Police: Missing UC student broke into building where he was found dead

Cincinnati Police outside a building Monday night on East McMillan Street in Mount Auburn. File photo
Cincinnati Police outside a building Monday night on East McMillan Street in Mount Auburn. File photo

(FOX19) - Cincinnati Police said Tuesday that they believe missing University of Cincinnati student Brogan Dulle navigated a fire escape, broke a window in the top of the building and made his way to the basement where he was found dead Monday night.

Dulle's death was caused by self-inflicted asphyxiation by hanging, Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said.

Dulle, 21, had been missing since early May 18. He went out the night of May 17 with two friends to The St. Clair bar on Calhoun Street and Mac's Pizza Pub on West McMillan Street.

Police have said Dulle was last seen at 2 a.m. Sunday around his East McMillan Street  apartment. Dulle told others in his apartment he had misplaced his cell phone and was going to back track his path in an effort to find it.  After not returning, Dulle's roommate reported him missing to police. The phone hasn't been found and police are still interested in obtaining it.

His disappearance prompted a large search with thousands of volunteers, national media attention and a $25,000 reward.

Dulle's body was discovered in the 100 block of East McMillan Street next to his Mount Auburn apartment.

Cincinnati Police Col. Dave Bailey said police found a crowbar inside the third floor window that they believe Dulle used to gain entry. Also found was a bottle of wine with Dulle in the basement. Bailey said they believe Dulle was alone when he broke into the building.

Bailey said the building's owner or representatives had been inside it several times throughout the week. He said the third floor window was completely knocked out and didn't have any jagged edges or anything that would suggest a breach.

Bailey said someone did show up at 9 p.m. Monday, thought someone had been trespassing inside and they called Cincinnati Police District 4. Police believe someone is using the building but aren't sure exactly.

Dulle, a graduate of Turpin High School in Anderson Township, was studying education at UC. He was a swim coach at MercyHealth Plex and Turpin Hills Swim Club.

Bailey said when he talked to Dulle's family on Saturday they were "concerned but mission-driven. That they believed that he was out there. He needed some help and I think that's what they'd really been concentrating on this whole week was 'how best can we make this happen and make this a successful outcome.'"

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will host a vigil for Dulle at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Dulle once worked at the zoo.

UC President Santa Ono said Tuesday grief counselors are available at UC's Office of Counseling & Psychological Services by calling 513-556-0648 and 513-556-0034.

Dulle's family released the following statement Tuesday:

"We cannot express in words our gratitude for all the love and support we have received. No act by the thousands of volunteers and supporters in Cincinnati and beyond has gone unnoticed, and we wish we could thank each and every one of you in person. We want to especially recognize Brad Gilpin for closing Gilpin's restaurant this past week so that it could serve as the home of the search team. We also want to thank all of the volunteers who helped us search for Brogan. Lastly, we have never been more proud of our home town and because of you and the support of our family and friends, we have been able to get through the past week. We love you all.

You may have seen in the media information around the details of Brogan's passing. We are devastated and we ask that you respect our need for privacy during this difficult and tragic time as we come to grips with this information. We need to grieve, cry, hug and cry some more with our family.

Brogan, we will always love you and we miss you deeply. We are still a family of eight. It's just that now one of us being carried inside the rest of us."

Related content:

Organized searches for Brogan Dulle halted

On foot and online, the search for Brogan Dulle continues

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