A body was found, search warrants were issued, investigators conducted interviews - all the signs of an impending police action were in place by week's end. Still the family of semi-pro player Odin Lloyd waited for answers.
A jogger found Lloyd's body in an industrial park on Monday, a mile from the home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Family members said the two men were friends who were together the night Lloyd died. They said Lloyd had been dating Hernandez's fiancée's sister for about two years.
Police have searched in and around Hernandez's sprawling home not far from where the Patriots practise. Hernandez's lawyer, Michael Fee, has acknowledged media reports about the state police search of the tight end's home, but said he would not comment on it.
Police in nearby Providence, Rhode Island, said they had assisted Massachusetts state police and North Attleborough police with activity related to the Hernandez investigation at a strip place named Club Desire. It was unclear if they believed Lloyd and Hernandez might have been at the club in the days before Lloyd died.
The Bristol county district attorney has not released any information, other than saying Lloyd's death was being treated as a homicide. By the time state courts closed for the weekend no arrest warrants had been filed, a judiciary spokesman said. Three search warrants were issued in the probe earlier last week, but had not yet been made public.
Family members say Lloyd, 27, was never in trouble.
"I want the person that killed my son to be brought to justice," said Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward. "That's my first-born child, my only boy child, and they took him away from me … I wouldn't trade him for all the money in the world. And if money could bring him back I would give this house up to bring my son back. Nothing can bring my son back."
Family members said they had heard from Lloyd's girlfriend, but not from Hernandez after Lloyd's death.
Hernandez was gone from his home for most of the day on Friday, including when two state police officers knocked on his door. He returned home with his lawyer at around 5pm.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team did not anticipate commenting publicly during the police investigation. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was waiting for the legal process to take its course.
Meanwhile, CytoSport, a California-based firm that makes Muscle Milk and other supplements for athletes, said on Friday it was ending Hernandez's endorsement contract, effective immediately, because of the probe.
Since the Patriots drafted Hernandez out of Florida in 2010, he has combined with Rob Gronkowski to form one of the top tight end duos in the NFL. He missed 10 games last season with an ankle injury and had shoulder surgery in April, but is expected to be ready for training. Last summer, the Patriots gave him a five-year, US$40 million contract.
Last week, a man filed a lawsuit in South Florida claiming Hernandez shot him in the face after they argued at a strip club. The lawsuit accuses Hernandez of negligence, among other things, suggesting that the shooting may have been accidental.