Jayson Artis was a Los Angeles engineering student who went down to Tijuana, Mexico to party with his brother and others. On the evening August 1, 1998, the two became separated while returning to their vehicle. Early the next morning, Jayson would be found dead on the road—but what happened?
Prior to Jayson’s Disappearance
Jayson Artis, his brother Steven Thomas, and friend Michael Justin all headed to Tijuana for a night out. Around 9 pm, the trio moved on to several bars and took advantage of a number of all you can drink deals. Important to note—and confirmed by his aunt Teena Martin-Smith—Artis was said to be “loud and obnoxious” when drunk. As a matter of fact, the weekend prior Artis sat in a Tijuana jail for being rowdy.
While most of what they drank was under $5, Tequila ran them for $6 a shot and Artis argued with one bartender. Steven and Michael were quick to calm the situation. Michael was left behind and Steven moved to get Jayson back to the car.
Disappearance and Discovery
At 1 AM, August 2nd, the two brothers were drunk and attempting to find their vehicle when Jayson bumped into a female police officer. The officer took offense and made Jayson get on his knees. After a moment, she allowed Jayson and Steven to leave.
Uneasy with the situation, Steven tried to hurry to find their car and insisted that Jayson keep up. Jayson was some distance behind Steven. Once he made it to another block he turned around and saw that Jayson was missing. He believed that his brother had taken a rest to gather himself and went to search for him.
Steven would eventually run into Michael who said he spotted Jayson in the back of a police vehicle. Two days later the American consulate informed the family that Jayson was dead. According to the Tijuana police, Jayson was attempting to get back to the border, got lost, and was killed in a hit-and-run accident.
His brother believes that the police were to blame. In speaking with Unsolved Mysteries in April 1999, Michael said “I believe that it had something to do with the police. I feel that for a fact. After Michael told me that he’d seen my brother in the back of a police car, there’s got to be something up there.”
As expected, the Tijuana police deny any wrongdoing. Roberto Sanchez of the Public Safety Department said that there were no arrests with Jayson Artis’ name.