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Police search Conn. pond for evidence in Aaron Hernandez case

BRISTOL, Conn. - State Police divers today are carefully scouring the shoreline and the bottom of Pine Lake here for evidence that may connect former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez to the June 17 murder of Odin L. Lloyd, who was shot to death with a .45 caliber weapon.

Divers have been on the shores, and in the waters of one corner of the 54.6 acre lake for most of today, but have not shown any sign that their search has been successful.

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This afternoon, a diver is performing a line search, which requires them to follow a rope line some 40 feet into the lake, then swim back before a land-based trooper moves an anchor a short distance further along the shore. The process begins again as they move along the shoreline.

According to a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation, the search is part of the continuing investigation into the murder of Lloyd, whom Bristol County prosecutors have alleged was murdered in a North Attleborough industrial park in a shooting orchestrated by Hernandez.

Hernandez is a Bristol native and still has relatives living there, including his mother and an uncle whose home is on Lake Avenue, not far from the pond. Last month, authorities searched the uncle’s house and impounded an SUV found in the garage that Boston police suspect may have been used in a 2012 double homicide in Boston.

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Hernandez has not been charged in the Boston killings. Boston police are trying to determine if the SUV tracked down in Bristol, Conn., is the vehicle that investigators believe fled the scene of a South End double killing that left Safiro Furtado and Daniel Abreu dead. They were shot to death on July 16, 2012.

The two men implicated with Hernandez in the Lloyd killing, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, also have ties to Bristol. Wallace and Ortiz have not been charged with murdering Lloyd. All three men have pleaded not guilty to all charges and are being held without bail.

Jessica Rinaldi For The Boston Globe

Police tape in front of Pine Lake.

Hernandez is seen on home surveillance video with a pistol in his hand about 15 minutes after Lloyd’s killing. But the gun Hernandez is seen holding in the surveillance videos has not been found and police have searched a number of areas between Boston and North Attleborough recently without success, authorities said.

Prosecutors believe a .45-caliber pistol was used in the slaying. Law enforcement officials say that weapon has not been found.

A spokesman for Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter today declined comment on the Bristol, Conn., search.

“There is an active and ongoing investigation,’’ said Gregg Miliote. “Our office is not going to comment on an active and ongoing investigation.’’

Brian Ballou can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @globeballou.John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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