Body Identified as Dennehy

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Medical examiners on Sunday identified a body found in chest-high weeds near Waco as that of Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy, who had been missing about six weeks.

McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch announced the identification late Sunday night. He wouldn't provide any other details, but said he had notified Dennehy's family.

The site where the body was found is north of gravel pits where authorities searched last week after the arrest of Carlton Dotson, who played basketball at Baylor last season and had been living with Dennehy since spring.

Investigators had continued to comb through the high weeds Sunday, collecting evidence in a field where they found Dennehy's decomposed body Friday night in a rural area about five miles south of Waco.

"With that evidence collected today, they were able to make a positive identification," Lynch said, refusing to specify what evidence was found.

McLennan County Justice of the Peace Belinda Summers told The Associated Press that searchers found a head Sunday morning in the same field where the body was discovered.

Dotson, 21, was arrested last week in his home state of Maryland on a murder charge from Texas in Dennehy's death. He remains jailed without bond awaiting extradition to Texas.

Dotson was arrested July 21 after calling 911, saying he needed help because he was hearing voices, authorities said. Dotson told FBI agents in Maryland that he shot Dennehy after the player tried to shoot him, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. But after his arrest, Dotson told The Associated Press that he "didn't confess to anything."

Baylor President Robert Sloan notified faculty, staff, students and alumni about the identification Sunday night, saying in an e-mail that "today our worst fears were realized." He asked Baylor employees to pray for Dennehy's family and for Dotson.

"Baylor has endured the heart-wrenching loss of students before, but never in such a startling and perplexing manner," Sloan wrote. "... We grieve the loss of Patrick and the impact of that loss on the Baylor community."

Lynch has declined to say exactly where the body was found or if a weapon had been recovered.

Dennehy's family has decided not to return to Waco, the player's girlfriend Jessica De La Rosa said Sunday afternoon, hours before the identification was announced. Dennehy's mother and stepfather, Valorie and Brian Brabazon, and their teenage daughter had been in Albuquerque since dropping off De La Rosa at her home early Saturday morning but left for their home Sunday, she said.

"Technically, there's nothing we can do out there," De La Rosa said Sunday afternoon. She was sobbing and said she could not comment Sunday night after learning that the body was Dennehy's.

The Brabazons traveled to Waco from their Carson City, Nev., home for the first time last week to retrieve the 6-10 center's belongings. The family and the player's girlfriend left Waco Friday after a three-hour meeting with police, and said they believed Dennehy could still be alive.

On Sunday, an investigator in a cowboy hat was placing small yellow flags around the site indicating pieces of evidence. At times, as he moved around, the grasses obscured all but the top of his hat. Throughout the day authorities in crime scene vans and other vehicles traveled the dirt road back and forth to the site.

Dotson and Dennehy arrived last summer in Waco, about 100 miles south of Fort Worth, on basketball scholarships. Baylor is the world's largest Baptist university with 14,000 students.

Dotson was a transfer from Paris Junior College in East Texas and eligible to play. Dennehy, because of NCAA eligibility rules, had to sit out a year after transferring from New Mexico, where he was kicked off the team for losing his temper.

Dennehy's family reported him missing June 19, about seven days after he was last seen on campus. Dennehy's vehicle was found abandoned in a Virginia Beach, Va., parking lot June 25.

An unnamed informant told Delaware police that Dotson told someone that he shot Dennehy in the head as the two argued while shooting guns in the Waco area, according to court documents filed in the case June 23.

Richard Guinn, whose son R.T. Guinn plays basketball at Baylor, said Sunday night that he and his son were saddened by the news.

"It's devastating," Richard Guinn said. "It's sad on our part and everybody else's, for Waco and Baylor, and yet it's closure that now we know we found him. I wish he'd been found alive."


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