In 2006, Med Student Brian Shaffer Walked Into A Bar & Was Never Seen Again

Security video shows the 27-year-old Ohio State University student entering the venue, but never leaving.

July 31, 2019

Photo by: Brian Shaffer [FBI]

Brian Shaffer [FBI]

By: Mike McPadden

COLUMBUS, OH — In the early hours of April 1, 2006, second-year Ohio State University medical student Brian Shaffer reportedly went out with friends to celebrate the first night of Spring Break. He has not been seen or heard from since then.

Brian Shaffer grew up in Pickerington, Ohio. Friends said he was close with his mother, Renee Shaffer, and that her work as a nurse reportedly inspired Brian to want to study medicine.

Tragically, in March 2006, Renee died after a battle with cancer. Lori Davis, a friend and advocate for the Shaffer family, said that losing his mom took a heavy toll on Brian. She stated simply, “It rocked his world.”

Photo by: Brian and Renee Shaffer [Find Brian Shaffer/Wikipedia]

Brian and Renee Shaffer [Find Brian Shaffer/Wikipedia]

During their last Christmas together in 2005, Renee gifted Brian with a Spring Break trip to Miami. He reportedly planned to take the vacation with his girlfriend at the time, Alexis, and they had tickets to fly out on the morning of Monday, April 3. First though, it was time to let off some steam close to campus.

On the evening of Friday, March 31, Brian reportedly went with friends to the Ugly Tuna Saloona, a popular bar and live music venue. At around 2 A.M., Brian’s friends said they lost track of him. They reportedly called his phone and checked all over the bar to no avail, and ultimately concluded he must have walked home. So they left.

The following day, Alexis reportedly called Randy Shaffer, Brian’s dad. She said she could not find Brian and was concerned about him. Brian was officially reported missing on Sunday, April 2. When Brian missed his flight to Miami the next day, worries turned to genuine fear.

Sergeant John Hurst of the Columbus Police Department said that investigators determined that Brian had been at the Ugly Tuna Saloona with his friend Clint. The police also checked the bar’s security video, which appeared to show Brian just moments before he disappeared.

On the tape, Brian is shown coming up an escalator toward the bar. He briefly talks to two females, who leave. Brian then reenters the venue just before 2 A.M. From there, as Hurst put it, “We see Brian go off the camera and we’re unable to locate him leaving the building.”

Reportedly, cameras had been covering every exit at the Ugly Tuna Saloona, but not one of them recorded footage of Brian ever going back outside.

In fact, investigators said, the only possible way out would have been through a back door in the middle of a construction zone. Either way, no one could think of a reason why Brian would even want to suddenly disappear.

Hurst said, “We did find out that Clint and Brian had a verbal altercation inside the bar. We did try to get Clint to come in and do a polygraph, but he contacted an attorney and decided to not take a polygraph.”

Police reportedly found no evidence to further investigate Clint, so they focused on looking for Brian with search dogs, divers, and a tip line that, sadly, led nowhere.

Two years later, the Shaffer family suffered another tragedy. During a severe storm in 2008, a falling tree struck and killed Randy Shaffer. That’s when Lori Davis said, “I knew I could not give up on Brian’s case.”

Brian’s loved ones continue to search for him. As Lori Davis said, “Brian’s got a brother, he’s got a sister-in-law, he’s got a nephew. He’s got friends that still love him and who still write to me about him.”

Despite fears that Brian might have succumbed to foul play, rumors allegedly continue to crop up that he may have slipped away to start a new life somewhere else. Hurst said, “We’ve had reports that he wanted to go to Florida and be a beach bum.”

Davis added, “He was on the path to become a doctor, but many have speculated that possibly that wasn’t his dream, that was his parents’ dream…. Brian wrote on MySpace that he would rather be on a beach smoking with Bob Marley. So was that Brian being funny or was that truly what Brian Shaffer wanted?”

In reviewing the case, Hurst said, “I always get the question asked, what do I think happened — is Brian alive? Is he still out there? My answer to that is, there is nothing to indicate that’s not out there.”

Brian Shaffer is described as standing six foot two and weighing between 165 and 170 pounds. He brown hair, and has hazel eyes with noticeable dot on the left iris. He also has a Pearl Jam “Stickman” tattoo on his right bicep.

Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Brian Shaffer is urged to call the Columbus Police Department at (614) 645-4545.

For more on this case, watch the “Has Brian Shaffer Disappeared?“ episode of Investigation Discovery's The Missing on ID GO now!

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