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Disappearance of Brian Shaffer

Disappearance of Brian Shaffer

Disappearance of Brian Shaffer

We have seen a lot of cases in which the person disappears. But in all that cases, there is at least one clue about what was happened or how it went all. But the disappearance story of Shaffer is different from all these. From then to now, the police were not able to find any actual clue regarding the case.

Here we are with the complete story of Brian Shaffer’s disappearance: what happened and how it happened, the recent updates, etc.


Brian Shaffer attended The Ohio State University as a medical student. He was raised in the suburb of Columbus, Ohio, by Randy and Renee Shaffer. After graduating with a degree in microbiology, he worked as a researcher for several years.

brian shaffer

Shaffer began his medical studies at OSU College of Medicine in 2004. In March 2006, when he was in his second year at the university, his mother died of myelodysplasia. Despite Shaffer’s apparent well-being, friends say he struggled with her death.

In his medical school years, Shaffer developed a romantic relationship with Alexis Waggoner, a fellow student. Brian was likely planning to propose to her during a spring break trip the couple had planned to Miami in April, along with their families and friends.

Shaffer was attracted to tropical locations like Miami because of their relaxed lifestyles. Despite his desire to become a doctor, he told his friends that his true ambition was to start a band playing a piece of music in the style of Jimmy Buffett.

Incident of Disappearance:

On March 31, OSU’s classes ended for a week of spring break. The Shaffer family celebrated the occasion by going to a steak dinner earlier in the day. Shaffer’s father noted that he had dragged himself out of bed early in the week after pulling all-nighters to prepare for important exams.

He did not think Shaffer should go out with his friend, William “Clint” Florence, later that night as he had planned but did not tell his son.

Florence met Shaffer at the Ugly Tuna Saloona, a bar located in the South Campus Gateway complex on High Street, at about 9 p.m. A little while later, Shaffer contacted Waggoner, who was visiting family in Toledo before she and Shaffer departed for Miami. While they were in Arena District, Shaffer and Florence visited several other bars and drank their way through. 

Shaffer and Florence met Meredith Reed, a friend of Florence’s, during the early hours of the morning. After that, Reed took them back to the Ugly Tuna Saloona, where the night had started, and joined them there for the last round. So they were all there when Shaffer left his companions.

Florence and Reed repeatedly called Shaffer in an attempt to locate him. Finally, they left with other patrons when the bar closed at 2 a.m., waiting outside for Shaffer. After he was no longer among the departing crowd, the men assumed he had returned home without informing them.

Shaffer’s father and Waggoner both called him later that weekend, but he did not answer. Then, on Monday morning, he missed the flight to Miami he had scheduled with Waggoner long in advance. A police report was then filed that he went missing in Columbus.

Investigation process:

Shaffer was last seen at the Ugly Tuna Saloona, where police began their search for him. The bar had installed security cameras due to the high crime rate in South Campus Gateway.

 A team member reviewed the video to confirm Shaffer, Florence, and Reed were on their way into the bar at 1:15 a.m. Around 1:55 a.m., Shaffer was seen walking outside of the bar with two young women and saying goodbye before turning toward the bar to reenter. As soon as the Ugly Tuna Saloon closed, he left, rather than being captured by the camera.

According to investigators, Shaffer had the option of changing clothes in the bar or putting on a hat and keeping his head down, obscuring his features. 

Shaffer might also have escaped detection, as one camera panned continuously across the area while the other camera was operated manually. He might have taken another route.

Shaffer likely was intoxicated at the time because the building’s only other exit, a door that wasn’t open to the public, opened onto a construction site. Officers believed it would have been challenging to physically pass through when sober or even intoxicated.

Columbus has the highest security cameras in Ohio, more than Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Toledo put together. Hence, officers next examined footage from other bars to figure out how Shaffer left the Ugly Tuna Saloona. Unfortunately, there were no traces of him in video footage from three other nearby bars.

Further Investigations:

Police began considering other possible explanations besides a car accident or foul play after searching miles away from the Ugly Tuna Saloona in all directions. Since Shaffer’s mother had recently passed away, it was assumed he was grieving in solitude temporarily. However, his disappearance was permanent. Moreover, he did not seem to have any apparent reason for disappearing voluntarily.

Shaffer’s father and others who saw him that evening were asked to take lie detector tests. All the others, including Reed, passed theirs, whereas Florence refused. In 2009, Brian’s last two companions were identified; they said in 2009 that they had never been asked to take one.

Waggoner’s call:

The night after Shaffer disappeared, Waggoner called her every evening before she went to bed. In September, it usually went to voicemail, but it rang three times one night. Even if no one picked up, she kept calling it because it was one of the most beautiful sounds she had ever heard. 

It is possible that what Waggoner heard was the result of a computer glitch at Shaffer’s wireless provider Cingular. An incoming call from the phone was detected at a cell tower in Hilliard, 23 kilometers (16 miles) northwest of Columbus.

Death of Randy Shaffer:

On September 18, 2008, Randy Shaffer was in his backyard clearing debris during a heavy windstorm. A branch from a nearby tree fatally struck him. Neighbors found his body the following day and called the police.

Condolence books were posted online after his obituary ran. Among its signatures was “To Dad, love Brian” (U.S. Virgin Islands). This suggested Brian was away from Columbus for a while. However, upon further investigation, it was determined that the note was posted from a Franklin County public computer.

Recent Updates:

The local Crime Stoppers hotline continued to receive at least two tips on the case a month, even in 2014.

Four boxes of files contained the evidence in this case. “With 100-percent certainty,” said Andre Edwards, one of the original investigators, after he examined the camera footage at the Ugly Tuna Saloona from the night Shaffer disappeared, he eliminated the possibility that he had left in disguise. There are three theories about the case, but police are refusing to discuss them with the magazine, even generally.

There has been a rash of reports online claiming that a homeless man who looks like Shaffer may be living in Tijuana, Mexico.

The police detective handling Shaffer’s case in 2020 received a photo of Shaffer from TenTV in Columbus, Ohio. For facial recognition analysis, the police detective sent the photograph to the FBI, which proved that he was not the man in the picture.

Shaffer has been missing for nearly 15 years; in March 2021, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation released the aged-progressed portrait of what Shaffer would look like at 42 years of age.

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