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  1. #1
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    RI - Bryan Nisenfeld, 18, RWU student, Bristol, 6 Feb 1997

    Was this case ever solved???

    For almost three years, Steven Nisenfeld searched for a reasonable explanation of why his 18-year-old son, Bryan, left a midday literature class at Roger Williams University on February 6, 1997, and was never heard from again. In January, things began to make more sense after the elder Nisenfeld traveled from his New Jersey home to the Scituate headquarters of the Rhode Island State Police.


    Bryan Nisenfeld's death remained shrouded in mystery even after a few of his bones washed up on Hog Island in Narragansett Bay, near Roger Williams' Bristol campus, in August 1997. But the small amount of physical evidence precluded an autopsy, and, says Maj. Steven Pare, state police didn't find any indication of suspicious activity in connection with Nisenfeld's disappearance or death. The conclusion is that the college freshman, who showed signs of being emotionally upset in the week before he vanished, either committed suicide or died after accidentally falling into the bay.

    But paging through the state police report, Steven Nisenfeld found what he considers the smoking gun responsible for his son's death: a security officer at Roger Williams perceived a disagreement between Bryan Nisenfeld and a male former RWU student as possibly being a romantic tiff. Because of this, Steven Nisenfeld believes, a threat to his son wasn't taken seriously and college officials botched the chance for an intervention that might have spared Bryan's life.

    It's difficult to know whether this is true. It's also hard to tell whether Steven Nisenfeld is getting at a hidden truth or playing to the fears of the gay community in an attempt to assuage the lingering pain from his son's mysterious death. But it seems clear that officials at Roger Williams -- who waited six days in February 1997 before informing Bryan's parents that he was missing (see "Sea of indifference," News, January 8, 1998) -- have been less than forthcoming from the start. And the revelation from the state police investigation has provided fresh ammunition for Nisenfeld, a social worker in a small blue-collar suburb of Philadelphia, who has proven himself capable of gaining attention and influencing public officials.

    When Nisenfeld became disenchanted with the probe by Bristol police into Bryan's death, former Attorney General Jeff Pine directed state police to investigate the case after Nisenfeld contacted Governor Lincoln Almond and US Senators Jack Reed and the late John Chafee.

    Bewildered by the response at Roger Williams University when his son vanished, Nisenfeld convinced US Representative Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) to introduce legislation in Congress, known as "Bryan's Law," to require colleges and universities to notify parents if their children are missing 24 hours.

    Armed now with an argument that resonates in the gay community because of the prevalence of hate crimes (and the lack of priority that investigators sometimes attach to solving them), Nisenfeld and Bryan's mother, Marianne C. Brown, in early February filed a civil suit against RWU and a number of university officials in US District Court in Providence, seeking legal validation for their version of events.



    According to his parents, Bryan had a heated telephone argument January 31, 1997 -- six days before he vanished -- with Josh Cohen, a former classmate who had dropped out of Roger Williams University the previous semester. To this day, Steven Nisenfeld remains unsure whether Cohen and his son were friends or lovers. But he maintains that Cohen threatened Bryan and left him in a state of fear. "He was very upset," Steven Nisenfeld says. According to Nisenfeld, his son told him that Cohen indicated "he'd get on campus any time he wanted and he could beat me up."
    http://www.providencephoenix.com/arc.../16/BRYAN.html
    The above post is as always MY OPINION ONLY!

  2. #2
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    An old article on the case:

    Body Parts Said To Belong To Missing Student Bryan Nisenfeld, 18, Was From Audubon. He Was In College In Rhode Island When He Disappeared.
    By Eric Dyer, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT

    Snipped:

    A family located the bones while strolling on the island, across Narragansett Bay from Bristol. Yesterday, divers searched for further remains in the waters around the island.

    Early in the investigation, Bristol police speculated that Nisenfeld, who reportedly was unhappy at the school, was alive and had simply run away. That seems less likely now, Capt. Joseph DaSilva said yesterday.
    http://articles.philly.com/1997-09-0...-parts-audubon
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  3. #3
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    Another older article on Bryan's disappearance:

    Student's Vanishing Prompts Federal Bill Steven Nisenfeld Of N.J. is Touting "Bryan's Law"; It Would Force Schools To Look For Lost Students Right Away.
    By Martin Z. Braun, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF

    Snipped:

    On a cold February day in 1997, Bryan Nisenfeld, an 18-year-old college freshman from Audubon, walked out of his literature class at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., and disappeared into thin air.

    A worried dorm mate reported Nisenfeld missing to campus officials within 24 hours, but it took six days, until Feb. 12, 1997, before Nisenfeld's father, Steven, received a call from a university dean informing him that his son was gone. Six days had passed without any investigation by local or campus authorities.
    http://articles.philly.com/1999-06-2...-disappearance
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  4. #4
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    R.i. University Is Sued By Audubon Parents Over Death Of Student They Allege School Did Not Follow The Campus Security Act Of 1990. The Teen's Death Remains A Mystery.
    By Martin Z. Braun, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF

    Snipped:

    Nisenfeld said his son had been receiving threatening phone calls the day after he returned from the 1996-1997 winter break, a week before his disappearance. Nisenfeld said he alerted university officials about the phone calls, but alleges that officials overlooked them.
    http://articles.philly.com/2000-01-1...-disappearance
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  5. #5
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    Invisible man
    Roger Williams University freshman Bryan Nisenfeld disappeared. Did he mean to?
    by Jody Ericson


    Snipped:

    When local police searched his dorm room on February 12, the door was unlocked and the stereo still on. The student from Audubon, New Jersey, had also left behind his gloves, his glasses, and his treasured Walkman.

    In an effort to explain what they cannot understand or accept, those who know Nisenfeld constantly try to bring him into focus by imagining various disappearance scenarios.
    http://www.bostonphoenix.com/alt1/ar..._WILLIAMS.html
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  6. #6
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    Snipped:

    Over winter break, after her son adamantly told her to stop sending him money at school, Brown wondered whether the kid was blackmailing Nisenfeld. "What does [the friend] have on you?" Brown asked. "Does he have your ATM card? Are you in some kind of trouble?"

    Her son, she says, wouldn't answer. It was hard for her to believe that everything was okay.
    http://www.bostonphoenix.com/alt1/ar...ILLIAMS_2.html
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  7. #7
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    Snipped:

    When she talked to him again on Sunday, February 2, "Bryan was frantic and didn't sound like himself," she says. The following day, he turned off the ringer on his phone, and on Wednesday, Brown received a poem Nisenfeld had written and sent after their January 30 conversation.
    http://www.bostonphoenix.com/alt1/ar...ILLIAMS_3.html
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  8. #8
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    Snipped:

    On January 30, the night Nisenfeld was threatened by the friend who'd dropped out, he called his father -- at 12:30 a.m. -- and asked him to drive to Rhode Island immediately.

    But his father hesitated. "I couldn't come at every situation," he says. "It was a five-and-a-half-hour drive." Now he wishes he'd gone.
    http://www.bostonphoenix.com/alt1/ar...ILLIAMS_5.html
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  9. #9
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    And finally, a UM video clip:

    campus calamity - YouTube
    Last edited by OkieGranny; 04-12-2015 at 04:27 AM. Reason: fixed broken link
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  10. #10
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    What a sad story. It sounds to me like a suicide brought on by mental breakdown. Poor kid.


  11. #11
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    You watch Unsololved Mysteries too! I just saw this episode this morning, and wanted to know if my favorite internet sleuths had solved the case yet. RIP Bryan

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudonymph View Post
    What a sad story. It sounds to me like a suicide brought on by mental breakdown. Poor kid.
    Agreed. He sounds increasingly stressed out and desperate. Especially with the bridge right there. We get a few jumpers between Mt. Hope, Jamestown and the Newport Bridge. Because of the tidal flow, if he jumped, Hog Island would be the place his remains would most likely end up, so it fits. I would love to know more about that Cohen who left the school. Was he threatening to "out" Brian? Was he a controlling and jealous lover? And did he remain in the area after he dropped out? Providence isn't too far away. More details needed I guess. Wonder where he is now. Every parent's worst nightmare, that's for sure.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fahlina_G View Post
    Agreed. He sounds increasingly stressed out and desperate. Especially with the bridge right there. We get a few jumpers between Mt. Hope, Jamestown and the Newport Bridge. Because of the tidal flow, if he jumped, Hog Island would be the place his remains would most likely end up, so it fits. I would love to know more about that Cohen who left the school. Was he threatening to "out" Brian? Was he a controlling and jealous lover? And did he remain in the area after he dropped out? Providence isn't too far away. More details needed I guess. Wonder where he is now. Every parent's worst nightmare, that's for sure.
    After a little research, it would appear that this Joshua Cohen is now somewhat of a successful photographer in Brooklyn.



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