Searchers find body believed to be Patriots' Hill
ESPN.com news services
Updated: May 28, 2007, 4:43 PM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- A body believed to be New England Patriots player Marquise Hill was found by searchers Monday, a day after he was reported missing following a personal watercraft accident on Lake Pontchartrain.
"The family will have to make positive identification," Capt. Brian Clark of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department said. "But the body we found was that of Mr. Marquise Hill."
The body was discovered about a quarter-mile from where Hill and a female companion were involved in the accident, Clark said.
The Coast Guard were called Sunday night, Petty Officer Tom Atkeson said. The search began immediately, using boats and helicopters.
By the time the body was found, the Coast Guard, Wildlife and Fisheries, the New Orleans Police Department and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department were involved, Clark said.
Hill's agent, Albert Elias, said he had been told Hill and a young woman were riding a watercraft Sunday in the lake when both of them went into the water, which had a strong current. Elias said the woman was able to make it to a pylon and hang on until she was rescued, while Hill was last seen floating away from the scene.
"We are all shocked," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement."
Hill played on LSU's national championship team and was a second-round draft pick by New England in 2004.
"It's shocking," said Patriots cornerback Randall Gay, who was also a college teammate of Hill's at LSU, and who was at the scene when officials pulled the body from the lake. "This is going to be hard for a lot of people."
The woman, whose identity was not available Monday morning, was rescued and sent to Tulane Medical Center where she told them Hill had tried to keep her calm as the two were drifting away from each other.
Neither Hill nor the woman wore a life preserver, Atkeson said.
"It's so important to have a life jacket and a signaling device," Atkeson said. "One keeps you afloat and the other helps us find you."
Elias said Hill, a defensive end, spent much of his time since Hurricane Katrina helping family members rebuild their homes.
The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report.