BRISTOL, Conn. — For the second straight day, investigators came up empty after spending about seven hours scouring the waters of a murky lake in Bristol for evidence that potentially could connect former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez to the murder of a Dorchester man.
Two members of the Connecticut State Police dive team methodically combed the algae-ridden waters of Pine Lake about 8 feet from the banks on Tuesday morning, using what appeared to be metal detectors. As the divers made their way along the lake’s edge, they tossed handfuls of mud and stones onto the shore.
Later, divers in full scuba gear took turns searching underwater, guided by a rope secured on the bank of the lake. The divers worked their way underwater to a buoy about 50 feet from shore, turned around, and returned. A trooper on land helped mark the area already searched.
Shortly after 4 p.m. the divers exited the water, with no apparent discovery of evidence. At least two Massachusetts State Police troopers assisted in the search.
Divers will return to the lake Wednesday morning to continue the search, officials said at the scene Tuesday. A similar search on Monday also produced no results.
Though police declined to say precisely what the divers are looking for, law enforcement officials at the scene Monday said the search grew out of a week-old tip that evidence in the June 17 murder of Odin L. Lloyd, who Hernandez is charged with killing, could be found at the lake.
A spokesman for the Bristol County district attorney in Massachusetts declined to comment on the search.
“This remains an active and ongoing investigation and because of that I can’t comment on anything specific that we may be doing as part of the investigation,” said Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter.
Hernandez is a Bristol, Conn., native and still has relatives living in the community, including his mother and an uncle whose home is on Lake Avenue, not far from the lake that was being searched. Last month, authorities searched the uncle’s house and impounded a sport utility vehicle found in the garage that Boston police suspect may have been used in a 2012 double homicide.
As divers searched the lake, which sits just feet from a busy road, drivers slowed to catch a glimpse of the police activity. Local residents stood at the edge of the water, hoping to see investigators make a discovery.
“We’re really into forensics and all those TV shows,” said Emanuela Faiazza, 28, of Plainville. “We’re just really curious; we want to see it if they find anything.”
Other locals gathered because they feel a connection to the case and the hometown football star accused of murder.
“I was so surprised. Aaron Hernandez had the world at his feet, he had anything he could want and he threw it away,” said 59-year-old Kirk Marshall, of Bristol, who said he grew up with Hernandez’s father and uncle. “That isn’t how his father raised him.”
Hernandez is accused of orchestrating the murder of Lloyd, a 27-year-old Dorchester man who was shot to death in a North Attleborough industrial park. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder and is being held without bail.
The .45-caliber pistol authorities believe was used to kill Lloyd has not yet been found, authorities said.
The 55-acre lake was dredged about five years ago. It’s deepest point is 16 feet, according to residents.
Two other men arrested in connection with the case, Carlos Ortiz, 27, and Ernest Wallace, 41, both lived in Bristol. The men are being held in Massachusetts, Ortiz on a firearms possession charge and Wallace on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder.
Hernandez and Ortiz are being held without bail. Bail for Wallace was set last week at $500,000.Colin A. Young can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ColinAYoung.