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Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 4 recap – “Death in a Vegas motel”

October 25, 2022

This Unsolved Mysteries Season 3 Episode 4 recap for the episode titled “Death in a Vegas Motel” contains spoilers.

“Death in a Vegas Motel” is the first episode of this season of Unsolved mysteries it really got me thinking, “Yeah, that’s pretty suspicious.” In fact, it almost ceases to be a mystery and instead becomes a story of corruption and what appears to be fairly obvious police negligence.

Unsolved Mysteries Season 3 Episode 4 Recap

The victim’s name was Barrier James “Buffalo Jim”, a local celebrity in Las Vegas thanks to his wrestling promotion, appearances on local television and his auto repair shop. A single father of four, he was a well-known character who unfortunately clashed with Rick Rizzolo, the owner of the gentlemen’s club, crazy horse toonext to the auto shop, and was eventually found dead in a motel room due to what was officially reported as a combination of a heart condition and cocaine use.

Since the episode is told primarily from the perspective of Buffalo Jim’s daughters and attorney, this is obviously a biased account of the facts. But unlike, say, Unsolved mysteries season 3, episode 1which omitted key details supporting the official theory, “Death in a Vegas Motel” includes enough readily verifiable information to cast serious doubt on the official, supposedly accidental, cause of Jim’s death.

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On the one hand, Rizzolo’s club had verifiable links to organized crime. He had had disputes with Jim over parking spaces, and Jim eventually filed a harassment complaint for alleged vandalism of cars in Jim’s lot and other similar behavior. Jim collected evidence for the FBI for a few years, and Rizzolo was eventually sent to prison for tax evasion.

That would seem like a pretty obvious motive for murder on its own. But Jim also received a number of threats to his life, warnings about death threats, and predicted almost exactly the exact manner of his death, both telling a reporter of Las Vegas Weekly and his daughter that if “these people” were to get it, they would do it via a woman and drugs. When Jim was found dead, it was confirmed he was with a woman who worked as a stripper at Rizzolo’s club, had white powder around his nose and mouth, and had cocaine in his system. .

“Death in a Vegas motel” is, as mentioned, biased, but it’s hard to argue with all of that, and the coroner claiming an accident with no reason to pursue the matter further makes it sound like someone was paid. Jim’s daughters make compelling and surprisingly rational anchors for the human element of this story, which feels like the kind of whimsical tale you might see on a mob show. Jim being a larger than life character gives him the same kind of vibe, but it’s a true story nonetheless, and the denial of Rizzolo and the woman who didn’t report the “convulsion” Jim’s apparent to the police refusing to be questioned because the show is not pretty.

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It’s another one of those cases that those involved are clearly hoping will be salvaged through the attention a Netflix release might garner. If that happens, it will be interesting to see what happens to one of the seemingly simplest mysteries this show has shared.

Further reading:

  • Unsolved mysteries season 3 episode 1 recap.
  • Unsolved mysteries season 3 episode 2 recap.
  • Unsolved mysteries season 3 episode 3 recap.
  • Unsolved mysteries season 3 episode 5 recap.

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