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Waco Site Searched Anew For Player

Authorities searching for a missing Baylor basketball player returned to a 50-acre property northeast of campus Thursday with thermal imaging equipment.

"We just want to make sure we haven't missed anything," Waco police spokesman Steve Anderson said.

The owner of the property has said Patrick Dennehy and his roommate and former teammate Carlton Dotson had fired guns there in recent months.

Dennehy, 21, was last heard from almost three weeks ago. His sport utility vehicle was later found abandoned without its license plates in a Virginia Beach, Va., parking lot.

No charges have been filed; however authorities have described Dotson as a "person of interest." A search warrant affidavit made public Monday said an unnamed informant told investigators that Dotson told a cousin he shot Dennehy with a handgun while the two played with firearms near Waco.

The landowner, who spoke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on condition of anonymity, said Dotson visited the property more than 30 times between March 1 and June 1. Dotson and Dennehy got to know his family after answering an ad to buy a pit bull, and they returned to the property to fish, fire weapons and play with the family's sons.

"They were like family," the man said. "I wouldn't have let them be around my boys if I didn't feel that way."

The man said that he taught the two basketball players how to fish, and his wife described them as "well-behaved and well-mannered."

The last time the man said he saw Dotson and Dennehy at his property was in early June. His wife and children said they saw them in Waco on June 12.

Dotson's attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., said the suspicion swirling about his client and even the idea that Dennehy was shot are based "on an unnamed person who claims to be a confidential informant who is stating that someone told them something."

"I'm not aware that there was a fight involved," Irvin told CBS' Early Show. "That so-called fight has been the basis of a lot of speculation and rumors, which have really created a tremendous amount of frenzy."

He said he met with Dotson in Maryland earlier this week, and family members have said Dotson is staying in his hometown of Hurlock, Md.

Dennehy was reported missing by his family June 19, about a week after he was last seen. He had no apparent connections in Virginia Beach, Va., where his car was found.

Authorities said they have received hundreds of leads over the past few days.

"Somebody out there knows what happened to (Dennehy) or they know where he is," Anderson said. "We're hoping that person or persons will call in."

Some relatives and friends of Dennehy and Dotson say the two were being threatened before the 6-foot-10 junior vanished, but Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss said he knew nothing about it.

"Members of my staff met and had frequent contact with Patrick in the days leading up to his disappearance," Bliss said in a statement Wednesday. "At no time, did Patrick say anything about safety concerns or personal threats."

Dennehy's girlfriend, Jessica De La Rosa, said she didn't think Dennehy and Dotson had a falling out. She last talked to Dennehy on June 11, and a few days later she called Dotson to try to find her boyfriend.

"They were friendly teammates and recently had become closer as friends," said De La Rosa, of Albuquerque, N.M.

Dotson's estranged wife, Melissa Jill Kethley, told the Waco Tribune-Herald on Wednesday that she last spoke with Dotson on Tuesday, and he told her he had nothing to do with Dennehy's disappearance.

"They were friends. I don't see any reason why he would kill him," Kethley, 21, said from her parents' Sulphur Springs home.

"As far as I knew, they were friends," Dennehy's friend Daniel Okopnyi told the Early Show. "I don't know about best friends or anything like that, but they were decent friends, and … as far as I knew, there was never any trouble between them, and they were good guys together."

She said Dotson told her he and Dennehy had received threatening calls and felt "that somebody was trying to get them."

According to school records, Dotson and Dennehy both arrived in Waco last summer on basketball scholarships.

Dotson, a 6-foot-7 junior, had transferred from a junior college and was eligible to play, but his scholarship was dropped after a disappointing season. Dennehy, because of NCAA eligibility rules, had to sit out a year after transferring from New Mexico, where he was kicked off the team for losing his temper.

The case has generated a great amount of publicity. On Thurdsay, Dennehy's mother Valorie Brabazon told the Early Show the intense media coverage is taking a toll on her and her family.

"The media has been putting a lot of stuff out saying that our son is slain, has been shot in the head," she said. "That's kind of difficult for any parent or family to go through.

"We haven't given up hope that our son is alive somewhere, (and) that just tears our heart apart just to read that."