Published reports are increasingly placing New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez at the center of a murder investigation where the body of Odin Lloyd, 27, was found a mile from his home Monday.
According to a source for Fox 25, the Fox News affiliate station in Boston, Hernandez not only knew the victim, a semi-professional football player, but spent time with him the night of the murder.
Family and officials were mum on the nature of their relationship Thursday, two days after police first visited the upscale division.
Media camped out at Hernandez's home, in North Attleboro, Mass., on the Rhode Island state line not far from the Patriots' stadium in Foxboro. A news helicopter followed along as Hernandez drove in a white SUV from his home to the stadium, then got out and went inside.
According to the Fox 25 source, 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 -- confirmed by a text Lloyd sent to another friend, according to the source.
It is unclear where the car went or what happened during the ride, but according to the source, only three men returned to Hernandez's home at the end of the night and Lloyd was not one of them.
The source also said forensic evidence placed a car driven by Hernandez at one of the crime scenes in this case.
ABC News is reporting police plan to go back to Hernandez's home Thursday afternoon based on evidence that "he destroyed his home security system."
Police also want to know why a team of house cleaners were hired on Monday to scrub Hernandez's mansion and are analyzing a cell phone used by Hernandez that was handed over to investigators "in pieces'' by his attorneys, according to ABC News.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team had no comment on the police investigation.
Sports Illustrated reported that the link between Hernandez and the case is a rented Chevrolet Suburban with Rhode Island plates that police had been searching for.
Lloyd's neighbor, Larry Connors, said a black Suburban with Rhode Island license plates was towed from Lloyd's house after his body was found. Lloyd had been driving it for a few days, but Connors had never seen it previously.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit surfaced Wednesday is accusing Hernandez of shooting a man in the face during an argument at a South Florida strip club back in February.
Alexander Bradley claimed he and Hernandez were with a group in February at Tootsie's club in Miami when the two got into an argument. Later, as they were driving to Palm Beach County, Bradley claimed Hernandez shot him with a handgun, causing him to lose his right eye.
Bradley did not mention Hernandez in a police report at the time.
Back in Massachusetts, Lloyd’s family said the deceased did have a connection to Hernandez but would give any details.
His mother, Ursula Ward, would not say how Lloyd knew Hernandez and did not say whether police told her how her son died.
"My son is a wonderful child," Ward said Wednesday as she cried outside the family home in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. "He's a family guy. He hasn't done anything to hurt anyone."
Bristol District Attorney Samuel Sutter's office said investigators were asking for the public's help to find a silver mirror cover believed to have broken off a car between Boston and North Attleborough.
An uncle also said Lloyd had a connection to Hernandez but wouldn't elaborate.
The Patriots drafted Hernandez out of Florida in 2010. Since then, he has combined with Rob Gronkowski to form one of the top tight end duos in the NFL. Hernandez missed 10 games last season with an ankle injury and had shoulder surgery in April but is expected to be ready for training camp.
Last summer, the Patriots gave him a five-year contract worth $40 million.