Police: Body of missing St. Joseph’s freshman Mark Dombroski found in Bermuda
HAMILTON, Bermuda — A St. Joseph’s University freshman who disappeared following a rugby tournament in Bermuda was found dead Monday after an intensive search of the British island territory.
Searchers found the body of Mark Dombroski, 19, at the base of a colonial-era fort in a park not far from where he was last seen walking by himself on CCTV footage, officials with the Bermuda Police Service said at a news conference.
A cause of death was not released but forensic experts were still processing the scene where his body was found and an autopsy was planned, said Acting Commissioner James Howard.
“Bermuda Police Service extends our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,” Howard said after a day of searching that included local authorities, volunteers and Dombroski’s family.
Dombroski was a member of the rugby team at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and had come to Bermuda to compete in a tournament. He disappeared early Sunday, with video footage showing him walking alone and looking at his phone as he left a bar where his friends had gathered.
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He was found at the base of Fort Prospect in a wooded area known as the arboretum and near an athletic center where the team had played during the tournament.
Dombroski, of Media, Pa., had traveled to the island last week for a rugby tournament with his teammates. Dombroski was last seen on video footage at 1:15 a.m. Sunday about a mile and a half away from a bar he had left an hour earlier.
Dombroski’s family rushed to the island to join the search and retrace his steps.
“We dearly love our son, we cherish our son. … We want him back,” his mother, Lisa Dombroski, said at a news conference with police officials. “We thank the citizens of Bermuda. People have been with us shoulder to shoulder throughout this ordeal.”
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Detective Sgt. Jason Smith said there’s no evidence Dombroski was drunk, or that alcohol played a role in his disappearance.
His family reported him missing at 9:39 a.m. Sunday. The family was scheduled to return home later that day.
Lisa Dombroski said her son had hurt his shoulder in the tournament and “wasn’t feeling well” that night. She said he could be seen in the surveillance footage “favoring his arm.”
“He wasn’t enjoying the party atmosphere as some of the boys were,” she said. “My assessment is he wanted to get going. I think he probably wanted to get back to where they were staying. I think possibly others wanted to stay longer.”
Eleven members of the St. Joseph’s rugby team, one coach and four parents had traveled to the island on Wednesday for the Ariel Re Bermuda International 7’s Tournament. The school has participated in the tournament for the past several years. Matches are held in the National Sports Centre, located just outside the capital city of Hamilton.
St. Joseph’s officials learned that Dombroski was missing at about 10:15 am Sunday. The team’s coach stayed to help in the search efforts while the rest of the team returned to Philadelphia on Sunday.