Real Name: Jayson Lloyd Artis
Nicknames: No Known Nicknames
Location: Tijuana, Mexico
Date: August 2, 1998
Details: Twenty-year-old Jayson Artis had moved from Virginia to Los Angeles, California, to go to college. In July of 1998, he brought his younger brother Steven out for a visit. Before leaving, Jayson decided to take his brother to Tijuana, Mexico to party. At around 9PM on Saturday night, August 1, Jayson, Steven, and Jayson's friend Michael Justin arrived at Tijuana's main drag, Avienda Revolucion. They went to several bars that night. Most of the places they went to offered all-you-can-drink for less than $5. Jayson was usually friendly and easy-going. However, he had a reputation for being a rowdy drinker. He began drinking tequila, not realizing that it was $6 a shot. When the bartender told him he owed $12, Jayson became upset. Michael told him to just give him the money. He did and they left the bar.
At around 1AM, Jayson and Steve left Michael at the bar and were walking back to their car when Jayson accidentally bumped into a female police officer while in the crowded streets. Immediately, Jayson was handcuffed and was only allowed to be let go if he gave them $40 and his gold watch. Jayson refused to give his watch, but the officer decided to let them go in exchange for the money. Because he was drunk, Jayson was told by Steve to stay put while he went looking for their car, but when Steve returned with the car, Jayson was nowhere to be found.
Meanwhile, when Michael left the bar to look for Jayson and Steve, he saw Jayson in the back of a police car with four officers inside. When he found Steve, they talked to the police, and the officers told them that if Jayson had been picked up, he was probably in jail. However, Jayson was not in jail; at 3:40AM, his badly beaten body was discovered alongside a road in Tijuana's rundown "Zona Norte" section, about three blocks from where he had been last seen.
The American Consulate told Jayson's family that he had died as a result of a hit-and-run accident. However, his family believes that he was the victim of a brutal beating that was done by Mexican police and that it was covered up, claiming to be a hit-and-run accident. His family received a copy of the autopsy report and had it translated into English. His family noted that he had injuries to his body that were inconsistent with an accident, including strange marks all along his body.
Unsolved Mysteries asked three forensic pathologists to review the autopsy report. One of them agreed that the injuries were consistent with a hit-and-run. However, the other two felt that the inconsistencies were puzzling. For instance, the Tijuana coroner stated that the car had hit Jayson so hard in the chest that it ruptured his heart. Pathologist Jacob Turner noted that there were no injuries to his chest that would have been found if a car had caused his heart to be ruptured. Furthermore, Jayson suffered from head wounds that were more consistent with being beaten with a blunt object.
Jayson's family, including his mother Rose Artis, aunts, Teena Martin-Smith, Eunice Winborne, and niece, Shaniya Artis, are all still searching for the truth.
Suspects: It has always been speculated but never confirmed that the Mexican police officials may have had something to do with Jayson's death. His family believes that he was beaten and then run over with a car to cover up the crime.
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the April 16, 1999 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Results: Unsolved. After the broadcast, the Tijuana police department's assistant internal affairs chief, Marco Quintero, compiled a binder of 205 photographs of Tijuana municipal police officers and delivered it to the American consulate. Steven and Michael were shown the photographs to see if they could recognize any of the officers. Steven tentatively identified one person as the female officer that Jayson bumped into on the night of his death. However, little else was done with this information and the investigation into Jayson's death ended in 2000. His family is still searching for answers.
- Jayson Artis on Unsolved.com
- Answers to American's death in Tijuana remain elusive - December 16, 2002
- Unexplained Death of Jayson Artis – Was it a hit-and-run of a police cover-up? - October 31, 2012
- Jayson Artis at Find a Grave