Artwork from BART Lost & Found Sent to Matthew Shepard Foundation for Display

January 18, 2014 13:00 pm · 48 comments


Hundreds of stray items can come into the BART Lost and Found office every day, and workers diligently try to reunite them with their owners. The typical process involves tagging the item with the relevant information on when it was found, where, and by whom.

Somehow, though, early this year, a piece showed up that would turn out to have a great emotional impact, although its creator is unknown. Alert workers realized its potential significance and made sure it got back to a proper home.

It is a chalk portrait of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming in 1998. It was not tagged so no one is sure who turned it in, or where it was found – just somewhere in the BART system. It could have been on a train, in a station, turned in by an employee or a passenger.

“It was a really interesting item,” recalled Marie Haffner, one of the Lost and Found employees, officially called Transportation Administration Specialists, who first noticed the piece. “The name ‘Matthew Shepard – RIP’ was written on the bottom and I knew I remembered his story from somewhere … I thought, isn’t he the young man who was beaten and found hanging from the fence?”

The triptych-style artwork is about 2.5 by 3 feet in size, done in chalk on a thick stock paper, in shades of blue and gray.

Because the portrait bore no ownership identification, Haffner got in touch with the Matthew Shepard Foundation in Denver, Colo. , and arranged to have it sent there for display at the foundation’s headquarters. “It arrived on Wednesday,” Robert House, programs and outreach manager for the foundation, said Friday. He said at the end of a staff meeting, the foundation’s staff opened it up and were moved by the creator’s vision of Matthew.

“This artwork is based on a photograph that was taken by one of Matthew’s high school friends, that has been seen a lot, and we use in many of our materials,” House said. “And this was a fresh interpretation. It puts Matt’s face and unique smile right at the center.”

“There is a very small, indistinct signature,” of the artist who apparently created the work, House noted. However, employees of BART and the foundation could not make out the name. So the questions of who created the work, of what inspired the artist, what Shepard’s story meant to them, remain unanswered.

House said he was pleased to receive the work because it’s important that Shepard’s legacy live on.

“Our foundation exists to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance, by telling the stories of how hate impacts everyone,” he said. “Just this past summer in New York City we saw a large increase in anti-gay hate crimes.”

If you have any information to add to the story of the artwork, you can find contacts for the Shepard Foundation on its website,

The truth January 18, 2014 at 1:45 PM

That is a really nice piece of art. Too bad the Matthew Shepard thing appears to have been a manufactured story. He was a meth dealer, killed during a drug deal, by a bi-sexual partner of his, over money. Absolutely nothing against gay people, but it’s creepy how we are force fed half-truths by the media and other groups, so they can profit.

kyburz January 18, 2014 at 2:07 PM

Thanks for posting the truth! Glad it’s the first post!! thank you.

Eddie spaghetti January 18, 2014 at 2:11 PM
VikingPrincess January 18, 2014 at 2:36 PM

@the truth
Oh my word! Was this found out after or before the foundation was started?

Guess its up there with most US holidays – eh?

Teacher Wannabe January 18, 2014 at 2:37 PM

@The Truth. And why should we believe your version? Could just as much be “manufactured” without documented references.

Noflow January 18, 2014 at 2:58 PM

The Truth @ #1

The book is “The Book of Matt” by Stephen Jimenez.

A lot or ruffled feathers….

Tom January 18, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Yes, what TheTruth says above is, well… the truth. The Matthew Shepard story was a lie. It took a brave gay journalist in a far-left publication to break the story.

The Theorist January 18, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Man, you people will buy anything?
Who profits from this “anonymous” letter that he found in the unsealed court documents years later? Justice? Or his pocket book?
Supposed “award winning author” …haha.
The “evidence” was debunked. Some say it was a ploy by the defense.
I suspect you you dig deeper on this guy, you would find his real “agenda.”
But of course everyone knoes the gays are drug using pedophiles… just ask the Russians.
Anywho, this story renews what little faith I had in humans. Brought a small smile to my day to know this tragedy is still (positively) touching people lives, decades later.

nice piece of art January 18, 2014 at 3:58 PM

wish the artist would step forward

Soft Spot January 18, 2014 at 4:25 PM
Always Right January 18, 2014 at 4:29 PM

“The truth” is telling the truth. This was a brutal murder wrongly manufactured to be a “hate crime”, and then used with great success to promote sympathy for the gay agenda.

Meantime we have plenty of real hate crimes, like the knockout game, which have injured hundreds and killed several people.

Hard crimes committed by African Americans against Caucasians, Asians, and Latinos go unreported by the left wing media. Reminds me of Animal Farm where some animals are more equal than others.

Antler January 18, 2014 at 4:48 PM

This murder happened in Casper, Wyoming, as I recall. I am contacting a cousin who lives there and knows Matthew’s family. There are some vicious comments on this thread, and I would like any primary source input she can give.

Reality Slap January 18, 2014 at 5:24 PM

While the beating of anyone is horrible and unacceptable, the worst scenario is when the crime is exploited for political correctness. Please see the attached news article, though old it is loaded with facts, not convenient consequences.

Silva January 18, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Whatever “The Truth” may be, that young man died a brutal and toutured death. He didn’t seek to be a martyr of any cause.

Yhe Phantom January 18, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Reality Slap

Try reading your own source to the bottom of page 2 and begin page 3.
Tends to contradict #1, #2, Always Right and yourself.

Yhe Phantom January 18, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Arrests and trial
Police arrested Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson shortly after the attack, finding the bloody gun and Shepard’s shoes and wallet in their truck.[20] Henderson and McKinney later tried to persuade their girlfriends to provide alibis for them.[21]

At trial, McKinney offered various rationales to justify his actions. He originally pleaded the gay panic defense, arguing that he and Henderson were driven to temporary insanity by alleged sexual advances by Shepard. At another point, McKinney’s lawyer stated that they had wanted to rob Shepard but never intended to kill him.[20]

The prosecutor in the case alleged that McKinney and Henderson pretended to be gay in order to gain Shepard’s trust.[22] During the trial, Kristen Price, girlfriend of McKinney, testified that Henderson and McKinney had “pretended they were gay to get [Shepard] in the truck and rob him”.[23][24] McKinney and Henderson went to the Fireside Lounge and selected Shepard after he arrived. McKinney alleged that Shepard asked them for a ride home.[23]

After befriending him, they took him to a remote area outside of Laramie where they robbed him, assaulted him severely, and tied him to a fence with a rope from McKinney’s truck while Shepard pleaded for his life. Media reports often contained the graphic account of the pistol whipping and his fractured skull. It was reported that Shepard was beaten so brutally that his face was completely covered in blood, except where it had been partially washed clean by his tears.[25][26] Both girlfriends also testified that neither McKinney nor Henderson were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.[27][28]

Henderson pleaded guilty on April 5, 1999 and agreed to testify against McKinney to avoid the death penalty; he received two consecutive life sentences. The jury in McKinney’s trial found him guilty of felony murder. As they began to deliberate on the death penalty, Shepard’s parents brokered a deal, resulting in McKinney receiving two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.[29]

Henderson and McKinney were incarcerated in the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins, later being transferred to other prisons because of overcrowding.[30]

From The Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Attempts now to rewrite the story of this hate crime appear to be based on untrustworthy sources, factual errors, rumors and innuendo rather than the actual evidence gathered by law enforcement and presented in a court of law. We do not respond to innuendo, rumor or conspiracy theories. Instead we recommit ourselves to honoring Matthew’s memory, and refuse to be intimidated by those who seek to tarnish it. We owe that to the tens of thousands of donors, activists, volunteers, and allies to the cause of equality who have made our work possible.


Investigators found no trace of meth in Matthew or McKinney…How weird!

DAVE O’MALLEY (Lead LE Investigator): If Matthew had been a methamphetamine dealer, we’d had found that out. We would have investigated that part of it. That doesn’t cause justification for what happened to him ultimately. If McKinney would have been under the influence of – in a meth-fueled rage of sorts, you know, that would have been appropriately investigated, and reported, in that manner.

MARTIN: What Jimenez doesn’t have to back up his story is a toxicology report proving that McKinney had meth in his system that night. Dave O’Malley and another investigator on the case, Rob Debree, both told us a toxicology report was done on Aaron McKinney – showing no trace of drugs in his system the night in question.

“The Republican Party thinks they can lie without limit because they suppose they will not be held accountable for every twisted tale they try to tell. They never show any FACTS, just accusations, implications, innuendos, lies within lies, allusions to conclusions, and rhymes about crimes.” ~ Yhe фантом

If this Stephen Jimenez story were true it would have come out during the trial, and we would all already know it…haters think Upside Down…like Noflow and Tom.

Antler January 18, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Here is the reply from my cousin. When you see asterisks ****** , that’s where I have deleted her daughter’s name.

“Matt was killed outside of Laramie but he grew up in Casper and went to all the same schools **** did, though I never knew him. She knew who he was but that was it. Drug deal gone bad seems to be the true story, not a hate crime. Judy Shepherd (his mom) travels around promoting anti-hate legislation though. I heard her once before ***** graduated when she spoke at NCHS (Natrona County High School). Only way I really know her is because she rear-ended the guy who read-ended me when Sarah was in high school.

Crazy that someone would lose a piece that big & not find it right away!! I wonder if the artist was a Bay area resident who identified with Matt’s lifestyle and went with the hate-crime story. Lovely colors & unique presentation. Makes you wonder why he was traveling on BART with it … maybe just picked it up from being matted?? Sad to lose one’s work that way, but cool for him it ended up in a museum.”

Yhe Phantom January 18, 2014 at 7:49 PM

“Drug deal gone bad seems to be the true story, not a hate crime….”

Wow! Did anyone think to bring this up 15 years ago? Wow! if it wasn’t for that anonymous letter that only Jimenez found, none of this would ever have been known!

Wow! Did Sarah report this drug thing to the authorities before the book cam out?

The murderers might be innocent of a hate crime and murder, could be a stand your ground self-defense…Colorado has it!

Astounded ! January 18, 2014 at 8:01 PM

Thank you phantom. That’s all I can say.

Chad W. January 18, 2014 at 8:05 PM

Wow, you old geezers who have commented seem to have totally bought into all of this conspiracy theory crap that exists not only for this case, but for pretty much everything else out there (9/11, JFK assassination, UFO’s, etc). Seriously, you people are the kind of people that watch Fox News way too often…. always trying to find some backstory that is completely fabricated….

The simple truth is that Matthew Shepard was murdered as a hate crime, as a result of his homosexuality. When you remove all the sensationalism – what remains is the truth: that there was no meth, no drug dealing….. I don’t believe it. Sadly, this is something that has happened and will continue to happen until people realize that gay and lesbians deserve respect and will not stop until they receive it, and to make up some contrived story is disrespectful to this kid’s memory. These kind of hate crimes are wrong… yet for some reason, if it happens to a gay kid, its somehow not as serious as if it were a black person, right? Something is seriously wrong in this country.

RIP Matthew Shepard

Astounded ! January 18, 2014 at 8:07 PM

But wait a second, have I been duped .
That posting, #20, confuses me.
Perhaps Yhe Phantom has conflicting…
Ah screw it!

VikingPrincess January 18, 2014 at 8:07 PM

At this point and with the small amount of info provided, until further research, I tend to believe that it is more than likely a drug deal gone bad.
Not surprised a person who did not want to admit they had a drug problem or bisexual. Who’s going to argue

I also say this because of the Pauley Klaas case. I was in that area and locals had a completely different take on what happened. I mean, who’s going to step up and say that her father was a known druggie? No one. He lost his child and cleaned his act up.

Antler January 18, 2014 at 8:19 PM

beautiful art at #19 ~ ~ ~ Yes, I do too……just from the picture.

Yhe Phantom ~ ~ ~ Sarah only was in some classes with the boy. “She knew who he was but that was it.”

So of course she had no knowledge of what happened or did not happen on the night he was murdered over near Laramie. Therefore, she had nothing TO report….one way or the other.

Your last paragraph does not make sense, and it really has no relevance either to the physical evidence of the condition of the boy’s body when found …or certainly not to the discovery of the portrait, which I happen to think is fine work. I hope the Foundation discovers the artist’s identity so that the descriptive plaque under the portrait will be complete.

I have no “position” on this issue. I merely thought my cousin could give more detail, especially as she definitely is not homophobic and as she was quite upset about the murder at the time.

Yhe Phantom January 18, 2014 at 8:46 PM

That posting, #20, confuses me.

Forgive me but the [Satire switch] was left on.

“I have no “position” on this issue. I merely thought my cousin could give more detail, especially as she definitely is not homophobic and as she was quite upset about the murder at the time.” …so her opinion is that it was a drug deal gone bad?

“Drug deal gone bad seems to be the true story, not a hate crime.”

“So of course she had no knowledge of what happened or did not happen on the night he was murdered over near Laramie. Therefore, she had nothing TO report….one way or the other.”

Good to know…high school friend reveals truth.

Teacher Wannabe January 18, 2014 at 9:09 PM

@The Theorist. “But of course everyone knoes the gays are drug using pedophiles”. I’ll remember that every time I see my sweet 21 year old daughter. Never would have thought it. Thanks for enlightening me. *snort*

Yhe Phantom January 18, 2014 at 9:45 PM


Forgive me but the [Satire switch] was left on.

Do not use the [Satire Switch] unless…just do not use the [Satire Switch].

But first, learn how to do the hot new dance! …the BenghaziCare!

Yhe Phantom January 18, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Only for those of us who believe in the Everlasting Life:

Matthew is pleased that we remember him and loves the art work.

“In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (commonly the “Matthew Shepard Act” or “Shepard/Byrd Act” for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law.[3]”

VikingPrincess January 18, 2014 at 10:32 PM

Yes – appears many knew him and knew of him. Not me. All I heard from people was anger about him. Not one person opposed the anger or shed light on other possibilties. Amazed at how many knew him. Petaluma is tight knit with long time residents.

No one I knew or bumped into seemed to know her mother. Not from Petaluma so I have no idea. But everyone else did.

Antler January 18, 2014 at 10:32 PM

Phantom, time…a LOT of time has passed since Matthew’s murder. What my cousin felt then and what she later came to know about Matt’s friendships within drug culture circles accounts for the shift in her opinion.

Just for the record, she and I have emailed since my last post on Claycord. She was not even aware of the Jimenez book until I asked her about it, so that book plays no part in her revised understanding of how law-abiding a person Matt really was.

And her daughter was NOT Matt’s “high school friend”! Why did you decide to fabricate that and then try to use your falsification as some sort of closing zinger? She knew who Matt was ….. period.

You are not seeming like yourself tonight, I am sorry to conclude. And I have no dog whatsoever in this fight except for my hope that the artist will be identified.

Yhe Phantom January 18, 2014 at 11:18 PM

Antler January 18, 2014 at 4:48 PM
“This murder happened in Casper, Wyoming, as I recall. I am contacting a cousin who lives there and knows Matthew’s family. There are some vicious comments on this thread, and I would like any PRIMARY SOURCE input she can give.”

“Matt was killed outside of Laramie but he grew up in Casper and went to all the same schools **** did

“So of course she had no knowledge of what happened or did not happen on the night he was murdered over near Laramie. Therefore, she had nothing TO report….one way or the other.”

– probably not a PRIMARY SOURCE.

– And yet we are supposed to accept her conclusion. without proof that Mathew was involved in dealing meth that night…even though LE, the Courts and the press dismissed this as an unsubstantiated claim, and still do.

“And I have no dog whatsoever in this fight except for my hope that the artist will be identified.”

But you are willing to repeat the “story” that cannot be confirmed, and is only a rumor advanced by who and why? Why spread the story? Because you think your source is reliable?

Did it occur to your friend that she was informed by people who read the book? Or fed the story to Jimenez? It’s all superstition…like the Birther thing.

Silva January 18, 2014 at 11:42 PM

VikingPrincess, he sure did clean up well.

Sabrina January 19, 2014 at 7:34 AM

@ eyewhen—34

Marc Klaas is not a sicko. If you’re referring to what Richard Allen Davis said in court, he made it up to tick off Mr. Klaas. We’re talking about Richard Allen Davis.

You’re not the sharpest tool in the shed.

Chevrolet girl January 19, 2014 at 7:36 AM

Antler is just giving the opinion of his cousin, that is all. Take it as you wish Antler was just showing another point of view and clearly stated did not have a dog in the fight, back off.

Antler January 19, 2014 at 7:39 AM

Sheeeeese, Phantom! My cousin was geographically closer to the family and to the event, and I thought she might have primary sources (or even empirical source insight if she happened to have known the family as friends). What she DID say makes it clear that she could not help in those two respects. But as I had written on Claycord that I would ask, I did ask; and I reported what she said without adding any opinion of my own. Take it or leave it. I really don’t care what your opinion is so long as you make a start at stating it without twisting my words or the purported meaning and “intentions” therein!

My cousin did tell me about what the word-of-mouth according to OTHERS who knew Matthew as a friend revealed about him VERY SOON after his murder. Casper is a small city…about 55,000…therefore, networking did not take long. (I suspect the dynamics were much like the way David Rosen’s past behavior and affiliations “got around” so quickly here in our area after he struck and killed two people and injured another with his car.) Nothing about what the network of people who knew Matthew Shepherd had concluded was as a result of their having read investigative reporter Stephen Jimenez’s book, which was not even published until last year!

You and others might find relevant information in the following:

Silva January 19, 2014 at 9:47 AM

@eyewhen #34; You are joking, right?

Ven Exeter January 19, 2014 at 9:48 AM

If the facts don’t fit The Phantom’s narrow minded agenda, he/ she is not interested in them. As with the primitive diatribes when commenting on political threads, it’s all about divisiveness. There is no audience for this sort of hate- mongering if there are no contrived “hate-crimes”.

Concorddad January 19, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Wow the people on claycord still never cease to amaze me. You will take anything and turn in around if it doesn’t fit into your hate filled rants. Take the story for what it is. A young man was murdered and it was a truly horrific death.

The “Gay Agenda” lol you guys are killing me. How about the “Christian Agenda” or the “Republican Agenda” give me a break. Oh look out the gays are going to move into your dumpy neighborhood and make it look better. Stop watching Fox news and get out of your house!

VikingPrincess January 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM


Don’t know what was said in court and not sure if I do 😉

The scuttle butt I heard was waaay before the trial. Between the time she was missing until sometime he was incarcerated. Never any comments that he was a sicko.

People were looking to blame but the stories of him were consistent no matter who brought it up. Weird.

Either way, it is an example of community having a different view as what was portrayed in Media.
Glad its over

Yhe Phantom January 19, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Notice how a complete lie has become urban myth by new claims unsupported by any facts.

The is the historical re-write so popular with “old” style politicians, using controlled newspapers like Hearst Publishing.

We have the Internet today that shows all references to meth are current except for one that was published in 2004, and was discounted within the same source.

“The murder continued to attract public attention and media coverage long after the trial was over. In 2004, the ABC News program 20/20 aired a controversial report quoting claims by McKinney, Henderson, and Kristen Price, the prosecutor and a lead investigator that the murder had not been motivated by Shepard’s sexuality but rather was primarily a drug-related robbery that had turned violent.[20] Critics charged that the report, which featured interviews with Shepard’s murderers, was sensational, misleading, and downplayed or ignored evidence of homophobia as a motivation for the crime.[55][56][57][58]

“Dave O’Malley, the Laramie police commander over the investigations division at the time of Shepard’s murder,[59] stated that the murderers’ claims were not credible, but the prosecutor in the case stated that there was ample evidence that drugs were at least a factor in the murder.[60] Other coverage focused on how these more recent statements contradicted those made at and near the trial.[61]

“In September 2013, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard by Stephen Jimenez, the producer of the 20/20 segment, was published. The book revived and expanded upon claims by the author that Shepard’s murder was at least partly drug-related and that, contrary to the generally accepted version of events, his sexual orientation was not a major motive for the crime. Additionally the author claimed that Shepard and at least one of his killers (McKinney) had been occasional sexual partners.[62][63] This book has, however, been criticized by culture critic Alyssa Rosenberg as being poorly sourced.[64] Police officials interviewed after the book’s publication have also disputed the claims made in the book.

Dave O’Malley said that Jimenez’s claims that Shepard was “a methamphetamine kingpin [] is almost humorous. Someone that would buy into that certainly would believe almost anything they read.” Rob Debree, lead sheriff’s investigator at the time, said that the book contains “factual errors and lies”, and said that Jimenez’s claim that Shepard was a drug dealer is “truly laughable.”[59]”

– “Half the people in the United States are below average intelligence” ~ Yhe фантом

eyewhen January 19, 2014 at 2:23 PM


You’re just a teenage Witch!

J. January 19, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Rest-in-Peace, Matthew Shepard

anonanonagain January 19, 2014 at 4:44 PM

@ Eddie Spaghetti and The truth, so it is okay to beat the hell out of someone, torture them and then leave them to die???? Are you justifying those two psychopath’s actions??
The girlfriend of one of the murderers said at trial that he had sought out a gay man at a bar to purposefully and with intent to beat the living **** out of a gay man because he hated all homosexuals.
Whether your story of drugs is true or not, that is no way an excuse for a human being to be tortured, tied to a fence and beaten to the point that their brain stem is obliterated. . You both are sick individuals….

custer January 19, 2014 at 4:49 PM

If you’re wondering how something
like this can happen take a look at
a few episodes of Jerry Springer. It
is played out for all the world to see
on a regular basis … with the exception
that there are body guards present
to protect the gay who has made a
move on a straight person. The
straight person is angry and wants
to beat the crap out of the gay. Add
drugs to the mix (direct
reporting from a gay friend who
told me of his extensive drug use
and promiscuity prior to dying from
AIDS), and the result is a dead gay
man. Some gays seem to force
themselves and their lifestyles on
straights the same way evangelicals
force themselves on nonbelievers.
Depending on who you mess with
you might not like the result. At
the end of every show, Jerry Springer
has some friendly advice for these
guests … usually a gentle prod to
discourage whatever behavior
brought them to the show in the
first place.

Yhe Phantom January 19, 2014 at 7:16 PM


So clear, concise, and complete…I wish I was as effective as you are.


Homophobes are not as afraid of gay men as they are afraid of appearing gay. That is why they get so mad at their “new friend”. Fear of being perceived as “one of them” produces the deadly rage, unless it is the product of a long standing simple insane prejudice.

– you are so confused…Springer is a dramatic entertainment show…like the reality TV shows…folks are playing “pretend”

custer January 19, 2014 at 10:45 PM

@Yth Phantom. No, you’re confused. So confused.
“Homophobic” is an emotionally loaded term used to describe someone who doesn’t agree with you. It is
so obviously a propagandizied term to quell dissent.
The promiscuity and drug use produce the rage mentioned in this case.

Have you watched Springer? It doesn’t sound like it.
Watch a few episodes. It’s not “pretend.”

anonanonagain January 20, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Jerry Springer attracts those that have nothing else better to do with their lives and love drama and watching toxic people. Being a guest on such a show is a holiday for these “guests” as they get airfare, hotel accommodations and other expenses paid for if they are a participate in this freak show. That is incentive enough for people to make up **** about themselves and the sickness that they call their lives.
I am not saying that there aren’t dysfunctional people in this world, but to go around parlaying your problems on show after daytime show, well that speaks for itself…..

custer January 20, 2014 at 8:29 PM

@anonanonagain Just keep telling yourself
that, if it makes you feel better.

JET January 21, 2014 at 7:32 AM

@custer #46:

All I have to say is that I am SO glad I wasn’t born into your family.
Now you can return to watching ‘Duck Dynasty’.

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