By BRIDGET MURPHY, Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) _ Family members of the man found slain a mile from New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s house said Friday they are looking for answers about what happened the night he died.
Police have searched in and around Hernandez’s sprawling home in North Attleborough, not far from where the Patriots practice. The Bristol County District Attorney has not released any information, other than saying the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd is being treated as a homicide.
A jogger found Lloyd’s body in an industrial park Monday. Family members said Friday that Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez’s girlfriend and the two men were friends who were together at some point the night that Lloyd died.
Family members have said Lloyd, a semi-pro football player, was never in trouble and that many things are puzzling about the case. But they also said Friday that they can see progress in the investigation.
“I want the person that killed my son to be brought to justice,” said Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward. “That’s my first-born child, my only boy child, and they took him away from me. … I wouldn’t trade him for all the money in the world. And if money could bring him back I would give this house up to bring my son back. Nothing can bring my son back.”
Hernandez attorney Michael Fee has acknowledged media reports about the state police search of his client’s home but says he wouldn’t have any comment on it.
Mark E. Sturdy, clerk magistrate of Attleboro District Court, said three search warrants were issued in the investigation earlier in the week, but they have not yet been returned, meaning they’re not public. He said no arrest warrants had been filed in state courts as of Friday morning.
Lindsay Lague, a spokeswoman for the police department in Providence, R.I., said officers had assisted Massachusetts police with the Hernandez investigation at a Providence strip club, but she could not say what they were doing there. A woman who answered the phone Friday afternoon at the business, Club Desire, said no one was available to answer questions.
Media have been camped out for several days at Hernandez’s home, near the Rhode Island state line. A news helicopter followed along Thursday as Hernandez drove in a white SUV from his home to the Patriots’ stadium, then got out and went inside.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team had no comment on why Hernandez was there. He said earlier that the team did not anticipate commenting publicly during the police investigation. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is waiting for the legal process to take its course.
Hernandez has already lost an endorsement deal. CytoSport, the Benicia, Calif.-based company that makes Muscle Milk and other supplements for athletes, said in a statement Friday that it was ending Hernandez’s endorsement contract, effective immediately, because of the investigation.
The Patriots drafted Hernandez out of Florida in 2010. Since then, he has combined with Rob Gronkowski to form one of the top tight end duos in the NFL. He missed 10 games last season with an ankle injury and had shoulder surgery in April but is expected to be ready for training camp. Last summer, the Patriots gave him a five-year contract worth $40 million.
Hernandez said after he was drafted that he had failed a drug test while with the Gators and had been upfront with NFL teams about the issue.
Earlier this week, a 30-year-old man filed a lawsuit in South Florida claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club.
Alexander Bradley’s lawsuit accuses Hernandez of negligence, among other things, suggesting that the shooting may have been accidental. Bradley said he lost his right eye and suffers many other lingering effects from the shooting.
Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday that investigators would need to speak directly with Bradley in order to move forward with a criminal investigation and cannot rely on the claims he made in his lawsuit. She said Bradley repeatedly refused to cooperate in the criminal probe after he was shot in February, telling detectives he didn’t know who shot him.
“If he contacts us, we would move forward with the investigation,” Barbera said. “He needs to reach out to us and he has not done so.”
Hernandez’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
Associated Press writers Curt Anderson in Miami and Michelle R. Smith in Attleboro, Mass., contributed to this report.
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