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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Basketball Player Missing, Suspected Murdered

Aired June 30, 2003 - 19:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Our top story tonight, Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy has been missing now for three weeks. Not only missing from the Texas college campus, but also missing from his California hometown.
His truck was found in Virginia, but its license plates were gone. Police in Texas don't know what's happened but are treating Dennehy's disappearance as a murder investigation and even questioning some of his Baylor teammates.

CHIEF ALBERTO MELIS, WACO POLICE: The case is still currently classified as a missing persons case, but because of the information being received in regards to Mr. Dennehy's disappearance, this case is being investigated as if he were a victim of a homicide.

COOPER: That press conference took place just about two hours ago or so. Right now on the phone with some breaking news, Ed Lavandera.

Ed, what can you tell us?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.

What we've just learned is that authorities have filed an affidavit to gain access to one of Patrick Dennehy's computers in his apartment and to get the search warrant to be able to do that.

The affidavit filed shows that one of the investigators here in Waco had -- has contact with an informant in Delaware who says -- this is according to this informant if in Delaware -- that Dennehy was shot in the head by one of his teammates, Carlton Dotson, before January -- I'm sorry, before June 11.

The incident happened after an altercation where both men were in the Waco area, shooting guns. Exactly where isn't exactly clear at this point. But that the altercation had transpired and that Dennehy pointed the gun at Dotson and then Dotson pointed the gun at him, it was a 9 millimeter, and shot Dennehy in the head.

The affidavit also goes on to say that the guns were disposed of as Carlton Dotson was driving back toward the northeast. Carlton Dotson is from the Maryland area.

Authorities haven't commented publicly on any of this information. This is information that was filed in an affidavit here in Waco late this afternoon -- Anderson. COOPER: Ed, obviously, this is as we're talking about breaking news. This is the first we are hearing about this. Let's go just into a little bit more detail. Again, where did this alleged shooting take place according to this affidavit?

LAVANDERA: According to the affidavit, it took place in McLennan County, which is the county where Waco is located.

COOPER: And do authorities have any sense at this point or does this affidavit say anything about how his car got to Virginia?

LAVANDERA: That we don't know. And obviously, there's a lot of unanswered questions here, as well. We have been told by several neighbors of Dennehy that Carlton Dotson was one of the closest members of the team that was closest to Dennehy. But obviously, those are just roommates and neighbors in the complex where Dennehy lives talking.

But Dennehy (sic) was headed back to the northeast, back to his hometown in Maryland. And as far as we know, we tried to ask authorities if they knew where he was or where he might be, and we just haven't been able to ask those questions of authorities so far.

COOPER: And just repeat again if you will, Ed, the circumstances under which this information has become known.

LAVANDERA: This was information -- all of this information is coming through Waco investigators on -- from an informant, and who this person isn't exactly clear either at this point, but from an informant in the Delaware area that has said that -- that Carlton Dotson, a fellow Baylor teammate of Patrick Dennehy's, told him this information, that he shot Dennehy in the head after an altercation while they were out in the McLennan County area shooting guns.

COOPER: So this informant is claiming that this person, Carlton Dotson, said this to him?

LAVANDERA: Exactly. Exactly. And that's what authorities here needed to put in this affidavit so that they could gain access to Patrick Dennehy's computer in his apartment, because they had reason to believe there might be some e-mail traffic useful to this investigation and that's why they were looking in on that.

COOPER: Do you know at this point the whereabouts or the status of Carlton Dotson?

LAVANDERA: We haven't. We've placed several phone calls throughout the day to Carlton Dotson's home in Maryland and we haven't been able to get through at all. And there is no authorities here on the ground in Waco commenting.

The authorities that you showed the sound bite from just a short while ago had a press conference today and they did not answer any questions and said they have another press conference scheduled for 10 tomorrow morning. COOPER: Ed Lavandera on this breaking story. Obviously, Ed, it's something we're going to be following closely over the next hour or actually all evening long. Please get back in touch with us, Ed, when you have any more information. Thanks very much. We're going to have more on this in a moment.

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