*The death of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has officially been ruled a suicide, the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office announced on Thursday.
Hernandez was found hanging by a bed sheet inside his cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass., early Wednesday morning and was pronounced dead the hospital about an hour later.
The Massachusetts chief medical examiner, Dr. Henry N. Nields, concluded the “manner of death was suicide and the cause asphyxia by hanging,” according to USA Today.
“There were no signs of a struggle, and investigators determined that Mr. Hernandez was alone at the time of the hanging,” the district attorney’s office said in the statement.
Investigators from the Massachusetts State Police found three handwritten notes next to a bible in Hernandez’s cell. The content of those notes were not immediately released. However, TMZ reported that Hernandez used a red marker to scrawl John 3:16 on his forehead.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” the New Testament’s King James version reads.
The Bible in Hernandez’s cell was open to the same verse, according to Boston’s Fox25.
Hernandez, 27, was locked in his cell in the general population area of the maximum-security prison at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday and investigators determined nobody entered the cell until correction officers forced their way in at 3:03 a.m. on Thursday. Hernandez had “impeded” easy entry into the cell, according to the statement.
Defense attorney Jose Baez, who defended Hernandez at his latest trial, hinted in a statement released on Wednesday that Hernandez’s death didn’t appear to be self-inflicted.
“There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible,” Baez said. “Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death.”
Baez announced earlier Thursday that Hernandez’s family had decided to donate his brain Boston University researchers studying the progressive brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office said now that the death investigation had concluded, the brain would be released to Boston University’s CTE Center.