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Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2003

Dennehy drama continues in Waco

Family removes player’s belongings from apartment; coaches face payment questions

July 24, 2003

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— The family of missing Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy removed his belongings from his apartment Wednesday after more than a month of waiting and hoping he was alive. Authorities said they would continue searching for his body.

Dennehy's stepfather, Brian Brabazon, said police have told family members that Carlton Dotson, a former teammate who has been charged with killing Dennehy, provided investigators with three sites to search for his body.

Gravel pits and a river bank were searched Tuesday. A search Wednesday morning was delayed by rain.

Brabazon said the family planned to talk with police and tour the Baylor campus while in Waco.

"We appreciate your concern, but today we'd like to do what we have to do as a family," he told news reporters.

Also Wednesday, Baylor's athletic department faced questions about whether coaches made improper payments to Dennehy.

While lamenting the timing of the allegations, athletic director Tom Stanton said the university "has begun a vigorous internal inquiry independent of the athletic department to determine the facts in this situation."

"The investigation will be thorough," Stanton said. "We take these issues very seriously. We are hopeful questions about Patrick's first year at Baylor can be resolved quickly."

Among the allegations is that Dennehy emerged from basketball offices last November with between $1,200 and $1,800 that he told his girlfriend, Jessica De La Rosa, came from a coach and was to go toward the purchase of a car.

The 6-foot-10 center's father, Patrick Dennehy Sr., said in published reports that De La Rosa, a track athlete at the University of New Mexico, reported what she saw to officials at New Mexico and they reported it to the NCAA.

The NCAA prohibits extra benefits to athletes. It's the organization's policy not to confirm or deny whether a school is under investigation.

De La Rosa, who was in Waco Wednesday with Dennehy's mother and stepfather, confirmed she spoke to New Mexico officials, but declined to comment on what she said.

Dennehy Sr. also said a member of Baylor's basketball staff paid a car service to drive De La Rosa from Waco to a Dallas airport last fall. That allegation was investigated by New Mexico and the NCAA, and De La Rosa was declared ineligible to run track next season. She would likely be reinstated if she repaid the cost of the trip, said Janice Ruggiero, a New Mexico athletic official.

Dennehy's father, who lives in Tacoma, Wash., had been estranged from his son until the last few years. He said he was just now speaking up about the alleged financial favors because he was frustrated with Baylor for not keeping him informed about the investigation.

Dotson, 21, was charged Monday night with murder after he told FBI agents in Maryland that he shot his teammate in the head after Dennehy tried to shoot him, according to the arrest warrant.

Dotson told the AP after his arrest that he "didn't confess to anything."

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