Bermuda police announced Monday that they had discovered the body of Mark Dombroski, a Saint Joseph’s University rugby player who had been reported missing there the day before. Authorities said they were still trying to determine the cause of death, with an autopsy “to be carried out in due course,” and an investigation continuing.
The 19-year-old freshman traveled to Bermuda to participate in a rugby tournament with the squad from the Philadelphia school. After playing in the final game on Saturday, Dombroski was last seen by teammates at a bar shortly after midnight, and closed-circuit TV footage caught him walking away by himself.
Acting assistant commissioner James Howard said that Dombroski’s body was found at the base of a colonial-era fort located near the police station in Bermuda’s Devonshire parish. Howard said his office was continuing to “appeal to witnesses and anyone with information on the last known whereabouts” of Dombroski.
“Bermuda Police Service extends our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” Howard said. Members of Dombroski’s family had rushed to the British island territory to join authorities and local volunteers in searching for him, and his mother was at the police news conference Monday.
“We dearly love our son, we cherish our son. … We want him back,” Lisa Dombroski told reporters (via the AP). “We thank the citizens of Bermuda. People have been with us shoulder to shoulder throughout this ordeal.”
Howard did not rule out foul play, while another police official said there was no evidence that alcohol played a role in Dombroski’s disappearance. His mother said that, on the closed-circuit footage, he appeared to be nursing a shoulder injury he incurred in a rugby match, and she did not think he was in a “celebratory kind of mood,” but instead just “wanted to get back.”
Dombroski was set to return to Philadelphia Sunday with his team, but instead police were alerted that morning to his disappearance. Saint Joseph’s said in a statement that its community was “heartbroken” at the news of the business major’s death.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Dombroski family along with Mark’s teammates, classmates and friends,” the university said, adding that it was informing students “in need of counseling or ministry” of available services.
“It’s a tough time,” Saint Joseph’s student Daniel Crossland told NBC 10 Philadelphia. A parent whose son played rugby with Dombroski described him as an “all-American kid” and “a star.”
“I was shocked and devastated, and I couldn’t believe that something so close to us like this would be happening, because we live in a small bubble,” a friend of Dombroski’s, Jessica Warrington, said at a church service in Media, Pa., where he grew up and served as a grade school altar boy (via WTXF).
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