ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) — Police have charged Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez with murder and weapons counts in connection with the slaying of a semi-pro football player whose body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's home. He is being held without bail.
Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player for the Boston Bandits, was found slain June 17. Officials ruled the death a homicide but did not say how Lloyd died.
Lloyd's 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.
The Patriots released Hernandez on Wednesday morning, a short time after he was taken into police custody.
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, and seveal reports have indicated that Hernandez or someone else at the house had removed the homes’ security system, destroyed his cell phone before turning it over to police, and paid a professional crew to carrying out a thorough cleaning in the days right after Lloyd’s death. Video cameras from multiple sites had shown Hernandez, Lloyd and two other still unidentified men together hours before Lloyd’s apparent slaying.
Reporters have been camped out for days at Hernandez’s sprawling home near the Rhode Island line, just some 10 miles from Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play and train. Reports Tuesday indicated that Hernandez got a visit from Boston defense attorney James Sultan.
Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, declined to comment at her Boston home Wednesday morning.
"Nothing to say, please. Thank you," she said, before shutting the door.
The Patriots released this statement Wednesday after releasing Hernandez.
"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."
State police have searched in and around Hernandez's sprawling home in North Attleborough several times. At least three search warrants have been issued in connection with the investigation.
Reporters have been camped for days outside the 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.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James has said the team did not anticipate commenting publicly during the police investigation.
Associated Press writers Bridget Murphy in Boston and Howard Ulman contributed to this story.