During the early morning hours of April 1, 2006, Brian Shaffer, a 27-year-old individual, was recorded by CCTV cameras as he entered the Ugly Tuna Saloona establishment. Unfortunately, he has not been sighted or heard from since that moment.
At the time of his disappearance, Brian Shaffer was a promising second-year medical student at Ohio State University with a bright future ahead of him. However, his life took a dramatic turn on April 1, 2006, when an evening of celebration for the start of spring break culminated in his mysterious vanishing.
Shaffer was last observed casually visiting various bars with his roommate, surrounded by numerous bar patrons. Shortly before 2 AM, he inexplicably vanished, leaving everyone perplexed by his sudden disappearance.
Who Was Brian Shaffer?
Brian Randall Shaffer, a native of Pickerington, Ohio, was born on February 25, 1979. He exemplified qualities of responsibility both as a devoted son and a diligent student. Following his graduation from high school in 1997, he pursued his education at Ohio State University (OSU).
In 2004, he embarked on his academic journey at the OSU College of Medicine.
Despite his academic pursuits, Brian Shaffer confided in his peers about his true passion for forming a band. He was captivated by the tropical ambiance embodied by Jimmy Buffet. He deeply admired Pearl Jam, evident from his decision to ink their logo on his arm permanently.
In 2006, Brian crossed paths with his girlfriend, Alexis Waggoner, who was also a second-year medical school student. Those closest to the couple firmly believed that Brian intended to propose to Alexis during their upcoming spring break excursion to Miami, which tragically coincided with his unexplained vanishing.
How Did Brian Shaffer Disappear?
In 2006, the Shaffer family experienced their first devastating loss when Brian’s mother succumbed to bone cancer. Another tragedy struck on March 31, 2006, when Brian Shaffer and his roommate, William “Clint” Florence, embarked on a journey to the Ugly Tuna Saloona bar in the University District of Columbus. They aimed to relieve the stress of their spring finals.
Around 10:00 p.m., Shaffer called his girlfriend, confirming their plans and expressing his love for her. Meanwhile, Waggoner was en route to visit her parents in Toledo with the intention of reuniting with Shaffer on Monday morning.
Following some shots and beers at the Ugly Tuna, the two friends ventured to the Arena District and Short North. During this time, they encountered Meredith Reed, a friend of Florence, who kindly offered to drive them back to the Ugly Tuna.
According to the security footage captured outside the Ugly Tuna, it was confirmed that all three individuals—Brian Shaffer, William “Clint” Florence, and Meredith Reed—ascended the escalator and entered the bar’s second-floor entrance at approximately 1:15 a.m.
However, for reasons unknown, Shaffer reappeared outside the bar before 2:00 a.m. Subsequently, he was observed engaging in casual conversation with two women in their twenties, only to vanish mysteriously.
Despite multiple attempts to reach out to him, including calls from Florence, Reed, his father Randy Shaffer, and his girlfriend Alexis Waggoner, there was no response throughout the weekend. Brian Shaffer’s absence was further highlighted when he missed his scheduled flight on Monday morning. Consequently, he was officially reported as a missing person on that day.
The Search for Brian Shaffer
In the initial days following Brian Shaffer’s disappearance, a significant search effort was launched involving up to 50 law enforcement officers at any given time. Intensive investigations were conducted, which included interviewing Shaffer’s friends and relatives.
It is worth noting that everyone, with the exception of his roommate, who declined to take a polygraph test, cooperated and successfully passed the lie detector tests.
However, it appears that the two women with whom Shaffer was seen conversing before his disappearance were not subjected to polygraph tests for reasons that remain unclear.
Throughout the course of Brian Shaffer’s disappearance, his girlfriend Alexis Waggoner made daily attempts to contact him via phone, only to have it consistently go straight to voicemail. However, one night in September, the phone rang thrice, which was later attributed to a potential computer glitch by Shaffer’s wireless provider.
Furthermore, it is important to note that Shaffer’s phone did not have GPS capabilities, making it impossible to determine its exact location. Nevertheless, there was a detected signal from the phone that originated from a cell tower located 14 miles northwest of Columbus.
Despite the attention drawn to Brian Shaffer’s disappearance by Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, during a concert in Cincinnati, the Columbus Police Department remained perplexed by the case. Despite the available evidence, they could not unravel the mystery surrounding Shaffer’s disappearance.
The final recorded footage of Brian Shaffer captured by the security cameras at the Ugly Tuna revealed an intriguing sequence of events. Shaffer was seen walking offscreen and then returning to the bar entrance before vanishing.
It is plausible that the cameras might have missed Shaffer during his departure. However, one camera had continuous panning capabilities, while the other was operated manually, providing a comprehensive view of the area.
In addition, the bar had another exit that led to a chaotic construction site. This raised questions among investigators about the possibility that Shaffer deliberately disappeared. He might have changed his clothes or utilized the exit leading to the construction site.
However, Shaffer’s family has consistently maintained that there was no apparent motive for him to stage his own disappearance. Moreover, it seemed that Shaffer had a promising future to anticipate rather than a desire to escape from his current circumstances.
Randy Shaffer, who had recently endured the heartbreaking loss of his wife, took it upon himself to continue the search for his missing son, Brian Shaffer. Seeking answers and guidance, he consulted a psychic who claimed that Brian’s body could be found in water near a bridge pier. Motivated by this information, Randy, accompanied by Derek, Brian’s younger brother, and other individuals who had developed an interest in the case, invested their free time in exploring the banks of the Olentangy River.
This river flows through Columbus, running alongside the Ohio State University (OSU) campus. Regrettably, their efforts proved fruitless as they could not locate Brian’s body near any of the bridges in the area.
This line of investigation briefly led the police to consider the controversial smiley face murder theory, which suggests a serial killer leaving smiley face symbols at crime scenes. Brian Shaffer’s disappearance raised the possibility that he might be the alleged serial killer’s only victim whose body had not yet been found.
However, the Columbus police, like many other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, ultimately dismissed any connection between Brian’s case and the disputed smiley face murder theory.
In September 2008, tragedy struck the Shaffer family again when Randy Shaffer, Brian Shaffer’s father, tragically lost his life during a severe windstorm. While clearing debris from the yard of his Baltimore residence, Randy was struck by a branch that had been blown off from a nearby tree.
Neighbors discovered his body the following morning, prompting them to alert the authorities.
Following the publication of Randy Shaffer’s obituary online, a condolence book was made available, allowing individuals to express their sympathies. One entry caught the police’s attention among the signatures: “To Dad, love Brian (U.S. Virgin Islands).”
This seemingly suggested that Brian had left Columbus and embarked on a new life elsewhere. However, upon closer investigation, it was determined that the note had been posted from a public-access computer in Franklin County, rendering it a hoax and providing no substantial leads to Brian’s whereabouts.
Brian Shaffer Case Today
As time passed without any activity on Brian Shaffer’s credit cards, bank accounts, or cell phone for over a year, his family’s optimism dwindled, leading them to lose hope regarding the possibility of his survival. The prolonged absence of any usage or communication raised grave concerns about his well-being and fate.
Brian Shaffer’s younger brother remains the sole remaining family member actively engaged in the search for him. In 2020, a glimmer of hope emerged and quickly faded when a photograph of an American man resembling Shaffer, who was reportedly homeless in Tijuana, Mexico, went viral.
Despite an extensive facial analysis conducted by the FBI, it was ultimately concluded that the individual in the photo was not Brian Shaffer.
If he were alive today, Brian Shaffer would be 44 years old. To aid in the search efforts, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation released a digitally aged representation of his face, reflecting his potential appearance at this stage in life.
The hope behind this age progression image is that someone may come across it and miraculously recognize Brian Shaffer, should he still be alive. In an effort to encourage information and aid in the search for Brian Shaffer, Central Ohio Crime Stoppers has announced a substantial reward of $100,000 for anyone who provides crucial details leading to his discovery.
This significant reward incentivizes individuals to come forward with valuable information that could potentially help unravel the mystery of Brian Shaffer’s disappearance.
During the period between Brian Shaffer’s disappearance and his father Randy’s passing, Randy actively participated alongside other families of missing adults in Ohio in advocating for a legislative change.
Their collective efforts aimed to urge the state legislature to pass a bill to establish a standardized protocol for handling missing person cases statewide.
Prior to the bill’s enactment, individual departments had the discretion to handle such cases as they saw fit, which led to concerns that investigations into the disappearances of their loved ones were not receiving adequate attention.
Randy Shaffer, driven by his personal experience and the need for improved procedures, played an instrumental role in pushing for this legislation. Tragically, Randy passed away before seeing the culmination of his efforts.
However, his dedication and the tireless work of other families eventually led to the bill becoming law, ensuring a more consistent and comprehensive approach to handling missing person cases throughout the state of Ohio.
Next, read about the Horrifying Rat Torture Used Until the 20th Century. And then, about the Curious Case of the Watcher or Boulevard 657!
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?