Hundreds of athletic, affluent, college-aged men from New York to Minnesota have reportedly been found dead in bodies of water since 1997.

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Retired NYPD detectives Kevin Gannon, Anthony Duarte and Mike Donovan and professor of criminal justice, Dr. Lee Gilbertson claim they have discovered an eerie connection between the deaths: near where most of the bodies are recovered is graffiti of a smiley face. The team says they believe a nationwide network of serial killers, who have been dubbed the "Smiley Face Killers," are drugging, kidnapping and killing these men, then dumping their bodies in water.

WATCH: Why Six Mothers Say They’re Convinced Their Sons Were Murdered And Did Not Die Accidentally As Classified

However, the team, who says they are determined to uncover new evidence to have these cases reopened, is facing backlash. In the video above from Wednesday’s episode of Dr. Phil, Dr. Phil reviews some of the ways people are trying to debunk their theories. How do the investigators respond?

And on Wednesday, hear from six moms whose sons have been found dead in bodies of water and why they believe their children were murdered, possibly by the "Smiley Face Killers." Check here to see where you can watch.

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Why Investigators Say It's Unlikely That Men Whose Deaths Were Classified As Drownings Died In The Water