18 years ago Brian Shaffer walked into a bar and was never seen again (2024)

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18 years ago Brian Shaffer walked into a bar and was never seen again (1)

Louise Thomas

Editor

A medical student walked into a bar near the Ohio State campus in the early morning hours of April 1, 2006 – and vanished.

It may sound like an April Fool’s prank, but it’s one of Ohio’s biggest mysteries.

Brian Shaffer was 27 years old when he strolled into The Ugly Tuna Saloona, a local college bar lit up by a bright neon sign that read “Fresh Fish. Ugly Owners.”

Surveillance footage from outside the establishment captured the med student entering the bar around 1:55am. Then, he was gone.

For nearly two decades, Brian’s disappearance has been a mystery to Ohio residents.

Online sleuths tossed around theories of what happened to Brian, delving deep into cold case subreddits, hoping to crack the case, particularly on Reddit, a social media platform that allows users to post and interact anonymously.

Did he drunkenly stumble odd and down in the Olentangy River? Or, because there was no surveillance footage of him leaving the bar, is he still there, his body hidden in the walls, or a beer keg?

In one “Brian Shaffer” subreddit, a user with the handle “QueeenBeeeee” frequently posted about the case, among others, repeatedly mentioning the names of a pair of brothers from Ohio, alleging that they were ones responsible.

Now, those brothers are suing the unknown user referred to as “Jane Doe,” in the lawsuit, for defamation.

A reddit user accused them of murder. Now, they’re suing

Matthew Osowski and Brian Osowski filed a lawsuit in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court this week against anonymous Reddit user “QueeenBeeeee.

The lawsuit alleges that the Reddit user, listed as “Jane Doe,” continuously accused them in the comments of being involved in multiple homicide and missing person cases, including Brian Shaffer’s case.

In the Brian Shaffer subreddit, the QueeenBeeeee user shared their theories about the case alongside accusations that the Osowski brothers are “psychopath serial killers,” according to a post viewed by The Columbus Dispatch.

Other posts included personal information about the brothers, including what they look like, where they live, and where they work. There is no evidence to connect the Osowski brothers to Brain’s disappearance, or any other case and the posts have since been deleted by Reddit.

According to the lawsuit, the user also alleges that the brothers were involved in the 2005 murder of 20-year-old Julie Popovich, and the disappearances of Tyler Davis and Joey LaBute. However, again, there is no indication the brothers had anything to do with these cases. In fact, in 2007, Adam Saleh was convicted of Popovich’s death and is currently serving a life sentence.

The Osowski brothers are seeking $25,000 in monetary damages, according to the lawsuit. They are also requesting retractions of the postings, as well as a court order stopping QueeenBeeeee from posting any more allegations. The account has since been suspended.

In a statement provided to The Dispatch on Monday, the attorneys for the brothers said they have no idea who the anonymous poster is and that the lawsuit was filed to put a stop to “this false and unscrupulous behavior.”

“They had no involvement with any of the crimes mentioned in this person’s posts. They had no contact with the victims of the crimes,” the attorney said in the statement.

“The Osowskis have families and jobs and the wild, unsupportable allegations in the postings are irresponsible. The Osowskis are pursuing the matter legally to put a stop to this false and unscrupulous behavior.”

What happened to Brian Shaffer?

Four weeks before Brian Shaffer vanished, his mother, Renee, died of myelodysplasia, a rare form of cancer.

In the days and weeks that followed, Brian, his brother Derek Shaffer, and their father, Randall “Randy” Shaffer, leaned on each other for support.

Brian began to look to the future, particularly to an upcoming vacation to Miami with his girlfriend, Alexis.

Brian planned to propose on the trip, but he never made his flight.

On March 31, 2006, a Saturday night, Brian joined his friend William “Clint” Florence for a bar crawl near the Ohio State campus.

They stopped at Ugly Tuna Saloona in Columbus’ University District, but then left heading towards the Arena District and Short North.

18 years ago Brian Shaffer walked into a bar and was never seen again (2)

Later in the night, another friend, Meredith Reed, offered the two of them a ride back to Ugly Tuna, and they returned to the bar.

Surveillance camera footage shows Brian and his friends at the bar’s entrance around 1:15 a.m. He was last seen chatting with two women and walking back inside the bar before he disappeared.

His friends tried to call him after they lost each other in the bar but only got his voicemail. Figuring he went home, they left.

When Brian did not show up for his flight on Monday, his father grew worried and reported him missing.

Last video footage of Brian

Brian’s father searched his apartment but found everything where it was supposed to be.

His bed was made and his medical books were neatly positioned on the shelves.

A search was launched, as cadaver dogs canvassed the area around the bar, the woods near the river and the campgrounds.

Surveillance footage that captured Brian’s last movements was reviewed over and over, but police still had no answers.

In the video, Brian, Clint and Meredith rode the escalator to the bar at 1:15 a.m. An hour later, Clint and Meredith came back down. But Brian wasn’t with them.

“The police were just as confused as the rest of us,” Derek Shaffer told a local news outlet. “They did everything they could to try and find my brother.”

Clint and Meredith were questioned by the police. She passed a polygraph, but Clint allegedly refused to take one, it was reported.

18 years ago Brian Shaffer walked into a bar and was never seen again (3)

Weeks passed, then months, but Brian’s family refused to give up hope. His father Randy conducted media interviews, created a website for tips from the public and kept praying that his son would be found.

Then the wild theories and hoax tips began to trickle in.

Someone called Jesus claimed that Brian was beaten unconscious by two men after a clash at the Ugly Tuna.

“[Jesus said] ‘When Brian woke up, he had a big black penis in his mouth,’” Mr Shaffer recalled in 2007. “[He said] they shot him in the head, burned his body and had sex with his ashes.”

But it wasn’t a tip, it was a hoax.

There were alleged sightings of Brian in Atlanta and Sweden. But nothing led to finding him.

His brother Derek told The Dispatch that he stays away from what people say about Brian online.

“I don’t really read stuff about Brian online,” Derek said. “He was going to do great things as a doctor. He wasn’t into drugs or anything like that. I don’t think he would just take off and never contact us again. No, he wouldn’t have done that to us.”

“I’m afraid that something bad did happen, and we may never find out,” he added.

Another tragic loss

In 2008, two years after Brian went missing, the Shaffer family suffered another tragic loss.

Brian’s father, Randall “Randy” Shaffer, 55, died in a windstorm that pummeled central Ohio, killing at least six people in the area.

Mr Shaffer was believed to have been walking to a shed in the backyard of his Fairfield County home during the storm when he was struck and killed by a falling limb, Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said at the time, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

When he didn’t show up for his job with Midway Electric, where he worked as an electrician, neighbors went to his house and found his body in the backyard.

18 years ago Brian Shaffer walked into a bar and was never seen again (4)

Mr Shaffer had been a familiar face to many in central Ohio who followed his well-publicized search to find his son.

Within three years, Derek Shaffer had lost his mother, brother, and now his father.

On Brian’s right bicep was a tattoo of the stickman pictured on Pearl Jam’s debut single, “Alive.”

He was a devoted fan and planned to see them in Cincinnati. But he never made it.

18 years ago Brian Shaffer walked into a bar and was never seen again (5)

Four years after Brian went missing, the group performed “Come Back” at Columbus’ Nationwide Arena, two miles from the Ugly Tuna.

Eddie Vedder, the lead vocalist of the band, dedicated the track to Brian: “Wherever you are, we’re still thinking about you,” he said.

18 years ago Brian Shaffer walked into a bar and was never seen again (2024)

FAQs

Has Brian Shaffer ever been found? ›

Shaffer has not been seen or heard from since. The case received national media attention. Shaffer's disappearance has been especially puzzling to investigators since there was no other publicly accessible entrance or exit to the bar at that time (though there was a service exit near where he was last seen).

What happened to Brian Shaffer's dad? ›

The father of missing Ohio State student Brian Shaffer died Sunday night after a tree fell on him outside his home. The father of missing Ohio State student Brian Shaffer was killed Sunday night after a tree fellon him outside his home.

Who was the medical student who went missing? ›

Brian Shaffer was a 27-year-old medical student in his second year at OSU when he was last seen. Lori Davis, an advocate for missing persons, has worked with Brian's family since he went missing. “He had already went through the White Coat Ceremony and he was on his way to becoming a doctor,” Davis said.

Is Lamyah Shaffer still missing? ›

More than 100 days after a Wichita teenager was reported missing, she was found, her mother shares online. In a Facebook post early Saturday morning, mom Whitney Davis writes, "PRAISE GOD THEY FOUND MY BABY!!!!! The Wichita Police Department confirms the same.

Has Amelia Shaffer been found? ›

Amelia Shaffer, the missing inhabitant of Las Vegas, has been found and is affirmed protected, as indicated by sources.

Did they ever find Brian Histand? ›

Officials said Monday that Brian Histand's remains were found recently near 35th Avenue and Dobbins Road, the same area where he went missing. This is also near South Mountain. Histand's vehicle was towed from the same area by Phoenix police on May 17, 2013, after his keys were discovered in an open field.

What happened to Tyler Davis? ›

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – After a night out at Easton Town Center to celebrate his wife Brittany's birthday, Tyler Davis said he was going for a walk and never returned. Despite his disappearance gaining national attention, Brittany is still searching for answers five years later.

What happened to Bryce Laspisa? ›

In the early morning hours of Aug. 30, 2013, Laspisa went missing at Castaic Lake as he was driving home to Orange County from Sierra College near Sacramento, where he was a student. A former roommate of Laspisa told KCRA-TV the student partied hard and was evicted from their dorm the year before his disappearance.

Who was the medical student who stuck patient twice? ›

According to the med student's own account, the patient in question noticed Del Rosario's “She/Her” pronoun pin, laughed, and expressed consternation that any such identifier should be necessary. In response, Del Rosario intentionally “missed [the patient's] vein so he had to get stuck twice.”

Was Marlena Childress ever found? ›

Marlena Childress

However, she was never found. About two months later, her mother confessed to accidentally killing her. She told police she disposed of the child's body in the Obion River, but a body was never found. Her mother later recanted her confession, telling police she had made it up because she was stressed.

What happened to the medical students who didn t match? ›

If you haven't been matched, your school will contact you and likely work with you to identify your next steps. For many students, even those who've been matched, Match Week can be an emotionally exhausting process because they don't find out about their residency placement until the end of the week.

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