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Researchers to look for signs of CTE in Aaron Hernandez’s brain

BOSTON — Boston University researchers will study Aaron Hernandez's brain to determine if the former NFL star suffered from the same degenerative brain disease as Hall of Famer Junior Seau and former Bears defensive back Dave Duerson, who also took their own lives.

Hernandez hanged himself in prison early Wednesday, days after winning an acquittal in a 2012 double homicide case. He was already serving a life term in a 2013 killing.

After a brief public dispute between Massachusetts authorities and Hernandez's family, the former Patriots tight end's brain was released to BU's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center. In addition to Seau and Duerson, CTE has been found in the brains of NFL Hall of Famers Ken Stabler, Frank Gifford, Mike Webster and dozens of other former players.

Hernandez attorney Jose Baez wouldn't said Thursday if he or the family believed potential brain damage from football led to Hernandez's suicide.

Three handwritten notes were found next to an open Bible in Hernandez's cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, according to WCVB. The letters didn't offer any insight into why the 27-year-old committed suicide.

Prison officials say Hernandez used cardboard to jam the door to keep officers from entering the cell. He wasn't on suicide watch because he didn't appear to be at risk, officials said.

Family members of Aaron Hernandez are asking a judge to order prison officials to preserve evidence so they can investigate the circumstances of his death.

Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, filed an order Wednesday on behalf of the daughter she had with Hernandez. It asks that prison officials be barred from altering or destroying any potential evidence, including Hernandez's writings, video and audio recordings and medical records.

A judge in New Bedford is due to hear the request at 2 p.m. Friday.