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Body found near Ohio State identified as missing football player

This photo taken on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013  shows college football player Kosta Karageorge in Columbus, Ohio.

AP/Ohio State University, Jay LaPrete

Last Updated Nov 30, 2014 6:42 PM EST

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A body found near the campus of Ohio State University was confirmed to be that of football player Kosta Karageorge, police said at a press conference Sunday.

Karageorge's body was found inside a dumpster Sunday afternoon and he apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. A handgun was also found, police said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner said police received a call around 2:30 p.m. from someone reporting a body found in the trash bin. Weiner said a woman and her son apparently were looking for items in the dumpster when they found the body.

"At this time we are able to confirm through tattoos here at the scene that it is the body of Kosta Karageorge," Weiner said.

It was not immediately clear if Karageorge may have shot himself before climbing into the dumpster, police said.

Police found the body near the campus after a search began when Karageorge went missing Wednesday. The senior defensive tackle had last been seen at his apartment in Columbus, when his roommates said he left to go on a walk.

The body was found within a couple hundred yards of Karageorge's home and about a half block from High Street, the main artery of the campus. Sunday evening, no one answered when an Associated Press reporter knocked on the metal door of Karageorge's apartment.

The player from Columbus was last seen at his apartment at around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Team spokesman Jerry Emig said Karageorge missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, which his family says was uncharacteristic.

A police report says Karageorge's mother told authorities he has had concussions and spells of confusion. She said he texted a message Wednesday citing the concussions and saying he was sorry if he was "an embarrassment."

The Buckeyes defeated Michigan on Saturday, 42-28. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett said afterward that Karageorge had missed practices and that teammates started getting nervous Thursday.

"For him to drop off the radar is very unlike him," said Jeremiah Webber, who coached Karageorge in wrestling for three years.

University athletic officials said they were grieved to learn of Karageorge's death.

"It's hit the team hard," team spokesman Emig said.

Ohio State tweeted a message expressing the university's sadness over Karageorge's death Sunday evening.

Karageorge's parents filed a missing-person's report Wednesday night.

The player's sister, Sophia Karageorge, told The Columbus Dispatch that he apparently was upset, and roommates said he went for a walk, dressed in black from his hat to his boots.

"We're very concerned that he's not himself and that he maybe doesn't know what's going on," she told the newspaper.

The former Buckeyes wrestler joined the football team as a walk-on this season.

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said in a text message when asked about any plans to honor the player or logistics for the team to attend the funeral that it was too soon to answer those questions.

The Buckeyes will play Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.