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Daughters say Barrier left sign

The grieving daughters of James "Buffalo Jim" Barrier are convinced they received a sign their father didn't die of natural causes.

Jennifer, Jessica, Elise and Jerica gathered Saturday night in a $2,400-a-night suite at The Skylofts at MGM Grand after their father's funeral for a 16th birthday party he had arranged for Jerica, aka "Little Buff."

Barrier, 55, was found dead Sunday, April 6, in a Motel 6 on Boulder Highway.

When one of the daughters opened the motorized window shades with a push of a button, the room fell silent.

"We looked out and there was a Motel 6 sign," said Jennifer Barrier, 24.

The family took it as "a sign that it wasn't his time," said Jerica," a sophomore at Trinity Christian High School.

Family and friends are convinced the mysterious death was a mob hit.

Barrier, the owner of the Auto and Marine Electric repair shop, had been receiving death threats for some time, and someone broke into his business over Easter weekend. Nothing was taken, Barrier told reporters, but a tax document with his home address on it was left in plain sight.

His daughters, joined by their mother, Roxanne, and a few of Jerica's friends, spent the night watching TV coverage of the funeral and "trying to make each other smile," said Jennifer.

Their father had thought of everything to make it a special night: "We had a butler who brought us watermelon juice," said Jennifer. "There was an espresso machine."

It's inconceivable, they say, that he would go to such lengths for a special birthday party and then take his own life.

"And he never left us without instructions," said "Little Buff."

MORE TESTS FOR BRAXTON

Flamingo headliner Toni Braxton has canceled her shows this week to undergo further medical tests after a heart scare.

She was hospitalized overnight last Monday after suffering heart palpitations.

A previously scheduled two-week break was to begin at the end of this week, which means she won't return until May.

'BUFFALO' TALES

During his eulogy honoring "Buffalo Jim" on Saturday, Barrier's attorney Robert Lueck revealed how his client got his colorful nickname.

Barrier was leaving the Showboat Hotel and Casino on Boulder Highway in the mid-1970s when "a big Texan wearing a 10-gallon hat was strolling in. He was also rather drunk," Lueck told mourners at Palm Mortuary in downtown Las Vegas.

The tipsy Texan stopped and stared at the hulking mechanic whose long hair draped over his shoulders.

In a loud, booming voice, the Texan said that many years earlier he had gotten drunk and had sexual relations with a buffalo.

He told Barrier, "I think you might be my son." And the name stuck, said Lueck.

Barrier's daughter Jennifer told the funeral attendees her dad insisted on being her campaign manager whenever she ran for office in junior high and at Las Vegas High School.

He came up with a placard featuring a photo of himself and the campaign motto: "Don't be buffalo'd with your vote. Vote for the best ... Jennifer 'Buffalo' Barrier."

"And every year I won."

THE SCENE AND HEARD

KSFN-AM, 1140 switches from a talk-show format beginning today to sports talk, with former ESPN anchor and radio host Dan Patrick on the air from 9 a.m. to noon.

THE PUNCH LINE

"John McCain was on 'The View.' He got along well with Barbara Walters. They were reminiscing about the Civil War." -- Craig Ferguson

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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