ESPN.com news services
The body of Jovan Belcher, the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker who murdered his girlfriend before killing himself last year, has been exhumed upon the request of his family, according to the Kansas City Star.
Belcher’s body, which was buried in Bay Shore, N.Y., was exhumed Friday in order to perform tests on his brain, Dirk Vandever, an attorney working with the family, told the Star.
Belcher killed 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins on Dec. 1, 2012, shooting her multiple times at the couple’s Kansas City home following an argument.
Belcher then drove to Arrowhead Stadium, where he shot himself while Chiefs officials pleaded with him to put down his gun.
Vandever told the Star that Belcher’s family was not contacted immediately following the murder-suicide to discuss whether they would allow his brain to be donated for research.
The family hopes that an examination of Belcher’s brain will provide an explanation for last year’s tragedy, according to the Star.
Multiple scientists acknowledged to the paper that the year-long gap between Belcher’s death and the actual examination could prove difficult for accurate research on his brain.
Julian Bailes, the founder of the Brain Injury Research Institute, also told the Star that even if Belcher’s brain is found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative disease linked to head injuries from football, it cannot be used as a direct explanation for the murder-suicide.
Becky Gonzalez, Perkins’ mother, told the paper that she was unaware of the exhumation and is “doubtful it will solve anything.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.