Jayson Artis was a young engineering student attending college in Los Angeles. On a late summer night in 1998, he joined his brother and friend on another night of bar crawling in Tijuana. He had done the same a week before and ended up behind bars for rowdy behavior.
The weekend of August 1st would start in a similar fashion but end fatally. It is the family’s belief that the Tijuana police had a hand in his suspicious death.
Post Mortem Findings
Artis’ family received a copy of the autopsy performed in Tijuana and had it translated. Their suspicions were further confirmed with the evidence and account not matching up.
“First of all, they stated that Jayson was hit by a car, and we had these conflicting things,” Jayson’s aunt said in speaking with Unsolved Mysteries. “We had the photos of him with no injuries to his lower extremities, with these unexplained five-inch marks all over his body and chest area and in his face.”
Unsolved Mysteries went to three forensic experts and had them review the findings. Two experts found fault with the report–particularly that the hit-and-run ruptured Jayson’s heart. Dr. Jacob Turner found said this comes from the autopsy itself as there were no mentions of bruises and wounds to the chest that would cause such an injury.
The expert said that the autopsy’s note of severe head trauma is more in line with a beating. Ms. Smith agrees with Dr. Turner and feels the hit-and-run aspect of the Department’s story comes from an attempt to cover up the beating after Jayson Artis died.
The Tijuana police felt that the family was overreacting about the death. Following the case’s coverage on Unsolved Mysteries, Internal Affairs bring Steven and Michael in to assist. They were to identify any officers the officers they saw that night from some 200 photos. Steven was able to point out the female officer but the case didn’t move forward.
Tijuana’s investigation into Jayson’s death ends in 2000 yet the family still seek answers.