SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — The Saginaw Spirit minor league hockey team confirms that police found the body of 20-year-old player Terry Traffort, who disappeared eight days earlier after receiving discipline from the club.
The team says on its website that Michigan State Police informed officials of the discovery Tuesday afternoon.
The team says it has "reached out to Terry's parents and will look to provide them with support over the coming days."
State police Lt. Brian Cole told The Saginaw News and WJRT-TV on Tuesday that a trooper found a man's body in an SUV that matched the description of Traffort's vehicle.
Cole says a trooper spotted the vehicle in a Wal-Mart store parking lot in Saginaw County's Saginaw Township.
General Manager Craig Goslin says the team disciplined Traffort for breaking team rules.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
A man's body was found Tuesday in a Michigan Wal-Mart parking lot in an SUV matching the description of one belonging to a missing minor league hockey player.
The dead man's identity was not confirmed, state police Lt. Brian Cole told The Saginaw News. He said the body was in a green GMC Sierra in the parking lot in Saginaw County's Saginaw Township.
"One of our troopers was patrolling the parking lot, observed a vehicle which appeared to match the description of the vehicle that the missing player was last seen driving," Cole told WJRT-TV. He observed a deceased male inside the vehicle."
A state police crime lab was called to the scene, he said.
"We've got to confirm the identification. It's going to take some time," Cole told the station.
Terry Trafford reportedly was last seen about 9:30 a.m. on March 3 at the Dow Event Center, the home arena for the Saginaw Spirit. The team reported on its website that Trafford might be driving a 1995 Green Chevy Sierra pickup.
Cole told The Associated Press earlier that the 20-year-old Toronto native was considered a "voluntary missing person."
Trafford has been with the Ontario Hockey League team for several seasons. His name was on the team's roster Tuesday, but Saginaw Spirit President and General Manager Craig Goslin earlier told The Saginaw News that the center was sent home "for a violation of rules."
Trafford wasn't permanently cut from the team but would "have to change his behavior and make some adjustments," Goslin said.
He spent four seasons with the Spirit, with 29 goals and 49 assists. He had eight goals and 24 assists this season.
Skye Cieszlak told the newspaper that she and Trafford have dated since 2010 and that he "was devastated" after the team sent him home "for partying on a road trip."
Cieszlak said Trafford sent her a text message Sunday that said, "his life was over and that he didn't want to do it anymore."