Monday, April 10, 2017

Mystery Monday: Brian Shaffer

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



Barhopping is one of the most dangerous things a young person can do. So many of the missing persons/mysterious death cases I hear about happened while a young person was partying late at night with friends. Such is the case with today's mystery, which takes us back to 2006, when a man with a very promising future headed out on the town with friends:



Brian Shaffer was a 27-year-old second-year medical school student at Ohio State University. He and his girlfriend, Alexis, were leaving the next morning for Florida on spring break. Some have said they thought he might have been planning to propose on that trip.



At approximately 9pm on March 31, Brian met up with his friend Clint for a night out on the town. This was something they did on a regular basis. Alexis was spending the weekend with her family. When she spoke with him on the phone, everything seemed normal.


Image credit: Dateline NBC

Brian and Clint visited several bars, drinking at each, before heading to the Ugly Tuna Saloona, a seafood restaurant in Colombus, Ohio.



A camera was set up at the entrance to capture those coming up the escalator that led to the restaurant. The camera captured Brian, Clint, and Clint's friend Meredith. Brian was in front, leaning on the handrail.



Inside, Brian ran into some girls he knew and was "doing his usual thing and was talking to those two girls," Clint says. At 1:55 am, Brian appeared on the video for the last time. He was talking to some girls at the front, near two security guards. The camera catches him walking back toward the restaurant. He's never seen again.



A few minutes later, it was closing time. Clint and Meredith searched the entire restaurant for him and couldn't find him. They said the last time they'd seen him, he was heading to the stage to talk to the band.



Assuming he'd left, they went home. The next morning, his girlfriend repeatedly tried to reach him. They were supposed to be at the airport for a morning flight. He didn't show up.



Since that night, there has been no activity on his credit cards or cell phone. But the biggest mystery of all? How did he get out of the bar? There were cameras at every exit and police have scrutinized every second of tape--no sign of him leaving the bar.



There was one exit without a camera...but it required navigating through an area that was heavily under construction. Would he have gone out that way on his own? Why?



Police believe it was foul play. Even if he'd walked out on his own, the trip back to his apartment would involve walking through a rough neighborhood, drunk, alone. But true crime fans like to believe missing people like Brian simply walk away to start a new life somewhere.



What do you think happened to Brian Shaffer?

41 comments:

  1. These stories are so sad. And creepy. They give you that "it could happen to anyone" feeling.

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    1. Unfortunately, 20-somethings can often spend a lot of late nights out clubbing...and that can be dangerous. Normally, it's women who fall into harm, but this was one of the rare cases where it was a man.

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  2. I agree with what the commenter above said. It's very scary and sad.

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    1. I just read a study that women are drawn to true crime because of basic biology. Some of us are subconsciously driven to learn more to keep ourselves safe? I don't know. I think I just like trying to solve unsolved mysteries!

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  3. I see no reason Brian would walk away to start a new life. The presence of cameras everywhere makes this an even more mysterious mystery. I can't even guess what might have happened to him, but I definitely believe it was foul play.

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    1. I do, too...I feel like this is one of MANY cases where the police aren't letting the public know what they know. Those missing pieces are what will make this make sense.

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  4. I agree with Valerie. I don't think Brian would simply walk away from med school and an obviously happy life. He got out of the place somehow, maybe he was a bit tipsy and found the exit without the cameras?

    Either way, it's horrible not knowing what happened makes it worse. I know the family must have been devastated and distraught beyond imagination.

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    1. The family is another story. Right before he disappeared, his mom died. His dad died in 2008 when a tree fell on him during a windstorm. His brother is the only surviving member of the family.

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  5. Another sad story that may never be solved. He seemed to have everything a young man could want. It's strange that the cameras never saw him leaving the building. That is a mystery. I feel sorry for his family and the girlfriend.

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    1. AND one TV station noted that every person who was in that bar was seen leaving by camera but him. They also pointed out that nearby bars' cameras didn't show him, either...so if he somehow managed to find his way out through that construction area, how did he get around all those other cameras? It has the feel of a locked-room mystery!

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  6. I am truly a cynic - that's what comes out for me with these stories. I usually believe the worst possible scenarios - human trafficking or murder.
    I feel badly for his family, girlfriend, and friends.

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    1. A detective recently said something very insightful: In these cases, one of two things happened: the person was murdered or absorbed into the homeless population. Rarely anything else. Human trafficking usually involves people who lead "high-risk lifestyles," so it would be drug addicts, alcoholics, homeless people, prostitutes... They usually aren't going to go after someone that would easily be identified. Often trafficking victims trust the person who gets them into that lifestyle. I didn't understand at first how the Maura Murrays and Brian Shaffers of the "missing" population couldn't be sex trafficking victims until I heard a detective explain it that way.

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  7. Hi Stephanie - how extraordinary ... desperately difficult to understand for us reading, let alone his family, Alexis, Clint and Meredith ... too weird to think about too much ... not nice at all to a good looking medic student - cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/h-is-for-horse.html

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    1. It's even tougher for Clint because he's had to deal with being a suspect. Not only does that mean police questioning, but public speculation, which sucks if he's not guilty of doing anything.

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  8. Such a sad ad tragic story.
    And I've learned to read your mysteries in the morning...never at night!

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    1. I can't watch Dateline or any of those shows at night!

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  9. While foul play seems likely, it's extra weird that someone could have gotten a body away from there, and never have it turn up, isn't it? That's when you start thinking about weirder possibilities.

    What kind of construction was going on in there? Maybe he fell into a hole or pit or something that got filled in the next day and no one noticed? Stranger things have happened...

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    1. That actually was one theory--that something happened to him in the construction area and it was covered up to avoid issues... You're right. Stranger things have happened. Or if he stumbled into that area of the building and a drug deal was going down or something? I don't know...the things our imaginations can come up with!

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  10. I am assuming the cops talked to the band members since he was headed that way. I am thinking if he was not "throwing money around" as one might say and this was noticed by unscrupulous characters who told him no moves or sudden movement and took him the back way. They probably took whatever money he had and dumped his body...somewhere. On another note...congrats with your new book! It is always exciting

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    1. I think the police have questioned just about everyone they could find who was there that night. Any employees or "regulars" definitely would have been questioned heavily.

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  11. Kinda like not knowing what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. Hard to make any guess.

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    1. Yeah, I guess we'll never know what happened to Hoffa!

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  12. These posts are frightening. Bar hopping is one activity I worried so much about for my two adult children. My daughter thought she was teflon, but luckily has grown through drinking. My son joined the Army and now barhopping is always in a group, structured, no one leaves alone.

    I feel for these parents.

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    1. I think the 20s are a tough age...so many high-risk behaviors, plus often they're targets. It has to be a relief once they settle down!

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  13. Sure doesn't seem like he'd have any reason to disappear voluntarily. At least the police usually dig into the person's life and they didn't come up with anything, it seems. Sure sounds like foul play with the only exit being back there by the construction area. Really tragic. Such a bright future and in love. I hope they find out.

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    1. I can't see a reason for him to disappear, unless he was scared of proposing to his girlfriend? But when you're in med school, you don't just run off to start a new life. You finish what you started!

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  14. Probably lured into that un monitored area, mugged, robbed and disposed of poor soul.

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    1. I do wonder if maybe someone was hiding out in that construction area for some reason and he ended up there. But it was difficult to get to, from what I heard on Dateline. You had to go down some stairs and kinda know where you were going...

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  15. Perhaps he's buried in the construction area. It's impossible to know without seeing it as it was, but I'm sure the police searched it thoroughly.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I feel they probably searched every inch of the place, but I don't think he was reported missing right away. His girlfriend kept trying to call him...it may have taken a while for the police to start treating it like a "missing persons" case.

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  16. Stories like this just seem super spooky, because you start thinking about his family and friends. It reminds me of something I saw on Law and Order where the friends actually killed their friend after this same scenario. The focus seems like it was on seeing him actually leave where someone could have changed his clothing so he wouldn't even be recognized. He had to be pretty drunk, making it easy to manipulate his body. For young people, getting through that construction area may have been a piece of cake. Another great topic! Hugs...

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    1. That has been one of the theories--that he put a different outfit on. Or that someone snuck him out. That's the theory with Amy Bradley, too--she somehow vanished into thin air while on a cruise ship.

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  17. Sad that there is no closure.

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  18. I agree with Yvonne. Having no would be terrible. Can you imagine what goes through his poor mothers mind? I hate to speculate guesses when the facts don't add up, but it doesn't sound like he would have done this to himself. So sad.

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  19. Grad school, especially doctoral programs in all their varieties, do weird things to people. I see it all the time. While this seems very suspicious, I've heard of too many strange stories of people just walking away, escaping from a life they can't live any longer. Or maybe it's just that I hope the poor guy's okay somewhere, living a life he loves :)

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  20. I'd love to think he walked away to start a new life somewhere, but unfortunately I seriously doubt it.
    So sad.

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  21. Agree with Ruth. It sounds like something bad happened to him.

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  22. Yikes. I'm definitely leaning toward something foul happening to him.

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  23. So sad!!! I think something happened to him! I think the terrible part is, the not knowing, for the family behind! I hope he didn't suffer!

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