Lorenzen Wright vanishes during trip back to hometown: Part 3

A divorced Wright traveled back to Memphis, Tennessee, to visit his family. His friend Phil Dotson said he took Wright to his ex-wife’s home, and that he then disappeared and stopped answering calls.
9:11 | 09/19/20

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Transcript for Lorenzen Wright vanishes during trip back to hometown: Part 3
It's the summer of 2010. Lorenzen Wright is living in Atlanta with his buddy, Mike G. When Lorenzen and sherra were divorced, he ended up moving to Atlanta, so I went and moved on in with him. And you know, we just had good times. By this time, his NBA playing days are over. But what's not over, apparently, is his relationship with his ex. Even though sherra and Lorenzen were divorced, they had certainly a physical relationship. They still had an intimate relationship. But it was more than just sex. People who know them say they were still in love and were even thinking of starting over. Lorenzen did propose to sherra after they were divorced. The children saw him ask her to marry him and sherra had said yes. So on this one particular weekend that summer, Lorenzen is coming back to Memphis to visit. Sherra calls him and asks him to go to a dance recital for their daughter Loren. And it turns out his sister danotra is having a baby shower that weekend, too. So he's got a lot going on. I drove Lorenzen to the airport to fly out to Memphis. As I look back now, I think that something was going on because Lorenzen was -- he was always on edge that whole week, which I thought was unusual. Whenever Lorenzen came to Memphis, Phil would be the first person that he would call. Completely unexpected. Out of the blue. He calls me and says, hey, bud, I'm in town. Let's hang out. Just bought a new vehicle, and I wanted him to ride in it. And we rode all around the city. He took a picture on my phone of himself that evening. To look at that photo, you would never know that Lorenzen Wright's life was in serious danger. Just after 10:00 P.M. On this hot July evening, temperatures now dropping below 90 degrees. It doesn't look like we're going to have any relief in sight. This is Tim vanhorten and you're listening to wrec. Just a few hours later, a 911 call comes in to the nearby town of germantown, Tennessee. Germantown is just east of Memphis. It's one of the smaller municipalities right outside of Memphis. It's a very short call, and you hear a desperate voice on there. You hear a series of gunshots. Germantown 911. Where is your emergency? Hello? Hello? Hello? Y'all, I heard nothing but gunshots. There's no caller I.D., so the dispatcher doesn't know where the call is coming from specifically. They thought this call was a hangup. There was no follow-up. Operator picks up the phone. Germantown 911. Where is your emergency? And you hear gunshots. Hello? To me, that calls for immediate response. Like, you leave it alone. You leave it alone? For our report, "20/20" reached out to the germantown police department to ask why they didn't immediately follow up on that 911 call. They declined to speak with us, but at the time, a department review concluded that dispatchers properly followed procedures. It was an opportunity lost. Because on that call is the last time anybody would hear Lorenzen's voice. I probably called him four or five times that night, and I texted him about three or four times. And I just really figured that, you know, maybe he had fallen asleep. He was supposed to have been coming to the baby shower. I kept calling him all the day and he didn't answer the phone. I was getting married July 20th in the Virgin Islands, so he said he was going to come over and be my best man. I get a phone call from one of my other great friends saying, "Hey, man, Lorenzen in missing." His friends weren't really concerned in the beginning because that's -- that was just Lorenzen. It's like still living that NBA life. Those guys, they'd hop on a plane and go to Vegas. Not hearing from him, it wasn't -- it wasn't out of the norm. But when Lorenzen's mother found out that he wasn't even calling his daughter Loren back, that was too much for her. She filed a missing person's report. When I first got the news, I got a phone call. Did you hear that Lorenzen was missing? Initially I was not alarmed. I'm thinking, if he's missing, he doesn't want us to know where he is. It's on purpose. I became concerned when I saw the concern in her face and in her voice. When that missing person's report is made officially known, it becomes a major news story. Developing tonight, a former player for both the Memphis tigers and the grizzlies has disappeared, and now his family is worried about his safety. Talk just spread all over where is Lorenzen? What's going on? So the Memphis police department starts a missing person's investigation. When somebody goes missing, you have to look at their circumstances at the time. They look at their inner circle. Was anybody new? Did they owe anybody any money? What was Lorenzen's financial condition after basketball? It was not good. It was not good at all. And that really effected him greatly. Lorenzen Wright made as much as $55 million playing basketball, but because he and sherra were spending like crazy, there actually wasn't that much left. So to compensate, he always had some side businesses. I think he was doing the side businesses just to, you know, try to create other streams of income for when he did retire. He wanted to invest in something else, have other things going on, you know? His dad ran his sports cafe for him. He also had a car detailing Among those off the court business relationships, there would be one relationship that would come back to haunt Lorenzen Wright, a man named Bobby Cole. Bobby Cole was a high-level drug dealer. How would Lorenzen be connected to a drug dealer? Cole was not only a drug dealer, he was also a racecar driver, and Lorenzen, as it turned out, loved cars. At some point they meet, and Cole agrees to buy two of Lorenzen's cars. I remember him telling me, "Man, I sold the guy my cars." Now, what the guy was doing, I did not know. The feds had actually looked into this long before Lorenzen Wright disappeared to see if any of his transactions with Bobby Cole involved drugs or drug money. And the Dea, the drug enforcement administration, actually investigated that connection, interviewed Bobby Cole. They didn't find any connection. But those drug rumors would actually start swirling again, this time, when police interviewed his ex-wife sherra. She also told law enforcement that about six weeks earlier, she had gotten a visit from some unknown individuals that wanted to do Lorenzen some harm. Sherra Wright, in talking to investigators, claims that she saw Lorenzen leaving with a man she didn't know, carrying a box with drugs. Kind of painting this portrait of a guy who's troubled, who's lost all his money. He's trying to make money illegally. Is it possible that people who knew him and loved him might not have known about this other side that involved drugs? Well, it's possible, but he told me about everything that he was dealing with. And I believe that if he had been doing that, I believe he would have told me. This whole idea that he was involved in drugs -- what did you make of this? Y'all don't want me to say what I want to say. But the police are on the brink of a breakthrough. The investigation made a dramatic turn when Memphis police found out about that germantown 911 call. That revelation eventually leads investigators to that desolate road. The Callis cutoff. The shortcut from Lorenzen's house to his mom's. And there, they will make a chilling discovery.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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