Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Unsolved Mysteries volume 3, episode 4, “Death in a Vegas Motel”.Unsolved mysteries Volume 3, Episode 4 presents ample evidence supporting the theory that James “Buffalo Jim” Barrier was murdered. Barrier’s body was discovered in a Motel 6 on Boulder Highway on April 6, 2008, the day after he was checked in. An autopsy later determined that his heart had failed due to dilated cardiomyopathy and there were traces of cocaine in his system. Investigators were quick to rule Barrier’s death an accidental drug overdose after interviewing a woman known only as “Lisa”, but his family believe he was murdered.
While Buffalo Jim Barrier was a popular figure in Las Vegas, he also had many enemies. Chief among them was Rick Rizzolo, who owned the gentlemen’s club next to Barrier’s auto repair business. Unsolved mysteries The Volume 3 episode “Death in a Vegas Motel” reports that Barrier helped the FBI investigate Rizzolo’s affairs, which led to the latter’s conviction for racketeering and tax evasion. Family and friends believe it was no coincidence that Rizzolo was released from prison the day before Barrier died, but there is also evidence that Barrier’s death was a case of murder, even ignoring his feud with Rick Rizzolo.
Jim was proudly drug free
According to his friends and family, the idea that Buffalo Jim Barrier died of a cocaine overdose in a motel room in the company of an unknown woman is the most incredible aspect of his death. Despite being a Sin City institution, Barrier was known for its straight lifestyle. His youngest daughter, Jerica, notes him in Unsolved mysteries volume 3, episode 4, claiming in Netflix’s true crime series that she never knew her father for “using drugs or drinking alcohol or partying. This statement was confirmed by the family’s attorney, Gus Flangas, who recalled that Barrier had used cocaine in his early years and was proud to have overcome his addiction. In Flagas’ opinion, the circumstances reported of Barrier’s death were “completely atypical of the Buffalo that I knew.”
Another guest entered Jim’s hotel room before him
A strange aspect of the Buffalo Jim Barrier case is that motel records show that another guest entered the room later rented by Barrier at 8:15 p.m. on April 5, 2002. This was, as stated in the inquest presented by Netflix. Unsolved mysteries seven minutes before Barrier checked into reception at 8:22 p.m. The motel’s records also indicated whether the keys that accessed each room were registered in the name of a guest, management, or housekeeping staff. The key used to access the room at 8:15 p.m. belonged to another guest. The Barrier family believe this is evidence of a setup, as there was no good reason another guest had been in the same room so shortly before leaving for Barrier, or that housekeeping cleaned the room so late in the day and using a wrong key to access the room.
A folded dollar bill was found in Jim’s wallet.
Another odd aspect of the case is that the only money found in Buffalo Jim Barrier’s wallet was a single folded dollar bill. Jennifer and Jerica Barrier rate in Netflix Unsolved mysteries episode “Death in a Vegas Motel” that this was unusual as their father was known to carry large sums of cash and did not bend his money that way. They also claim that the single-ply dollar bill is a “very notorious mob hit sign“, used to mark victims of contract killings.
Jim’s car mysteriously disappeared and reappeared
Buffalo Jim Barrier’s white Rolls-Royce was his proudest possession, being as distinctive and well-known in Las Vegas as Barrier himself. Her daughters were unable to find her car at the motel, although they specifically searched for her after they arrived to identify her body. Police also searched for the car to no avail and filed a missing car report. The Rolls-Royce was eventually discovered by motel management later that day, April 6, 2008, at 5:30 p.m., in the hotel parking lot. According to attorney Gus Flagas’ interview with Netflix Unsolved mysteriespolice analysis of the car later yielded, “…no fingerprints, no hairs, nothingThis suggests the car may have been taken and cleaned of incriminating evidence before being driven back to the motel.
Jim predicted how he might be murdered
Jennifer Barrier thinks her father had advance warning that his enemies were going to act against him. She reveals in the Unsolved mysteries episode “Death in a Vegas Motel” that the last time she spoke to her father was the Thursday before his death when he specifically told her that “They’d make it look like I died of a drug overdose with women. Barrier also spoke with journalist Joshua Longobardy on the Friday before his death about the possibility of his murder being staged. Longobardy recalled their conversation in a 2008 Las Vegas Weekly article, noting that Barrier had specifically said “They’ll try to do it through a woman… or they’ll try to drug me.” Given this, it’s hard to suggest a storyline fitting the evidence of Buffalo Jim Barrier’s death outside of a murder setup.
Jim received a warning letter the day he died
The fact that Buffalo Jim Barrier received a letter revealing a conspiracy against him on the day of his death adds even more credence to the setup theory. The letter, which appears in the Unsolved mysteries investigates the case of Barrier’s death, mentions his old enemy Rick Rizzolo by name, and warns Barrier that Rizzolo was “use people to get close to youIt could also explain why Barrier allegedly agreed to meet the mysterious “Lisa” in a motel room, either believing he was helping a woman in need or trying to gather additional evidence of the plot against him.
New episodes of Unsolved mysteries out Tuesdays on Netflix.
Next: The Body Timeline Explained in Bags of Unsolved Mysteries