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Friday, January 13, 2023

What Happened to Ryan Uhre?

     Ryan Uhre grew up in the suburban town of Weston, Florida, a planned community of 65,000 in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan area. After attending Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale where he was on the wrestling team, Ryan enrolled at Florida State University in the state's capital, Tallahassee. After graduating from FSU in December 2013 with a degree in psychology, Ryan signed on as a legislative intern in state representative Richard Stark's Tallahassee office. In the fall of 2014 the 23-year-old planned to start law school.

     On Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, 2014, Ryan and several of his Alpha Delta Phi fraternity brothers watched the game at Andrew's Capital Grill and Bar in downtown Tallahassee. That night, after the game, he left the bar on foot. His friends thought he was walking to his apartment. He wore a Hawaiian-style shirt and what they call surfing Santas. [Red pants worn by Florida surfers who hit the waves wearing Santa Claus suits.]

     On Friday, February 7, 2014, Ryan's fraternity brothers reported him missing to the FSU Police Department. The search that ensued failed to produce a clue as to Ryan's whereabouts. The day before the missing person report, Ryan's cellphone briefly turned on from the Pompano Beach area. Police officers and others searched for him without result in and around Pompano Beach.

     At eight-thirty on the morning of Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 16 days after Ryan was seen leaving Andrew's Capital Grill and Bar in Tallahassee, police officers discovered his body on the second floor of a two-story vacant building not far from the bar. To have gotten into the building, Ryan would have had to have entered through a door on the roof. The structure, owned by the Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare Foundation had been empty since 2006. In 2012 the place was gutted by a fire. Ryan's body lay near a boarded-up window.

     At the death scene officers found Ryan's broken cellphone, his wallet, identification cards, watch and an unspecified amount of cash in his pocket. It appeared he had not been the victim of a street mugging. According to reports, detectives were looking for a man believed to have been with Ryan at the time of his disappearance. (Media sites reported that Ryan Uhre was gay.)

     The fact it took the police 16 days to find the young man's body just yards from where he was last seen suggests one of two things: Police incompetence or the possibility that Ryan died somewhere else and that his body had been placed in the abandoned building.

    On May 7, 2014, following the February 19 autopsy, the Leon County Medical Examiner's Office announced that Ryan Uhre had accidentally fallen to his death in the abandoned building. According to the toxicology report he had cocaine, heroin and alcohol in his blood.

     Why Ryan Uhre was in the building, and exactly what he was doing there, remained a mystery. 

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