Police found the body of a missing University of Cincinnati student late Monday in the building next door to his apartment, more than a week after he disappeared and after a massive search captured national attention.
Brogan Dulle went missing early May 18 after telling friends he had lost his cellphone and planned to retrace his steps, possibly back to a nearby restaurant.
The 21-year-old education student left behind his wallet, money, keys, and identification before leaving about 3 a.m., and he never returned.
Volunteers canvassed the entire area since then, knocking on doors miles away from Dulle’s apartment, checking ditches and wooded areas, and handing out fliers at Memorial Day weekend festivals.
Dulle’s family abruptly called off the search Monday afternoon without explanation, but his body was discovered hours later.
A landlord found Dulle’s body about 9 p.m. in an unoccupied basement of a home next door to the missing student’s apartment building in the Mount Auburn neighborhood.
Police said they believe Dulle died from a “self-inflicted act,” but the investigation into his death has not been completed.
Investigators said they tried to check the building previously, and a Criminal Investigations Section commander searched the area Saturday on foot, but said the building was locked.
“We certainly have searched the exterior of this building extensively,” said Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. “That needs to be duly noted. We have walked around the perimeter of this facility. We (did not see) any sight of him.”
The building is poorly lighted in unoccupied portions currently under renovation, said Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco.
“I think it would have been a difficult place for people to discover him without actually being inside the building,” Sammarco said. “Perimeter-wise, I don’t think you would have seen any indication that someone was in there.”
Police didn’t see anything suspicious enough about the building to seek a search warrant.
“There was nothing to indicate that needed to occur,” Blackwell said. “The building has been secure. We have walked around the perimeter of this facility and we had not seen any sight of him, nor have any of the search parties. We definitely attempted to get access to the building. It was locked. It was vacant. It was not a building that was in a dilapidated condition, or in an outward sign of disrepair. That would have made us want to force entry.”
Workers at the property told WCPO-TV that Dulle may have entered the property through a second-story fire escape at the rear of the building.
Surveillance video released Thursday showed Dulle returning to his apartment after having drinks with friends about 2 a.m., about an hour before he disappeared.
The same camera recorded him searching the area near his apartment with a flashlight about 3:10 a.m.
He was never heard from again, and he was reported missing May 19 after Dulle’s employer called the college sophomore’s parents to report that he had failed to show up for his job as a swim coach.
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