Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to another missing person’s pots.
The observant among you may have noticed that I’ve changed the title of this series slightly. I’ve decided to run with Monday Mysteries instead, because it allows me to have more scope when creating content for this series.
It won’t change the content as such, I’ll still be writing about missing people, but it will allow me to fill the gaps with other interesting mysteries too.
Over the past weekend I have also decided to restart my Sims YouTube channel and alongside that I’ve also set up a new channel for Monday Mysteries content. Over the next few weeks I will be using this channel to make video’s that go alongside my blog posts, helping to raise awareness of unsolved cases.
Anywhoo, today we are going to be looking at the unsolved case of Brain Shaffer.
In most missing person cases there are huge questions over the time and date upon which the person actually disappeared. They usually happen in the dead of night, from their home. However this case is completely different. In March 2006 Brian is caught on CCTV re-entering a nightclub which he had briefly left. However despite the only accessible exit being covered by CCTV, Brian is never seen leaving.
Who was Brian Shaffer?
Born on the 25th of February 1979 Brian Shaffer was said to have been a motivated, nice young man. The oldest of two sons, Brian was born and raised in Pickerington, Ohio.
In 1997 Brian had graduated from his high school, he had then obtained a degree in microbiology and at the time he disappeared he was a medical student at Ohio State University.
Shortly before he went missing Brian had lost his mother from myelodysplasia and was having a hard time dealing with the grief.
At the time he disappeared, Brian was in a serious relationship and was due to go on holiday with his girlfriend. It was expected that he would propose on this trip.
On the top of his upper right arm, Brian had this distinctive tattoo.
On the 31st of March 2006, Brian vanished after a night out celebrating the start of spring break with friends.
On the evening of the 31st March 2006, Brian and his father went for a celebratory steak dinner and his father remarked that his son seemed exhausted. Upon questioning from his father, Brain explained that he had spent a lot of late nights cramming for his exams and was tired from pulling an all-nighter.
His father knew that he was due to meet up with his friend that evening but suggested that he shouldn’t go and should have an early night instead.
At 9pm Brain met up with his friend, William Clint Florence, at the Ugly Tuna Saloona in the South Campus Gateway complex on high street. Around an hour later his girlfriend called and he told her that he was looking forward to their holiday and that he loved her.
The two men spent much of the next few hours’ bar-hopping around the area before heading to the Arena district. They had quite a lot to drinking during this time frame and during police interview Florence stated that they had drunk a shot in every place that they had stopped.
At around midnight the two men met up with a friend of Florence’s called Meredith Reed. She gave them a lift back to the Ugly Tuna Saloona and they are caught on CCTV entering the bar at 1.15am. Once there they had another round of drinks.
Shortly after this point they are separated and they both repeatedly called Brain to try and find him.
At this point Brian is seen on CCTV leaving the bar and shortly after he re-enters. At this time, he is seen briefly talking to two women on the escalator. At the top Brian steps off the escalator, re-enters the bar and heads out of camera short.
At 2am the bar closes, so Reed and Florence wait outside, expecting to see Brian there. When Brian does not exit at this time they assume that he must have gone home already and leave the area.
Despite being seen to re-enter the bar; Brain is never caught leaving.
This baffled police as there was no other publicly accessible exits and Brain should have been caught leaving on CCTV.
Over the weekend his father and girlfriend repeatedly try to get hold of him but are unable to do so.
On Monday the 3rd of April 2006, Brian misses his flight to Miami and is reported missing.
Logic suggests that Brian has to have left that bar somehow, police initially considered that he left but was missed on CCTV.
Through investigation they discovered that one of the camera’s panned over the area and it was therefore possible that he was missed. However subsequent investigations proved that he could not have left without being seen on CCTV from other businesses. He was not seen on any other CCTV.
They also considered that perhaps Brian had changed clothes and that is why they couldn’t find him on the CCTV. However, every person seen leaving the bar that night was also seen entering first. Every person seen entering is seen leaving, except for Brian.
They were able to locate a private access exit from the club but at the time Brian disappeared, this exit opened on to a construction site. It could have been possible that Brian left that way but we don’t know why or what happened after. It seems strange for him to have left that way.
The police discovered that his apartment was normal and his car was parked outside.
There was one further interesting development shortly after he disappeared. During the weeks and months following the night he vanished his girlfriend had repeatedly called his mobile phone late at night. It always went to answer phone, expect for one night in September 2006. On this occasion it actually rung three times before cutting out. There was no GPS data available however it pinged in Hillart, Northwest Columbus.
While this case remains unsolved, the police have developed several theories about what they think might have happened to Brain Shaffer. They recently stated that they have three key theories that they are working on but would not give any more information.
So instead we are left to speculate what might have happened to Brian.
The friend // As with most cases suspicion has been directed at the person who was known to have been with the victim last, in this case the friend was out with Brian that night. This was not helped by the fact that Florence refused to take a lie detector test and was the only person who refused. Both Reed and Brian’s father were also asked to take a polygraph, both did and both passed.
The smiley face killer // During the last 12 years a number of young men have been found dead in bodies of water across several Midwestern American states. They did not drown but were victims of murder, claim several detectives. The term “smiley face” became connected to the alleged murders when it was made public that the police had discovered graffiti depicting a smiley face near locations where they think the killer dumped the bodies in at least a dozen of the cases. Some people believe that Brian may have met a similar fate.
Suicide or run away // It has been discussed that perhaps Brian was so consumed with the grief from his mother’s death that he decided to take his own life or to run away. However, this theory leaves open many unanswered questions.
Killed in the club // As we said earlier Brian has to have left that club somehow and this has led people to speculate that perhaps this means that he was killed in the club. It would explain the fact that he was not seen on CCTV but sadly leaves motive as a mystery.
Victim of a crime // The area around the Ugly Tuna Salona was blighted by crime and it has therefore been theorised that Brian stumbled upon something and was killed.
Most of these theories fail to really explain how or why he was never caught leaving on CCTV, why he was never seen on any other CCTV and why his body was never found.
Sadly, Randy Shaffer died in 2009 and never had answers to the many questions he must have had over his son’s disappearance. As there is no real evidence to suggest otherwise, we have to simply hope that Brian is still alive and that perhaps he just needed to start over.
I think this is the kind of case that will never be solved.