Part III: Crime Victim Sgt. Patrick Rust

Continuing from last Monday...

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 friends 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.


Last week, I ended with two aspects of the Rust case that I wanted to discuss further.

The first was:

The "Clueless" bar is known as an alternative lifestyle or gay (evidently not exclusively lesbian/gay though) bar.

An alternate lifestyle/gay bar in a community that does not feature many similar establishments may be significant in this case. 

First, since it was know that Clueless was this type of place, it could attract persons in the general public with violent tendencies--specifically, those that may loiter nearby to victimize customers leaving.

A very intoxicated man leaving a bar in the early morning would make for an appealing crime target.

Second, Don't Ask Don't Tell was the US armed forces policy at the time of Sgt. Rust's disappearance. 

Could persons who were violent toward active duty soldiers running in such social circles have been loitering to victimize a comrade leaving Clueless?  Certainly. 

Finally, Sgt. Rust's presence at the establishment was known by several soldiers.  He placed cell phone calls to what investigators described as soldiers outside his circle of friends the evening that he disappeared. 

Could someone believing that he was participating in a homo/bisexual lifestyle have intentionally gone to the bar that morning to deceive and then confront Rust?  

Certainly again. 

In sum, the possibility of a hate crime could be a factor in this case. 

I'll save my second point until next time: that investigators were examining allegations that Sgt. Rust was trying to obtain cocaine the night he vanished.

More information on this case can be found at or my other posts on Sgt. Rust are here


Anonymous said...

Good post Slam Dunk thank you! Are you going to cover that guy that lawyered up?

Brian Miller said...

interesting...ugh on the hate crime possibility...very possibly the case..

ladyfi said...

So sad. Hate does so much harm in this world.

Maxi said...

If this is a hate crime or robbery why take the body six miles away?

secret agent woman said...

It sickens me that are people who go to gay bars to unleash their hatred.

BobKat said...

On occasion I'm going to disagree with you... as you did with that "vote you told me about". What you suspect is of course possible. However, by 2007 "that was politics, in the mainstream"... the "Hate Crime" angle is dated much earlier, late 20th C. By this time you've got your lone wolf... not "individuals".

The roomate from Part One, may have been told to call him in by Mr. Rust simply since Rust was troubled, or thought he might be back late, not able to work. Or the roomate is complicit in a crime.

The people Rust met, were most likely friends that knew "about his tastes". Brings us back to a lone wolf that may well have stalked him at the bar.

The question I have is did Sargent Rust walk all that way voluntarily, or was he driven to that spot. If he walked he would have been found forensically different than if he was driven, I should think even 6 months later.

Are there any other reported cases like this in that area?

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the comments all.

@ Anonymous: Yes, I should get to it next week.

@ Maxi: The location of the body and the lack of evidence at the scene has been problematic for authorities. I think it is reasonable to argue that if an intoxicated Sgt. Rust were picked up by a group of people who intended to either beating him or beating him and rob him and their victim died, then dumping the body in a farmer's field would be plausible. The original incident esclates, Sgt. Rust dies, and in a panic the offenders drop the body not far from where the death took place.

@ Bob: Feel free to disagree anytime, and good question about the frequency of possible hate crimes in that area--I don't have that information. In arguing hate crime, it is important to note that this activity usually features multiple offenders. Even being intoxicated, over-powering a young soldier fresh from an overseas assignment, would seem to indicate more than one. It is unclear if he walked to the area or was driven, but it would seem that being transported would be the favored theory. So, a lone-wolf theory is possible, but if this is a hate crime, it is easier to imagine a group of people being responsible for the man's death.

ZaSu Says said...

Please remember to listen to the Simon Barrett show on Blog Talk Radio on Sunday, August 14, at 4 p.m. Eastern. He’s going to profile Patrick’s case. The show URL is click here

ZaSu Says said...

Please remember to listen to the Simon Barrett show on Blog Talk Radio on Sunday, August 14, at 4 p.m. Eastern. He’s going to profile Patrick’s case. The show URL is click here