

Six months later, Rust's skeletal remains were found in a field six miles from the bar.  An autopsy was inconclusive as to a cause of death.


--Unknown crime scene, victim's belongings disappear (his personal items were removed from his off-base apartment prior to police involvement), and little information gained from the found remains--with the lack of physical evidence, this is the type of case that is dependent on a tipster to be solved. 

--In similar circumstances, it would be likely that more than one person would be needed to overpower someone like Rust, but the sergeant's level of intoxication may have been such that he was simply unable to care for himself and was venerable to just one motivated attacker...


To keep this post a reasonable length, I'll finish Sgt. Rust's case next Monday in Part II. 

More information on this case can be found at

Note: The following comment was left about an upcoming program featuring Sgt. Rust's case:

"Crime Wire is doing a segment on the Rust case from 9 to 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, May 10. Our guest will be forensic investigator William Sullivan, who is looking into the case on behalf of Rust family members. 


Stephanie Faris said...

So sad. Were there signs of trauma, like maybe he was hit by a car or something?

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

The family must be happy to have found him but I think the unknown would hurt just as much.

CrimeWire said...

Crime Wire is doing a segment on the Rust case from 9 to 9:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, May 10. Our guest will be forensic investigator William Sullivan, who is looking into the case on behalf of Rust family members.

The link to the show is:

BobKat said...

I'm not familiar with the case, but six miles isn't unheard of to walk if one is drunk, and maybe obsessed with memories. It would have been cold out that night, most likely. At the place he was found, did he seem to be missing anything? And as Stephanie asked: any signs of a struggle or trauma?

Those are my thoughts. I can remember a few times I've wandered intoxicated on cold Winter nights... not caring.

Miss Caitlin S. said...

hmmm...unsettling. I want to read the second half. I am obsessed with an unsolved case regarding a man named Brian Shaffer. If you ever can take the time to shed some light on that, you should. It blows my mind that he still hasn't been found.

Maxi said...

It's possible that Sgt. Rust was killed, robbed and his body dumped.

Hopefully more on this case will come to light.

J. J. in Phila said...

Someone young and in shape, as a soldier would be, could walk six miles, even intoxicated. This could death due to exposure, suicide, accident (he fell), a robbery gone bad, or straight out murder.

It is also very sad.

Is the area prone to crime?

Momma Fargo said...

Sad case. Sounds like it's one of those cold cases that will take a lot of leg work and good, old-fashioned police work to get leads.

Slamdunk said...

Sorry I have been slow in responding to these comments/questions.

Stephanie: The information released to the public about the man's cause of death was just inconclusive. Evidently, the medical examiner did not find anything that would result in more than a guess as to how he died.

BobKat: Apparently, no trauma. It was reported that his wallet and id were recovered with the body--and the wallet contained about $80.

Miss Caitlin: I'll have to review the Shaffer case.

Maxi & JJ: Violent crime is a possibility. Watertown's population in 2008 was 27,000+ and there were reportedly 143 crimes and 20 armed robberies that year (FBI UCRs).

I get the impression that the crime rate there is typical for communities of that size that have military bases. Since it was reported that the man's wallet and money were recovered, investigators obviously downgraded robbery as a theory.

Anonymous said...

could the army be covering up for this "roommate"? Why would they do something like that? Perhaps he had a lawsuit lingering over their heads. . . you know anyone think of the possibility that the "roommate" got an attorney because he was sent overseas when he had already had severe mental health issues. That may be a problem for the Army...a serious problem that they might just let someone get away with murder for. . . perhaps......

Nike Chillemi said...

Very sad. I'm always for justice for the victim, but it's possible it wasn't foul play.

My prayers go out to the family and his roommate.

Nike Chillemi

Anonymous said...

Does your website have a contact page? I'm having trouble locating it but, I'd like to shoot you an email.
I've got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.
Feel free to surf my web site ; payday loans reviews