A rape investigation involving Chicago Blackhawks star forward Patrick Kane took a bizarre turn Wednesday when the lawyer for the accuser said that an empty paper bag that once held the woman's rape kit had been secretly placed in the doorway of her mother's home.
Kane's lawyer, meantime, said both sides in the case have been told that none of Kane's DNA was found "from the waist down" on the woman.
Police officials responded that no packaging is missing from the rape kit.
"Something seriously has gone amiss," lawyer Thomas Eoannou told reporters during a news conference, where he held up the wrinkled brown bag that he said pointed to the possibility of evidence tampering.
He said the woman's mother discovered the bag on Tuesday afternoon when she came home from work for lunch. She found the bag folded up between a storm door and her front door, he said.
It was the first time Eoannou has spoken publicly about the case that has been the source of intense speculation and rumour since early August, when Kane was accused of assaulting a young woman in his waterfront mansion after they met at a nightclub.
Kane last week said he did nothing wrong and expected to be absolved. He also apologized for the distraction he has caused his family, teammates, the Blackhawks organization and fans.
Eoannou said the person that left the evidence bag did not knock on the door or ring the doorbell.
"It could have been there a day and a half," he said, because the woman used the back door when she left for work that morning.
He said the bag is authentic, labelled with personal identifying information for the woman, details on where the rape kit was used and the initials of the nurses who administered the kit.
"I have never seen an evidence bag outside of a police lab, a prosecutor's office or a court room, let alone find one in a doorway of a rape victim's mother's home," he said.
"We're hoping to find out how this happened and who had the incentive to modify or tamper with the evidence," he said.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said Eoannou's claim would be investigated. He declined further comment.
The head of the county agency responsible for maintaining evidence in such cases, meanwhile, said everything given to the agency by the investigating Hamburg Police Department is accounted for.
"This includes the evidence in the rape kit and the packaging itself," Erie County Commissioner of Central Police Services John Glascott said in a statement. "This evidence has been analyzed and reports of that analysis sent to the appropriate agencies."
Kane did not travel to Detroit with the rest of his team for Wednesday's Blackhawks game against the Red Wings, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Kane's travel plans were not publicly announced. Kane played on Tuesday and it's common for players to rest when their team plays consecutive days in the preseason.
Kane's lawyer, Paul Cambria, said he would welcome an investigation of the bag incident.
"Only someone who is unhappy with the DNA results would have a motivation to claim that it's compromised," Cambria told The Associated Press. "We are obviously quite pleased with the DNA results."