WACO, Texas (BP)–A body recovered from a gravel pit southeast of Baylor University last week was confirmed to be that of missing basketball player Patrick Dennehy, authorities said in a news conference July 27.
“A positive identification has been made of the body,” McLennan County, Texas, Sheriff Larry Lynch told reporters outside the county courthouse, The Dallas Morning News reported July 28. “I’m sad to report it’s the body of Patrick Dennehy.”
Former Baylor University basketball player Carlton Dotson was arrested July 21 and charged with murder and intended death in the case. Dotson remains jailed without bail in Chestertown, Md., awaiting an Aug. 19 extradition hearing.
Baylor University President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said in a statement July 28 that the school’s worst fears were realized when Dennehy’s body was identified.
“Baylor has endured the heart-wrenching loss of students before, but never in such a startling and perplexing manner,” he said. “A tragedy of this sort could happen anywhere, but this one happened at Baylor. We grieve the loss of Patrick and the impact of that loss on his family and friends and on the Baylor community.”
Sloan commended the Baylor community for being one of faith and prayer and said the school will hold a memorial service for Dennehy in early September when all the students, faculty and staff return to campus for the fall semester. “This will be a time when the Baylor community can come together and remember Patrick, find comfort, and pray for healing,” Sloan said in the statement. “In the meantime, we seek strength from our Lord and unity in our community of faith to sustain us in this period of unspeakable grief.”
Dotson called police from a grocery store in Chestertown, about 55 miles from his hometown, July 20 and said he needed help, the Chestertown police chief said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Police took Dotson to a local hospital for an evaluation, and there he contacted the FBI regarding his involvement in the case.
The FBI interviewed Dotson, and as a result of the interview issued an arrest warrant, the Star-Telegram recounted. Sources say Dotson, 21, confessed to an FBI agent and told investigators where to find his former roommate’s body. USA Today, however, reported that Dotson’s lawyer had quoted Dotson as saying, “I didn’t confess.”
Dennehy, 21, a 6-foot-10-inch forward from Santa Clara, Calif., who had been dismissed from the University of New Mexico basketball team, was last seen June 12 in Waco and was reported missing June 19.
“I’m still crying,” Dennehy’s stepfather, Brian Brabazon, told the Star-Telegram. “I want to say that we want some prayers for Carlton. If he’s any type of human being, he must be hurting also.”
Dennehy and Dotson were considered best friends and had purchased guns to ward off threats from another teammate, the Star-Telegram reported. A June 23 search warrant affidavit said Dotson confessed to a cousin that he had shot Dennehy while the two were firing guns. Dotson had been named a “person of interest” in the case.
A native of Hurlock, Md., Dotson had led his high school basketball team to the state championship in 1999. After attending junior college in Paris, Texas, he transferred to Baylor, where he has one year of eligibility remaining, the Star-Telegram said. His scholarship was not renewed in the spring, and he is not on the team roster for the upcoming season.
USA Today reported July 22: “There are reports that Dennehy received a scholarship just weeks after a scholarship was stripped from Dotson. Baylor officials confirm that timetable but say Dennehy’s scholarship was not necessarily the one taken from Dotson.”
Baylor’s Athletics Department released the following statement July 25: “An investigation is under way at Baylor University into allegations of potential infractions of NCAA legislation in the men’s basketball program. The university has initiated contact with the NCAA staff regarding the university’s investigation, as is customary practice.
“The university has a compliance investigation committee, which is a standing committee composed of Law School faculty members Bill Underwood, Michael Rogers and David Guinn,” the statement continued. “Professor Rogers, who is Baylor’s faculty athletics representative, has activated the committee to investigate the allegations.”
The statement also said the university has also retained outside legal counsel.
Baylor University is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and is the largest Baptist university in the world.