Father of Bates College student defends son, waits for autopsy results

0

Italian police are continuing to investigate the death of 21-year-old Bates College junior John Durkin, hoping autopsy and toxicology results expected Tuesday will provide insight into what happened in Rome early Thursday morning.

According to the news outlet Roma Today, a camera shows Durkin, a linebacker and captain of the Bobcats’ football team, walking alone near the train track at San Pietro station. From that point, it would have been about a mile walk to where Durkin’s body was found later that morning.

Durkin, of Rye Beach, N.H., was studying this semester in Rome through a program offered by Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

Authorities are still looking for anyone who knows what happened between Campo de’ Fiori, the square in which Durkin had gathered with his friends, and the San Pietro station.

Advertisement

According to the news report, Durkin was last seen by his friends in front of Sloppy Sam’s at about 1:30 a.m. The bar closes at 2 a.m. His cellphone was turned off and he did not use a credit card.

The next time anyone saw Durkin was when a passenger on a train alerted the conductor to a body on the tracks. With no identification on him, Durkin went unidentified until officials cross-referenced a missing person report, filed Thursday, with the discovery of the body.

Durkin’s father, Tim Durkin, and his uncle, Tom Durkin, flew to Rome when John was first reported missing. Tim Durkin told Roma Today that he plans to stay in Italy until authorities release his son’s body.

“There is a big disconnect between what John was as a person and what is emerging in the press at this time,” the father said. “John was captain of the football team at his university and was a model student. He was tough, but soft-spoken and thoughtful, and never abused alcohol. He was a son that everyone would want.”

On Saturday, after learning of their fellow athlete’s passing, members of the school’s baseball team huddled on the pitcher’s mound at LaGrange College in Georgia, where they were playing, for a moment of silence in honor of Durkin.

On Sunday night, students and other members of the Bates College community gathered on Garcelon Field on the school’s campus, holding lit candles.

The school planned a closed service for Monday afternoon.

Advertisement