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Michael Wright, Former Arizona Wildcats Basketball Star, Murdered in New York

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Former Arizona Wildcats basketball star Michael Wright was murdered this week in Brooklyn, police say.

The New York City Police Department says officers found his lifeless body Tuesday morning sprawled out under trash bags in the backseat of his white SUV. His skull was severely fractured, and the local Medical Examiner’s Office says it is ruling his death a homicide.

Wright, 35, lived in Closter, New Jersey, and had been reported missing days earlier — a statement from the NYPD says he was last seen at 1 p.m. Thursday, November 5.

Using a license-plate reader, the NYPD tracked down his vehicle, which had been parked on the side of a street in the Midwood area of Brooklyn since Sunday, the NY Daily News reports.

“It is an active investigation and no arrests have been made,” Detective Annette Markowski tells New Times. 

The Daily News says sources close to the NYPD told reporters that they are investigating the possibility that Wright was murdered by someone he met through the popular dating app Grindr, though New Times is unable to confirm this statement.

A spokeswoman from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the alleged Grindr investigation, and Markowski would only say, “There are no suspects at this moment.”

A spokeswoman from Grindr issued the following statement: "We are extremely saddened to hear about this tragedy and our thoughts are with the victim's family and friends. We treat all reports of crime very seriously and we are fully cooperating with the authorities."

Wright, who was 6-feet-8, played power forward for the University of Arizona from 1998 until 2001, when he was drafted by the New York Knicks. 

In recent years, he had a successful basketball career playing overseas for teams in Poland, Turkey, Spain, Israel, and France.

Wright’s cousin, Randolph Berry, told a Chicago Sun-Times reporter that Wright “left his French team in February and was planning to go back to Europe and play. The last time I talked to him, he thought he had two more years left. He wasn’t planning on retiring.”

**Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include the statement from Grindr.

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