Unsolved Mysteries Recap for Death in a Vegas Motel

Unsolved Mysteries Recap for Death in a Vegas Motel
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Unsolved Mysteries Recap for Death in a Vegas Motel

Unsolved Mysteries Death in a Vegas Motel opens with an ad for Buffalo Jim’s Wrestling show and his admirers talking about his life. There is then a news story about his death and how he was an enemy of the mob, along with friends and family wanting to bring his killer to justice.

Buffalo Jim was found dead on April 6th, 2008 in a Las Vegas Motel 6. A housekeeper has discovered him on his bed, but initially thought he was asleep. She returns two more times and then checks on him further, only to discover he was dead. He was face up, nude from the waist down and had a white powdery substance on his shirt and beard. It was immediately considered to be a death that was suspicious in nature.

The man in question was identified as James Barrier, aka Buffalo Jim. He was a pro wrestler, mechanic and political candidate. In short, he was a ‘true Las Vegas character’ who was larger than life.

Who Was Buffalo Jim?

His daughters Jennifer and Jerica remember him as someone who was devoted to his family and proud of his Cherokee heritage. Despite having a tough childhood, he worked hard and ended up owning an auto mechanic shop, even working on cars with celebrities.

The girls remember growing up with their parents and sisters until 2000, when the parents divorced. Jerica went on to live with Jim, while the others moved to Seattle with their mother.

More than anything, Jim was known for his persona and work as a pro wrestler. Jerica would even join him in the ring sometimes and was given the name Little Buff.

Jerica shows off Jim’s dream home and how it is not the same without him there.

That Fateful Night

The night he died, he had gone out with a friend, promising to be home by midnight. Little did she know that this would be the last time she would see or speak to him. She remembers trying to get in contact with him throughout the night and next morning, but no avail She called her sister Elise and the two of them soon discovered that Jim had been found dead. They quickly went to identify the body. Jerica recalls those tragic moments and how they weren’t given much information, but were given his belongings, which included his phone.

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Jerica decided to call people in the phone log, including a woman named Lisa, who had left a voicemail for him and seemed concerned about his whereabouts.However, Lisa seemed cagey, which led to Jerica inferring that she knew something about Jim.

 

Afterward, Jerica and Elise had to inform the rest of the family about Jim’s death. His friend Johny is also notified, who said that everything completely shut down in that moment.

The Investigation

Dr. Larry Simms was in charge of the autopsy and reveals that there were no signs of trauma, but there were traces of cocaine in the system, which could have caused his death, especially since he had heart problems. However, his daughters, Johny and attorney Gus Flangas all insist that he didn’t drink or do drugs, despite having a cocaine problem earlier in his life.

 

Further investigation showed that there was no evidence of cocaine and the powder on his body was never proven to be cocaine at all. At this point, they think it is a setup, especially coupled with the voicemail from Lisa.

A Possible Suspect?

Detectives then look into Lisa, who claims that she had a long relationship with Jim. She said she had called him about selling a motorcycle to a friend, which they think was the reason why Jim went to the motel in the first place. Video surveillance shows him at the hotel with a woman they believe to be Lisa. The woman claims they met at the hotel, played a sexual fantasy game, did cocaine and the Jim began convulsing and possibly had a mild seizure. She then left him in the room, went to get her car at the gas station where they met and called him around 9:30 to check on him. However, there was no answer.

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Jim’s family question this and why Lisa never called the cops. They also wonder where the man wanting to buy the motorcycle was and who accessed the room before Jim arrived at the hotel around 8:22 that night, since it was discovered someone entered around seven minutes before Jim. Since it was a guest key, they think it is someone who was waiting for Jim.

 

Further investigation showed a folded dollar bill in his wallet, which was not only unusual for Jim, but a sign of a mob hit.

Possible Clues

The family knew he was getting death threats, but he ignored them. It is believed that they came from a club called Crazy Horse Too owned by a man named Rick Rizzolo.  The company was said to have some mob ties and the feud began over the fact that Jim refused to move his business so Crazy Horse Too could expand. Before long, the feud would escalate and led to several legal battles. Crazy Horse Too also had a reputation for violence, racketeering and other such activities.

 

FBI agent Robert Clymer confirmed that strip clubs in Vegas had several mob ties and that Crazy Horse Too was under constant investigation and Jim would often send evidence to the FBI of the illegal activities.

 

On February 20th, 2003, the FBI got a search warrant for Crazy Horse Too. The place was raided, and Jim was interviewed about it on the news.

A Prison Release….and a Connection?

In 2006, Rick pleaded guilty to tax evasion, which led to him going to prison in 2007. However, he only served ten months for good behavior and got house arrest for his remaining sentence. The day after he was released was the day that Jim died.

 

Lisa was identified as a stripper at Crazy Horse Too and it is believed she was hired by Rick to help get rid of Jim.

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Jim had owned a Rolls Royce, which went missing and was later returned to the motel parking lot. The family found it suspicious that it was gone and suddenly reappeared. There was no evidence of anything inside the car, but the family and attorney were not satisfied and wanted to the investigation to go further.

Aftermath

The police report also had two phones listed, neither of which belonged to Jim and his own phone was not listed. One of the phones listed was also never returned to them.

 

Jennifer recalls that the last phone call she had with Jim warned her about Rick and that if he (Jim)died, they would make it look like an overdose. He also got a threatening letter the day he died.

 

There was no formal investigation despite the fact that there was plenty to investigate in the eyes of Jim’s friends, family and attorney.  They all knew that Jim had enemies and that this is what led to his murder. It is also believed that the drugs were forced into his body and that his murder was a get out of jail gift for Rick.

Both Rick and Lisa refused to be interviewed.

 

In September 2006, Crazy Horse closed down and the building had fallen into a state of disrepair by 2019.

 

Jennifer ran Jim’s shop until it eventually closed for undisclosed reasons.

 

Johny, Jerica and Jennifer put flowers on Jim’s grave as they all reflect on memories of him.  They all hope that they will one day get answers about his death.

About Post Author

Sammi Turano

Sammi has been a journalist for over a decade, specializing in entertainment, lifestyle, sports and celebrity news. She is the owner of TVGrapevine and Football in High Heels and the Host of Grapevine in High Heels With Sammi.
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About Sammi Turano 4548 Articles
Sammi has been a journalist for over a decade, specializing in entertainment, lifestyle, sports and celebrity news. She is the owner of TVGrapevine and Football in High Heels and the Host of Grapevine in High Heels With Sammi.

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