Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Unusual Death

*Warning*: This post contains information gathered from Columbia area Media Outlets and is updated as they update their information, it also contains the personal conjecture and speculation from the writer as well as other sources about the nature of this tragic event****
I got an e-mail this morning from a friend that asked if I had heard about a guy, Travis Ashley, going missing Friday night. His last known whereabouts was Art Bar. I found the blurb on WIStv about the alert that a 23 year old man was missing.

After talking to Queen Greene this evening, he informed me that the guy's body was discovered a couple of blocks away behind the Wachovia on Main Street. So of course, I started my own investigation so far from Google, Facebook, and other sites, I've discovered some things that have lead to only more questions.

He's a young gay man recently graduated from CCU all the way in Myrtle Beach. According to WLTX Columbia police say the man was out with friends at the Art Bar on Park Street Friday night and left alone. Reports say he was asked to leave. He was last seen around 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Art Bar is a fairly mixed bar on the weekends, some would even say - no it's a gay bar on Friday nights, but in general it's a mixed bar. Right next door is Fusion, a gay bar. Earlier reports indicated the possibility of an altercation, that detail has since been dropped from MSM sources. IF this man was involved in some kind of altercation it may not bode well for the cause of death despite the lack of visible signs of Trauma. The alternative of course is something a bit more probable, but none the less sad and unfortunately systemic in the gay community (we won't go there on this post so back down AEP and others), alcohol and drugs. It was after all late in the evening and temperatures did dip below freezing. What's to say he wasn't intoxicated or under the influence and pass out, although it just doesn't make any sense about the location.

More questions...

It seems as is always the case, more details are being revealed by various different sources. The State is saying that the young man was found in the bed of a pickup truck. The State is also saying that he was found with all his personal effects still with him. Signs are pointing towards alcohol/drug related death with assistance from the cold, but no official report has been released by the Coroner.

Further information has come to light as people are saying, and commenting that at Art Bar, only two drinks were purchased on the kid's tab. And although that's not to say that others didn't purchase drinks for him, it does raise yet more questions. After further talking with Queen Green last night, there have been raised community concerns recently of people being slipped drugs unknowingly in their drinks. He said that was the buzz of speculation going on at the hair saloon but as of yet who knows, again it's only speculation.

I do recall while at the Art Bar on Friday night and being at the back bar talking to some friends when someone was divvying up shots to people all around, I was given two. This person was then escorted out by Art Bar personnel and upon asking the person who ejected him, what'd he do, they simply said he wasn't supposed to be in the bar. But I don't recall what time this occurred. I've gotten confirmation from one of the persons I was talking to at the time that this was the guy... and in confirming that draws to question the purchase of only two drinks with a debit card, unless there was cash involved or infact that he was only standing around and divvying out drinks on behalf of someone.

The most boggling piece of the puzzle is why on Main Street behind Wachovia. Did his friends live in one of the apartments on Main Street, the Berringer building. Was he staying at a hotel downtown? Another concern is where were the two friends that he was visiting in town. Not implying any negligence on their part, we know all about leaving one's friends at a bar and trotting off elsewhere, but if they were around would they have begun looking? Questioning, especially if they were made aware of the fact that he had been ejected? We don't know, we can only speculate.

One thing is most definitely sure, despite this being a tragic occurrence of a single private citizen, people in Columbia are very much aware that this doesn't happen every day in our home town, people don't just go missing and tragically turn up deceased on such a regular basis as other large metropolitan areas. We want to know what happened, if not for the sake of bereaved family and friends, then in order to protect ourselves as we go out and enjoy the night life that we love to revel in. That's why we post and speculate, that's why we don't hush up and slide it under the rug. That's why we stay on investigators and media persons. It's not for the sake of the macabre. It's not for the sake of yellow sensationalism. It's for ourselves.

More as this develops...

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Anonymous said...

I saw Travis at Art Bar on Friday night just before he disappeared. To my knowledge there was NO fight involving Travis at Art Bar on Friday. However, Travis was asked to leave the bar at one point due to his level of intoxication. I truely believe that Travis, not being from Columbia and being put out on his own, wondered around the downtown area until he resorted to finding a place to hide from the cold and the rain, where he then suffered the unfortunate fate.

Whatever comes of this investigation, Travis will be sincerely missed.

c2t said...

I am a family member of Travis. We have been told by several people in the Art Bar and the lead investigators that Travis was NOT involved in any fight in the bar. We also were told he was asked to leave and only charged for two drinks!! So how much did he really drink?? He was found in the bed of the truck and we are still unsure why, all of his personal belongings were with him including a cell phone that if he were just "lost" he could have used at any time to get directions back. We are not sure what happened after he left there but whatever it was it has left our family in terriable grief. We are now battling Internet Rumors of bar fights, hate crimes, and such a level of intoxication that he didnt know left from right. But anyone who knows Travis knows this is not his character. If only the facts of the investigation were being told it would save his mom and dad and family alot of heartache with having to explain how untrue most of this stuff is. Please if you do not know facts or get it directly from a family member or investigator, do not repeat it. It will save us alot of trouble. Travis was a wonderful person and friend to everyone. If someone else had anything to do with this they do not know what they have taken away from family and friends that he had.

Anonymous said...

What is sad is that this man died. From the news reports it sounds like he was somehow under the truck between the lift gate and rear wheels or bed, what a bizzar place for a man to pass out. If he was some how between the bed and the lift gate maybe he crawled there to get shelter. We may never know what really happened.

What does need to be said is that we all must be careful when we go out drinking. He may have had only two drinks, but all it takes is a little date rape drugs and any man could have been severely intoxicated, not that I am saying Travis was drugged. Most of the date rape drugs are lethal if too much in consumed. He may have been dying before he was kicked out of Art Bar. This just goes to underscore why there should be at least one stone slobber person in every group of friends that goes out. Your friends will know when you have had enough they will also know if you are acting weird for the amount of alcohol you have consumed. May Travis rest in Peace and if anyone did him harm that night may they be brought to justice.