Real Name: Bryan Dylan Nisenfeld
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Bristol, Rhode Island
Date: February 6, 1997
Details: In January of 1997, eighteen-year-old college freshman Bryan Nisenfeld began his second semester studying architecture at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. Bryan was quiet and had few friends, and he spent most of his time reading or listening to music by the water's edge under the Mt. Hope Bridge. The architecture program was tough and Bryan was very homesick at the time.
On January 31, 1997, Bryan received a threatening phone call from a former Roger Williams University student who said that he was going to "get him", and that he could get on campus. The call startled Bryan, so he called his father Steve at 12:30AM and asked him to come to the university. His father told him to call campus security, and when he did, they told him to change his phone number.
Then, on February 6, 1997, Bryan finished his literature class and was never seen alive again. Surprisingly, Bryan's parents were not notified that he was missing until February 12, almost a week after he disappeared. Steve went to Bryan's room at the university and discovered everything was still. It seemed as if Bryan had left only briefly and was coming back to his room when something happened to him. Later, Bryan's mother Marianne received a mysterious call from a woman who claimed to be "associated with the school" and that an administrator and two faculty members were withholding information from the case, but then the phone line went dead.
Six months later, on Labor Day Weekend 1997, Lori Vales and her daughter Chelsea were walking along Hog Island Beach, a few miles from the university, when they discovered a shoe on the shore. When they looked in the shoe, they found part of a foot inside. DNA tests showed that the foot, along with a shinbone found nearby, belonged to Bryan. Authorities could find no other remains, but presume that Bryan is dead. However, they cannot determine what exactly happened to him. Some believe that Bryan may have accidentally fallen into the river from the water's edge, or may have been distraught over personal problems of troubles in school and jumped from Mt. Hope Bridge.
However, his family and friends do not believe that he could have died accidentally or committed suicide. They believe he was murdered. They also believe he may have been killed by the same person that was threatening him through the phone calls that occurred in the weeks before his disappearance.
When the man, Josh Cohen (whose name was withheld on the Unsolved Mysteries broadcast), was identified by campus officials, his family discovered that the two had been close friends during Bryan's first semester, and that they may have even been homosexual partners. However, their relationship ended a few weeks before Bryan's disappearance. Some believe that the man was going to come forward about his and Bryan's relationship, and that Bryan committed suicide as a result. His family, however, believes that the former student may have been involved in or was responsible for Bryan's death. As of now, the case of Bryan Nisenfeld remains open and unsolved.
Suspects: The former Roger Williams University student, Josh Cohen, is a possible suspect in the case. He and Bryan were friends during Bryan's first semester, and some believed that they may have had a secret homosexual relationship. However, their relationship abruptly ended, and the student then began sending threatening phone calls to Bryan. His family believes that the former student was involved in Bryan's disappearance and death, but the police do not believe he was involved.
Josh later admitted to making the threatening phone calls. However, he claimed that they were made only in jest.
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the July 4, 2001 episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Bryan's case was also profiled on 48 Hours.
- Bryan Nisenfeld on Unsolved Archive
- Bryan Nisenfeld SSDI Death Record
- Father Continues Search For Missing College Student - February 18, 1997
- Search continues for missing son - February 18, 1997
- Roger Williams University freshman Bryan Nisenfeld disappeared. Did he mean to? - June 26, 1997
- Body Parts Said To Belong To Missing Student Bryan Nisenfeld - September 5, 1997
- RWU: Keeping up appearances while telling bold face lies - November 7, 1997
- state police are investigating the disappearance of Bryan Nisenfeld. Will they be able to crack the case? - January 1998
- Was anti-gay bias a factor in the death of Bryan Nisenfeld? - March 16, 2000
- Parents Say College Was Slow To React To Son's Disappearance - April 2, 2001
- Missing Student Guidelines August 2, 2010
- Detectives determined to conquer decades-old quest for answers in college student's death - July 30, 2021