Before he disappeared, a missing Baylor University basketball player was worried about threats made against the roommate accused in a court document of shooting him, a good friend of the missing student told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.
Patrick Dennehy, a 21-year-old center from Santa Clara, Calif., has been missing for almost three weeks, and although police in Waco, Texas, say it is still a missing person's case, they are handling the investigation as if it were a homicide.
In an exclusive television interview today on Good Morning America, Daniel Okopnyi said he last talked to his friend Dennehy on the phone on June 14. Okopnyi said Carlton Dotson, Dennehy's roommate and teammate, was with Dennehy at the time of the call.
The phone call occurred two days after the last time Dennehy was known to have been seen.
Dennehy said that he and Dotson would attend Okopnyi's birthday party on June 15, but they never showed, the friend said.
Okopnyi said that Dennehy sounded "extremely paranoid" and was worried about threats being made against Dotson, and about his car being broken into and things being stolen a few days earlier.
When he first mentioned the threats, Okopnyi said that Dennehy did not say specifically who he was afraid of, but later in the interview Okopnyi said the missing athlete expressed concerns about two players on the team, including one named "Harvey," a name also mentioned in the affidavit.
Waco police spokesman Steve Anderson said today he did not know if "Harvey" was a reference to Baylor recruit Harvey Thomas, and said he did not know if investigators had spoken to Thomas or considered him a "person of interest."
When Okopnyi asked Dennehy why he was staying in the area if he was afraid, he said the basketball player told him, "I've got Dotty's back."
In an affidavit for a search warrant made public on Monday, a police informant accused Dotson of shooting Dennehy.
Mirrors Previous Threats
Okopnyi's reference to threats mimics the statement Dennehy's girlfriend, Jessica Delarosa, made in the affidavit.
In the court document, police said Delarosa told them that Dennehy had received threats from a person named "Harvey" and that Dennehy may have e-mailed some friends about these threats. Police are looking at Dennehy's computer and e-mails for more clues about his whereabouts and communications before his disappearance.
Dennehy's apparent desire to protect Dotson seems to provide evidence of his friendship with Dotson. Okopnyi, however, said he was concerned that Dotson has not told police everything he knows.
"I don't have any evidence, but just the way he's been talking and how he claimed he was out of town when he wasn't," Okopnyi said. "I know he knows something and he's not giving it up."
Waco police, however, said that Dotson had spoken with investigators and no charges had been filed against him and no warrant had been issued for his arrest.
His lawyer, Grady Irvin Jr., told The Washington Post that he will "spend time with authorities to see if we can be of assistance."
Dennehy's stepfather said he does not know Dotson personally, but he had no reason to suspect him of any wrongdoing in his stepson's disappearance.
"I've talked to Carlton. Patrick has talked about Carlton to me, and as far as I know they are good friends," Brian Brabazon said today on Good Morning America. "When I've talked to Carlton, he seemed sincere and forthright with me and he seems like a good kid. I don't have anything bad to say about him."
Trading for Handguns?
The affidavit alleges Dotson shot Dennehy in the head with a 9-mm pistol when the two were shooting at a range in McClennan County, Texas. According to the affidavit, an informant in Delaware told police that Dotson had told a cousin that he had an argument with Dennehy and that Dennehy pointed the gun at him as if he were going to shoot. But Dotson shot Dennehy instead, according to the informant.
Okopnyi, who said he has known Dennehy for about five or six years, insisted the 6-foot-10, 230-pound center never carried a gun or other weapon and would never fire a gun.
"If he ever had to get into [an altercation], it would certainly be a schoolyard fistfight," Okopnyi told Good Morning America.
He said that Dennehy told him in their last conversation on June 14 that he and Dotson were trying to trade a shotgun that Dotson had for "two handguns for protection purposes."
According to a report in The Washington Post today, a farmer in Leroy, Texas, called police on Tuesday to say he had found shell casings from at least two different caliber pistols on his property. Police searched the area, Anderson said today, but declined to comment on whether anything was found there.
No Suspects Named
The FBI joined the investigation Friday after Dennehy's car was found abandoned, with its license plates missing, in a mall parking lot in Virginia Beach, Va. Authorities are conducting tests on the vehicle and are awaiting test results. Anderson said investigators do not know how the car wound up in Virginia.
Police believe Dennehy may have been killed in or near Waco, where the Baylor campus is located. Dennehy had transferred to the school after two years at the University of New Mexico. He was a junior majoring in speech communications.
Authorities have searched numerous areas around Waco, but have not found a body, Anderson said, though he refused to comment on whether any evidence had been found anywhere.
Investigators are still trying to determine who last saw Dennehy and where he was. They say they have been questioning the player's teammates and other people who knew him and plan on re-questioning some people during the investigation.
Still, Okopnyi said he was disappointed in the investigation. He told Good Morning America one detective "really didn't question me" during their interview. The investigator, Okopnyi said, asked him about the last two conversations he had with Dennehy and told him to call if he remembered anything else.
Okopnyi said he had more information and left a message for the detective, but his call had not been returned.