CNHI News Service
BOSTON — The plot thickened Thursday concerning the involvement of New England Patriots receiver Aaron Hernandez in the shooting death of an associate whose body was found a mile from Hernandez' suburban home four days ago.
Authorities returned to Hernandez' sprawling, three-story home southwest of Boston after reports surfaced that his home security system, including video surveillance, had been destroyed and that house cleaners had been there Monday before police were aware of the friend's death.
It was also reported that Hernandez, 23, turned over to investigators the demolished pieces of a cell phone.
The body of Odin Lloyd, 27, Boston, was discovered late Monday afternoon by a jogger in an industrial park near the Hernandez home. A vehicle rented in the name of Hernandez was located nearby.
Lloyd was last seen in a Boston nightclub with Hernandez and others over the weekend. Police believe he was killed with a bullet to the head between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. Monday.
Police said Lloyd, a linebacker with the semi-pro Boston Bandits football team, was an associate of Hernandez. Friends of Lloyd said he was known to hang out with the Patriots player from time to time.
Authorities have not identified Hernandez as a suspect in the Lloyd death, but they did confirm they were investigating the death as a homicide. Sports Illustrated's website (SI.com), quoting unnamed investigators, said Hernandez' involvement was significant and he likely would be charged in the case.
Hernandez was seen coming and going from his home Thursday, first to the Patriots headquarters at nearby Gillette Stadium, then into Boston. Media helicopters flew directly overhead as he drove from point to point. Scores of reporters were camped out across the street from his home.
Police questioned Hernandez earlier in the week, and searched his home on Wednesday. They also scoured the countryside with metal detectors between where Lloyd's body was found and the Hernandez home.
"He (Hernandez) has not been ruled out," ABC quoted a police official, "We are not calling him a suspect, but he is definitely not in the clear."
Three Enterprise rental cars registered to Hernandez were included in the investigation, including the one found within a block of Lloyd's body.
Police said a vehicle that had its silver mirror cover missing was dropped off at an Enterprise location sometime Tuesday and investigators were trying to locate the cover. The third rental, a black SUV, was parked at Hernandez' home.
Investigators were also looking into a personal-injury lawsuit filed a week ago, then withdrawn and refiled on Wednesday against Hernandez by Alexander Bradley, 30, of Connecticut.
The federal lawsuit claimed the all-pro tight end shot Bradley in the face, causing the loss of sight in his right eye, last February after they argued upon leaving a Miami strip club. It asked for at least $100,000 in damages.
Bradley's suit claimed he would "require extensive medical care and treatment for the rest of his life."
Hernandez is a native of Bristol, Conn. He was an All-American tight end for University of Florida before being drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the National Football League's 2010 draft. He signed a reported five-year, $40 million contract with New England a year ago.
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