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Born on 25 February, 1979, Brian Shaffer often dreamed of becoming a doctor. He earned a bachelors degree in microbiology before becoming a medical student at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. 2006 for Brian wasn’t off to a positive start. In March, his mother, Renee, passed away from myelodysplasia. The cancer killed Renee within a space of a few months. Spring break was fast approaching and Brian was planning on flying out to Miami with his long-term girlfriend, Alexis Waggoner. He was preparing to propose on this romantic getaway.

On 31st of March, 2006, Brian and a group of friends decided to go on a bar crawl. At approximately 1AM the following morning, as the celebration was in full swing, the group went to the Ugly Tuna Saloona, a popular and lively seafood restaurant and bar just around the corner from the South Campus Gateway complex. CCTV footage captured Brian entering the bar. However, he was never witnessed leaving. As the night rolled to a halt, Brian’s friends couldn’t find him anywhere. CCTV footage from the two separate exits was reviewed but he wasn’t seen leaving either door. In fact, every single person in attendance was seen entering and exiting the bar but not Brian. So, where was he?

As Monday rolled around, Alexis had hoped that Brian would show up at the airport to catch their flight to Miami but he never appeared. A missing persons poster was designed and distributed. It contained a photograph of Brian’s Pearl Jam tattoo on his upper right arm as well as facial photographs. As the investigation was underway, the friends that were with Brian that fateful night were asked to take a lie detector test. The majority complied, however, one friend, Clint Florence, refused, leading to much speculation that he may have been involved. Over the forthcoming months, Alexis continually phoned Brian’s mobile. Each time, it went straight to voicemail. However, in September, it rang three times. Nobody answered the phone but police were able to ping it to a tower in Hilliard, a suburb 14 miles from Columbus. This was the glimmer of hope that Brian’s loved ones needed - maybe he was still alive.

There have been countless theories as to what happened to Brian. One man who referred to himself as “Jesus” told Brian’s father, Randy, that he had been killed by two men after an assault: “When Brian woke up, he had a big black penis in his mouth. They shot him in the head, burned his body and had sex with his ashes,” he claimed. Thankfully, it was determined that this was a hoax. Another theory is that Brian never actually left the Ugly Tuna. Could he have been a victim of foul play and could his body still be hidden within the bar, stuffed into an empty beer keg.

Tragically, Brian’s father, whose motivation to uncover the truth as to what happened to his son never faltered, went to the grave without knowing the truth. Two years later, he was hit and killed by a falling tree. In the space of three months, Brian’s brother, Derek, was left without a mother, a brother, and now a father. Brian Schaffer still remains missing.

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