OH OH - Brian Shaffer, 27, Columbus, 1 Apr 2006 #5

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https://melmagazine.com/a-guy-walks-into-a-bar-53c784e7369b

There might have been a blind spot. Perhaps Brian eluded detection. The craggy building that housed the Ugly Tuna was under construction, and a temporary freight elevator escaped surveillance. Maybe Brian came down the rusty service ladder that traversed the shaft, resting for a few seconds on each rung. Maybe someone waited for him at the bottom, making sure he didn’t slip. Still, security cameras from nearby bars — Sloppy Donkey, Mad Mex, Lucky’s Stout House — would have caught him when he fled the building. Somehow, he evaded surveillance in a city with more closed-circuit television than Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo combined. Brian had disappeared in Ohio’s most-watched metropolis, where it’s always 1984.
Derek remembered the surveillance footage, foggy and translucent; it became a visual time capsule, a Pandora’s box. Brian scaled the escalator before turning right; he walked into the bar, into the blank. “He looked like he was having a good time,” says Derek. “Nothing seemed off at all.
He told friends med school was a stopgap, that one day he’d form his own band. Perhaps Saint John or Saint Thomas provided salvation, a refuge from exams and a marriage proposal, from cancer and death. He wouldn’t have needed his passport to get there, just photo ID — his wallet was in his jeans pocket when he disappeared — and the flight from John Glenn Columbus would have taken less than six hours.
Brian’s disappearance is an enduring puzzle. One with few clues. “Usually, with a missing person, there will be signs,” says Lori. “Their vehicle will be found. Or their wallet. Or their cell phone will bring answers. None of that has worked in Brian’s case.“How can a person just disappear, with no trace of what happened to them?


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Hey everyone! The team and I would like to give you an update on the work we are doing on Brian's case. I want to start with the reported sighting of Brian in Puerto Vallarta. I spoke to the tipster and listened to his story multiple times in messages and calls. I believe this man is credible and he 100% believes what he saw. For the most part eyewitness statements rarely turn out to be true, but this one intrigued me enough to investigate it further. After making some calls I was able to speak to a Private Investigator that I had previously worked with. He was intrigued by the tip and after ironing out some financial details he made the short trip to Puerto Vallarta. He stayed for a week showing Brian’s photo around the area including the restaurant where the original sighting took place. Not one person recognized Brian from his photo as someone they knew or had seen. Now that doesn’t mean the tip isn’t true, IMO it just means the person is not a regular in Puerto Vallarta. I also personally reached out to the restaurant where the sighting took place. The man I spoke with was very friendly and willing to help. After reviewing the photos I sent him he stated he had never seen the man in the pictures, but would let me know if he ever sees anyone that resembles the photo. While the tip is at a standstill it did get me digging into other things and I found a couple of new details. On or around March 1, 2006, Randy Shaffer gave Brian a check for his next term tuition. The check was for approximately $4,500.00 and was written to the Ohio State University. After Brian’s disappearance, Randy realized the check had never been cashed. He was instructed to put a stop payment on the check and quickly did so. After investigating the check it was determined that it was never turned into OSU, there were no attempts to cash it, and the check was never found. Now this check doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but Brian not turning it in could. Did he plan to return to school after Spring Break? We kept asking ourselves that question over and over again. With help from Melania (a member of True Crime Junkies), we did another FOIA request on Brian since my original didn’t come back due to errors on my part. At the same time that Melania requested Brian’s FOIA she requested one for Tyler Davis since we have worked on his case as well. They both were emailed back to us on the same day. With both cases being open we were only sent 3-4 pages for each with one page being the cover page. While comparing the 2, I noticed a difference in the disposition on each report. Tyler Davis is listed as an Active Missing Person, but Brian is listed as Not a Crime/ Other Service Missing Person. Of course I had no clue what that meant so I reached out to several different officers and detectives that I have worked with in the past. All but one of them came back and told me it means the missing person is listed as a voluntary walk away. The last officer told me it means Brian’s case is closed or closed/open. Meaning his case will reopen when they have new information. This gave us so many more questions. How can Brian’s case be classified in this way with no evidence? Was it a paper work error? Is there evidence suggesting Brian is alive? What if he was murdered? That would mean his killer has been free to harm more people and no one is looking for him/her. Brian was assigned 2 new detectives recently and Detective Tucker has sent me their emails as well as sent them my request for an interview. We are hoping to get a better understanding of this information after speaking to detectives.
 
Podcast update??
With all the new information I have discovered over this past year I am not going to continue with the podcast. I will still investigate some, but I think this case is as far as it will ever get. Any updates on Brian’s case I may discover down the road will be posted via social media or on here. The road blocks on this case are everywhere and in many different forms.
 
Hey everyone! The team and I would like to give you an update on the work we are doing on Brian's case. I want to start with the reported sighting of Brian in Puerto Vallarta. I spoke to the tipster and listened to his story multiple times in messages and calls. I believe this man is credible and he 100% believes what he saw. For the most part eyewitness statements rarely turn out to be true, but this one intrigued me enough to investigate it further. After making some calls I was able to speak to a Private Investigator that I had previously worked with. He was intrigued by the tip and after ironing out some financial details he made the short trip to Puerto Vallarta. He stayed for a week showing Brian’s photo around the area including the restaurant where the original sighting took place. Not one person recognized Brian from his photo as someone they knew or had seen. Now that doesn’t mean the tip isn’t true, IMO it just means the person is not a regular in Puerto Vallarta. I also personally reached out to the restaurant where the sighting took place. The man I spoke with was very friendly and willing to help. After reviewing the photos I sent him he stated he had never seen the man in the pictures, but would let me know if he ever sees anyone that resembles the photo. While the tip is at a standstill it did get me digging into other things and I found a couple of new details. On or around March 1, 2006, Randy Shaffer gave Brian a check for his next term tuition. The check was for approximately $4,500.00 and was written to the Ohio State University. After Brian’s disappearance, Randy realized the check had never been cashed. He was instructed to put a stop payment on the check and quickly did so. After investigating the check it was determined that it was never turned into OSU, there were no attempts to cash it, and the check was never found. Now this check doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but Brian not turning it in could. Did he plan to return to school after Spring Break? We kept asking ourselves that question over and over again. With help from Melania (a member of True Crime Junkies), we did another FOIA request on Brian since my original didn’t come back due to errors on my part. At the same time that Melania requested Brian’s FOIA she requested one for Tyler Davis since we have worked on his case as well. They both were emailed back to us on the same day. With both cases being open we were only sent 3-4 pages for each with one page being the cover page. While comparing the 2, I noticed a difference in the disposition on each report. Tyler Davis is listed as an Active Missing Person, but Brian is listed as Not a Crime/ Other Service Missing Person. Of course I had no clue what that meant so I reached out to several different officers and detectives that I have worked with in the past. All but one of them came back and told me it means the missing person is listed as a voluntary walk away. The last officer told me it means Brian’s case is closed or closed/open. Meaning his case will reopen when they have new information. This gave us so many more questions. How can Brian’s case be classified in this way with no evidence? Was it a paper work error? Is there evidence suggesting Brian is alive? What if he was murdered? That would mean his killer has been free to harm more people and no one is looking for him/her. Brian was assigned 2 new detectives recently and Detective Tucker has sent me their emails as well as sent them my request for an interview. We are hoping to get a better understanding of this information after speaking to detectives.
Thanks for filling us all in about these very intriguing details!
 
For me, the tuition check & the way Brian's disposition was listed.
The check opens a lot of questions for me. Not only do I wonder why he didn’t turn it in, but also was it with him the night he went missing. If it was that opens up a whole new theory for me, but unfortunately we will probably never know.
 
The check opens a lot of questions for me. Not only do I wonder why he didn’t turn it in, but also was it with him the night he went missing. If it was that opens up a whole new theory for me, but unfortunately we will probably never know.
Do you know when the due date would have been for the next term? I went to OSU and believe he would’ve had to pay prior to the start of the next quarter. So that is very interesting to me.
 
Do you know when the due date would have been for the next term? I went to OSU and believe he would’ve had to pay prior to the start of the next quarter. So that is very interesting to me.
I do not have a due date, but I am under the impression it would’ve needed paid before classes started after the spring break holiday.
 
Do you know when the due date would have been for the next term? I went to OSU and believe he would’ve had to pay prior to the start of the next quarter. So that is very interesting to me.

From my experience there, payment dates for tuition were a week before classes started, but everything was online so it was a totally different system. Judging from these, he could have potentially paid without any penalties up to March 27th.

Here are archived academic calendars for that time period:
https://registrar.osu.edu/registration/Important_dates/SP06_Important_dates.pdf
https://registrar.osu.edu/registration/Important_dates/WI06_important_dates.pdf
https://registrar.osu.edu/staff/archive_acad_cal_1999_2010.pdf

Answer of what happened to that check would be a huge clue.
 
Hey everyone! The team and I would like to give you an update on the work we are doing on Brian's case. I want to start with the reported sighting of Brian in Puerto Vallarta. I spoke to the tipster and listened to his story multiple times in messages and calls. I believe this man is credible and he 100% believes what he saw. For the most part eyewitness statements rarely turn out to be true, but this one intrigued me enough to investigate it further. After making some calls I was able to speak to a Private Investigator that I had previously worked with. He was intrigued by the tip and after ironing out some financial details he made the short trip to Puerto Vallarta. He stayed for a week showing Brian’s photo around the area including the restaurant where the original sighting took place. Not one person recognized Brian from his photo as someone they knew or had seen. Now that doesn’t mean the tip isn’t true, IMO it just means the person is not a regular in Puerto Vallarta. I also personally reached out to the restaurant where the sighting took place. The man I spoke with was very friendly and willing to help. After reviewing the photos I sent him he stated he had never seen the man in the pictures, but would let me know if he ever sees anyone that resembles the photo. While the tip is at a standstill it did get me digging into other things and I found a couple of new details. On or around March 1, 2006, Randy Shaffer gave Brian a check for his next term tuition. The check was for approximately $4,500.00 and was written to the Ohio State University. After Brian’s disappearance, Randy realized the check had never been cashed. He was instructed to put a stop payment on the check and quickly did so. After investigating the check it was determined that it was never turned into OSU, there were no attempts to cash it, and the check was never found. Now this check doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but Brian not turning it in could. Did he plan to return to school after Spring Break? We kept asking ourselves that question over and over again. With help from Melania (a member of True Crime Junkies), we did another FOIA request on Brian since my original didn’t come back due to errors on my part. At the same time that Melania requested Brian’s FOIA she requested one for Tyler Davis since we have worked on his case as well. They both were emailed back to us on the same day. With both cases being open we were only sent 3-4 pages for each with one page being the cover page. While comparing the 2, I noticed a difference in the disposition on each report. Tyler Davis is listed as an Active Missing Person, but Brian is listed as Not a Crime/ Other Service Missing Person. Of course I had no clue what that meant so I reached out to several different officers and detectives that I have worked with in the past. All but one of them came back and told me it means the missing person is listed as a voluntary walk away. The last officer told me it means Brian’s case is closed or closed/open. Meaning his case will reopen when they have new information. This gave us so many more questions. How can Brian’s case be classified in this way with no evidence? Was it a paper work error? Is there evidence suggesting Brian is alive? What if he was murdered? That would mean his killer has been free to harm more people and no one is looking for him/her. Brian was assigned 2 new detectives recently and Detective Tucker has sent me their emails as well as sent them my request for an interview. We are hoping to get a better understanding of this information after speaking to detectives.

Very interesting.

I have one basic question; if someone voluntarily walks away, is LE required to notify the public? If the answer is no, then it changes everything. That means he quite literally could have notified LE years ago and all of this work is pretty much for nothing. Just a man who walked away from life and chooses to not be bothered.

Obviously there are a million other possibilities though.
 
Very interesting.

I have one basic question; if someone voluntarily walks away, is LE required to notify the public? If the answer is no, then it changes everything. That means he quite literally could have notified LE years ago and all of this work is pretty much for nothing. Just a man who walked away from life and chooses to not be bothered.

Obviously there are a million other possibilities though.
The case wouldn't still be open.
 
With all the new information I have discovered over this past year I am not going to continue with the podcast. I will still investigate some, but I think this case is as far as it will ever get. Any updates on Brian’s case I may discover down the road will be posted via social media or on here. The road blocks on this case are everywhere and in many different forms.

Wouldn't the second half of the interview with John Hurst still be worth releasing as a final episode? That would at least round the podcast off, and make it feel completed for future listeners.
 
As many of you are aware we have been working on the disappearance of Brian Shaffer for many years. It’s been awhile since we have dug deep into the case and I reached out to True Crime Junkies for a fresh set of eyes. What we found shocked us and left us with more questions, than answers.
Yesterday we announced the disposition of Brian’s case listed with Columbus Police Department. Attached is the front page of the FOIA request. As you can see his disposition is listed as Not a crime/other service. As I mentioned previously, I reached out to several officers that I have worked with in the past to explain the disposition. It was explained to me by several officers that Brian is listed as a voluntary walk off and one officer said it meant Brian’s case is closed/open. Meaning it will reopen with new information. Shortly after releasing this information yesterday I was sent a message with a little more information. On 2/11/2013 an application was filed by Brian’s family to have Brian legally presumed dead. On 4/8/2013 the case was closed with what we are assuming the presumption of death granted. Along with the FOIA document and the presumption of death we have also attached documents for a trust case involving Brian. While we aren’t quite sure yet what the trust dockets mean, we are still digging for answers behind Brian’s disappearance. Our next step is a FOIA request both cases mentioned above.
 

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As many of you are aware we have been working on the disappearance of Brian Shaffer for many years. It’s been awhile since we have dug deep into the case and I reached out to True Crime Junkies for a fresh set of eyes. What we found shocked us and left us with more questions, than answers.
Yesterday we announced the disposition of Brian’s case listed with Columbus Police Department. Attached is the front page of the FOIA request. As you can see his disposition is listed as Not a crime/other service. As I mentioned previously, I reached out to several officers that I have worked with in the past to explain the disposition. It was explained to me by several officers that Brian is listed as a voluntary walk off and one officer said it meant Brian’s case is closed/open. Meaning it will reopen with new information. Shortly after releasing this information yesterday I was sent a message with a little more information. On 2/11/2013 an application was filed by Brian’s family to have Brian legally presumed dead. On 4/8/2013 the case was closed with what we are assuming the presumption of death granted. Along with the FOIA document and the presumption of death we have also attached documents for a trust case involving Brian. While we aren’t quite sure yet what the trust dockets mean, we are still digging for answers behind Brian’s disappearance. Our next step is a FOIA request both cases mentioned above.
Big thanks for all the information!!
 
Not a crime/other service

First off, thank you so much for the new information!
I'm not in law enforcement and have no knowledge of their verbiage; so, I'm confused by the case status lingo.

It is my understanding that no new developments have resulted in the solving of Brian's outcome, whether it be homicide, suicide, accidental death, walk-away, etc. Therefore, how could law enforcement make the determination that no crime was involved? Even if Brian is legally presumed dead, would there not still be an active investigation (i.e. a different case description other than "No crime")?

Could someone with more experience than myself please clarify the case description? Thanks!
 
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@Looking4Brian Would it be possible to request a timestamp on when the case status was changed from "Active Missing Person" (or whatever it was initially) to "No crime/Other service"? That could shed some light on whether the case description is a clerical definition or an actual case development. If the case status change occurred on the same day or a date near when Brian was presumably declared dead, it might indicate that the status is nothing noteworthy.
 
Brian was assigned 2 new detectives recently and Detective Tucker has sent me their emails as well as sent them my request for an interview.

Hypothetically, and I really think this is unlikely, if LE had enough undisclosed evidence to determine that Brian walked away voluntarily, why would they assign new detectives to his case? After so many years without an answer, I'm inclined to believe that LE doesn't know much more than the laymen/laywomen.
 
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