Police: Body of missing St. Joseph’s freshman found in Bermuda

PHILADELPHIA — A St. Joseph’s University freshman missing in Bermuda since early Sunday has been found dead, police said Monday afternoon.

“It is with sadness that we the police service can now confirm the death of 19-year-old Mark Dombroski,” Acting Assistant Commissioner James Howard said at a news conference. “We the police service extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends and to the community.”

Howard said Dombroski’s body was found in a moat in Devonshire, not far from police headquarters. He did not announce a cause of death and said an autopsy would be performed.

Dombroski, of Media, Pa., had traveled to the island last week for a rugby tournament with his teammates. Dombroski was last seen on video footage at 1:15 a.m. Sunday about a mile and a half away from a bar he had left an hour earlier.

Dombroski’s parents accompanied the team on the trip. His mother, joined at a Monday afternoon news conference by police, her husband and her two other sons, had asked anyone with relevant information to contact authorities “and help bring our son back.”

“We dearly love our son. We cherish our son,” she said. “My other sons, my husband, we love him dearly. We want him back.”

She thanked the citizens of Bermuda and the police for “standing shoulder to shoulder with us during this ordeal.”

Police on Monday afternoon said it was too early to suspect foul play. They said Dombroski did not appear to have been intoxicated when he went missing.

“There’s no information to suggest, at the moment, that he himself was intoxicated or that alcohol is a part,” Detective Sgt. Jason Smith said. “The inquiry so far hasn’t led us to believe that.”

Police said Dombroski had been out with teammates at the Dog House, a bar on the waterfront in Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital. He left the bar shortly after midnight. At 1:09 a.m. he was spotted nearby on a surveillance camera. At 1:15 a.m. another camera showed him using his cellphone on Middle Road, about 1 1/2 miles from the Dog House and away from where the team was staying, police said.

His family reported him missing at 9:39 a.m. Sunday. The family was scheduled to return home later that day.

Lisa Dombroski said her son had hurt his shoulder in the tournament and “wasn’t feeling well” that night. She said he could be seen in the surveillance footage “favoring his arm.”

“He wasn’t enjoying the party atmosphere as some of the boys were,” she said. “My assessment is he wanted to get going. I think he probably wanted to get back to where they were staying. I think possibly others wanted to stay longer.”

The search was extensive. Police said they checked every public CCTV on the 20.5-square-mile island. A marine unit searched Hamilton’s harbor. Two teams fanned out over the Bermuda Arboretum, a 22-acre national park. Civilians donated drones to the cause.

Eleven members of the St. Joseph’s rugby team, one coach and four parents had traveled to the island on Wednesday for the Ariel Re Bermuda International 7’s Tournament. The school has participated in the tournament for the past several years. Matches are held in the National Sports Centre, located just outside the capital city of Hamilton.

St. Joseph’s officials learned that Dombroski was missing at about 10:15 am Sunday. The team’s coach stayed to help in the search efforts while the rest of the team returned to Philadelphia Sunday.


Mark. C. Reed, the school’s president, in a statement before Dombroski’s body was found Monday said the community was “deeply concerned.”

“We have been focused on providing comfort and support to his family, friends, teammates and professors, and working cooperatively with Bermuda law enforcement to locate him,” he said. “Today, on the Feast Day of St. Joseph, or community sends earnest prayers that our patron will intercede and return Mark home safely.”


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PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194): Dombroski


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