Updated on Saturday at 2:45 p.m.
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been questioned by Massachusetts State Police as part of a homicide investigation.
Though Hernandez is “not believed to be a murder suspect,” according to Sports Illustrated‘s sources, ABC News reports that “investigators are seeking a warrant to search Hernandez’s home in connection with the death.”
Hernandez resides in at a $1.3 million, 5,600-square foot house in North Attleboro, MA. The body of a 27-year-old male, described by ABC News as an “associate” of Hernandez, was found less than a mile from his home on Monday at 5:30 p.m.
Additionally, a 2013 Chevrolet Suburban rented in Hernandez’s name “has emerged as a key piece of evidence in the investigation,” according to SI.
ABC News, citing two sources, reports that Hernandez had not been cooperating with police; however, SI, citing “a source close to Hernandez,” notes that he has at least spoken with authorities seeking information about the murder.
Hernandez has been a limited participant in Patriots offseason activities as he is recovering from shoulder surgery. New England’s fourth-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, he missed six regular-season games in 2012 and finished the year with 51 receptions for 483 yards and five touchdowns.
Neither Hernandez nor his lawyers have released an official statement.
Update – 9 p.m.: Police obtained a warrant and searched Hernandez’s home Tuesday evening, spending multiple hours inside his residence. According to reporters on the scene, two men attempted to leave the residence at the start of the search. Both were approached by police and checked out individually.
Update – Wednesday at 12 p.m.: According to the Associated Press, two state troopers returned to Hernandez’s home, knocked on his door and left when no one answered. Hernandez and an unnamed woman had left the house earlier in a car. Karen Anderson of WBZ-TV out of Boston, MA, further reports that Hernandez “has not been ruled out as a suspect” in the investigation. The family of victim Odin Lloyd, who is believed to have been killed via a gunshot wound to the head, also told WBZ-TV that Loyd dated the sister of Hernandez’s current girlfriend. The Boston Globe, citing a police source, reports that Lloyd’s death may be drug-related.
Update – Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.: WBZ-TV reports that a gun found on the scene near Lloyd’s body is not believed to be the murder weapon as the bullets it fires are of a different caliber than the one found in Lloyd’s head.
Update – Wednesday at 10:45 p.m.: Ted Daniel of FOX 25 News in Boston reports, citing law enforcement sources, that Hernandez “appears to be directly tied to the homicide.” According to the station, “Hernandez, Lloyd and two other men were at a bar in Boston the night of the homicide, and at some point, the four men left together in a car driven by Hernandez which was confirmed by a text Lloyd sent another friend.” When the vehicle returned to Hernandez’s property, only three men exited; Lloyd was not one of them. As noted in OGGOA‘s first update to this story, two men attempted to leave Hernandez’s house when police first arrived but were stopped and searched.
Furthermore, evidence at an unspecified “crime scene” places the vehicle “driven by” Hernandez at that location. FOX 25 News confirms the Globe’s earlier report that Lloyd’s death is believed to be drug-related, with that drug specifically being marijuana.
Update – Thursday at 12:30 p.m.: Steve Silva of Boston.com reported via Twitter that he has heard, via a law enforcement source, that Hernandez will be arrested in connection with the case. SI reported the same two hours later, noting that “Hernandez’s involvement in the case is significant enough that a source with knowledge of the investigation said that Hernandez’s arrest is likely.”
Update – Thursday at 12:45 p.m.: The Globe’s Wesley Lowery reported that no arrest is imminent in the murder investigation with a state police source saying reports stating otherwise are “absolutely untrue” (at this time).
Update – Thursday at 2 p.m.: ABC News reports that police have returned to Hernandez’s home with a second search warrant “based on evidence that ‘he destroyed his home security system’” and cell phone. Investigators are also searching three rental cars registered to Hernandez, one that was “abruptly returned” Tuesday with a broken mirror, another “recovered not far from Lloyd’s body” and a third that was in Hernandez’s driveway on Tuesday when two associates tried to leave (see above).
The investigator, and other law enforcement sources, confirmed that the security system – which included video surveillance – was smashed intentionally.
And a cell phone used by Hernandez was handed over to investigators “in pieces” by his attorneys, the sources said.
Police also want to know why a team of house cleaners were hired on Monday to scrub Hernandez’s mansion, sources told ABC News.
Update – Thursday at 6:20 p.m.: FOX 25 News reporter Bob Ward, citing sources, reports that state police have video surveillance of Hernandez “returning home shortly after neighbors heard gunshots” early Monday morning.
Update – Friday at 11:20 a.m.: Conflicting reports surfaced Friday morning with multiple media outlets reporting that Hernandez has a warrant out for his arrest on obstruction of justice charges. However, the Globe countered those reports by noting that no warrant had been issued. Now it is believed that a warrant is currently being processed so cops can execute it later today.
Update – Friday at 8 p.m.: FOX 25 News clarified the warrant situation. Citing a source, the station reports that a “paper” warrant was issued for Hernandez on obstruction of justice charges Friday morning. However, the warrant was not entered into the system or “executed” because, if it was, any police officer would be able to go and arrest Hernandez. Instead, the police are likely using the paper warrant in an effort to get him to cooperate with their investigation. “It may be that this is a squeeze tactic,” said the station’s legal analyst Brad Bailey. “It may be telling Mr. Hernandez that we have a warrant, a warrant for a crime that has a potential maximum penalty of seven years in prison, is a tactic to get him to come to the table, start talking and start cooperating. And that’s where the lawyers may be saying, okay, we got it. You got our attention. We’re willing to respond.”
Lawyers are telling me arrest warrants are rarely needed or filed, especially when you know where the person is.
— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) June 22, 2013
Update – Saturday at 2:45 p.m.: According to New York Daily News reporter Kevin Armstrong, police returned to Hernandez’s house Saturday afternoon with papers. The Globe estimates that approximately 20 offers and two K9s are on the scene. The police are reportedly searching every inch of the Hernandez home including a doghouse on the premises. The Globe also reports that “any major development in the case – including a warrant, arrest or charges – would be publicly announced” by police or the district attorney’s office. Multiple bags of evidence were removed from the house.
Photo Credit: Elise Amendola/Associated Press