(AP) New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was taken from his home in handcuffs Wednesday morning, more than a week after a Boston semi-pro football player was found dead in an industrial park a mile from the player's house.
Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits, was found slain June 17. His relatives said he was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee, that the two men were friends and that both men were out together on the last night of Lloyd's life.
Officials ruled the death a homicide but did not say how Lloyd died.
Fired From Team
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots have announced the release of tight end Aaron Hernandez with this statement :
“A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
It's unclear why Hernandez was being taken into custody Wednesday around 9 a.m. and put into the back of a police cruiser. He was wearing a white V-neck T-shirt, with his arms inside the shirt and behind his back. He casually spit into some bushes on his way to the car.
The Associated Press emailed a message to his attorney, Michael Fee, who hasn't discussed the investigation beyond acknowledging media reports about it. A message also was left with the Bristol County district attorney's office.
State police have searched in and around Hernandez's home in North Attleborough several times. At least three search warrants have been issued in connection with the investigation.
Reporters have been camped out for days at Hernandez's sprawling home on the Rhode Island line, not far from the stadium where the Patriots play. They reported Tuesday that Hernandez got a visit from Boston defense attorney James Sultan.
The Patriots drafted Hernandez, who is originally from Bristol, Conn., out of the University of Florida in 2010. Last summer, the team gave him a five-year contract worth $40 million.
Timeline of the Case
A chronology of events in the investigation of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez in connection with a friend's death:
<< In this Jan. 1, 2012 file photo, New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (81) tries to break free of Buffalo Bills linebacker Chris Kelsay (90)
- June 17: The body of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd is found in an industrial park a mile from Hernandez's home.
- June 18: Police spend hours searching Hernandez's home as another group of officers search the industrial park.
- June 19: The Bristol County district attorney's office says the state medical examiner ruled Lloyd's death a homicide. A man files a lawsuit claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club in Miami in February.
- June 20: A news helicopter follows along as Hernandez drives from his home to the Patriots stadium. State police search brush with metal detectors and poles on a road leading to the entrance to Hernandez's subdivision.
- June 21: CytoSport, which makes Muscle Milk and other supplements for athletes, says it's ending Hernandez's endorsement contract, effective immediately, because of the investigation. The Hernandez investigation leads officers to a Providence strip club, but police wouldn't say what they were doing there. Family members say Hernandez and Lloyd were together the night Lloyd died.
- June 22: State police with dogs return to Hernandez's home to conduct an additional search.
- June 23: Officers don wetsuits to search woods near Hernandez's home.
- June 24: Hernandez is taken from his home in handcuffs and driven away in a police cruiser.