Researchers to look for CTE evidence in Hernandez's brain

Authorities said the medical examiner had ruled Hernandez's cause of death was asphyxia by hanging and investigators had found the notes and Bible in Hernandez's cell at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.

A source told Fox25Boston that Hernandez cut his finger and wrote "John 3:16" on his forehead.

Hernandez was found hanged from a bedsheet affixed to a window in his cell shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

WMTW's sister station, WCVB, has learned that the notes, in which he offered his love and asked loved ones not to shed tears, were written to his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, the couple's 4-year-old daughter, Avielle, and his legal team. But they said they were satisfied he died at his own hand, and they said his brain would be donated to sports concussion researchers, ending a brief public dispute over its custody.

In a press release, the district attorney's office also says Hernandez's cell had cardboard in the tracks of the door to try and impede entry.

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Baez said the family made arrangements for the Boston University CTE Unit to take possession of the brain, and the medical examiner's office agreed to those plans.

Earlier on Thursday, Hernandez family attorney Jose Baez said the brain was being held "illegally" by the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The center studies chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition linked to the sort of repeated head hits common in football that can lead to aggression and dementia later in life.

The brain custody battle came a day after prison officials said Hernandez, a former National Football League star for the New England Patriots, hanged himself with a bedsheet attached to a window in his prison cell.

"The family of Aaron Hernandez has chose to donate to this study so that we could possibly help other young men who decide to play football, and to help further that cause, and also possibly shed light and more evidence on this case", Baez said.

Baez said his team did not know for certain if Hernandez suffered from CTE or if it contributed to his death. The center studies a progressive degenerative brain disease found in some athletes who have experienced repetitive brain trauma. He was already serving a life term in a 2013 killing. He had been acquitted of murder in the 2012 shooting deaths of two Boston men just five days before his suicide.

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