True-crime show uses footage from Beaver County drone group

A new true-crime series on television’s Oxygen Network makes the case that a Pittsburgh college student’s drowning may be linked to a serial killer.

“Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice” debuts at 7 p.m. Jan. 19, focusing on Dakota James, a 23-year-old Duquesne University student reported missing after a night out drinking with friends and co-workers.

James was last seen alive around 11:40 p.m. Jan. 25, 2017. A surveillance camera captured the last-known image of him entering a dark alley in downtown Pittsburgh near the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which he would have crossed to reach his residence on the city’s North Side.

Weeks after the disappearance, Larry Forletta, the private investigator hired by James’ family, contacted Unmanned Response, a Beaver County-based drone group, to conduct a “boat and drone” search of the Ohio River.

“Smiley Face Killers” viewers will see aerial footage taken during the search and video shot afterward

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