Brett Cummins Says 'No Foul Play' in Bathtub Death

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Thursday, Sep. 8, 2011 8:15 pm  

Brett Cummins, in this photo from his bio page on KARK's website.

KARK-TV, Channel 4, meteorologist Brett Cummins said in a statement late Thursday that he is "devastated" by the death of Dexter Williams and that "no foul play was involved."

Cummins, 33, released a statement to CNN through his attorney, Mark Hampton of Little Rock, three days after he was first interviewed by authorities in the death of his 24-year-old friend at a Maumelle home following a Labor Day party.

"It's a rough time," Cummins told The Associated Press on Thursday evening before referring all further comment to his attorney.

"Mr. Cummins deeply regrets the grief this incident has caused those who know him, especially his co-workers and family members," Cummins' statement said.

Williams' family also released a statement Thursday, saying they were "disturbed by the circumstances" of Williams' death. KARK posted both statements on its website.

(More: See the full statements at the end of this story below.)

"Dex had a very loving but trusting heart. Anyone who knew him would agree that he was easily influenced," the statement said.

The CNN report noted that as of Thursday, no arrests had been made but an investigation continued.

"We don't have a crime -- yet," Maumelle Police Lt. Jim Hansard told CNN. "That's part of the investigation."

On Wednesday, authorities said they had interviewed Cummins multiple times as part of the investigation. They have also spoken to Christopher Barbour, 36, who owns the home where Williams' body was found.

Police also said Wednesday that they had received preliminary results of Williams' autopsy, but declined to release those findings, citing the ongoing investigation.

In his statement, Cummins said he "continues to cooperate fully with authorities investigating" Williams' death. He said he would make no further public statements for now.

Cummins has been off the air since Tuesday. KARK told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Cummins was at work on Monday, and Cummins filed a video weathercast to his KARK Facebook page timestamped for late Monday afternoon. His employer, a Nexstar Broadcasting-owned NBC affiliate, said Cummins "will not be on the air as he continues mourning the loss of his friend." 

According to a police report (PDF), Cummins and Williams came to Barbour's Maumelle home at 8 p.m. on Sunday. In the report, Barbour said the two drank and used unidentified illegal narcotics, and later got into Barbour's tub together.

Barbour slept on the living room couch and awoke the next morning to find both men still in the bathtub. After Cummins awoke, the men discovered that Williams was not conscious. When police arrived, they found Williams, naked in a fetal position and cold to the touch, still in the drained bathtub, dead.

Cummins began at KARK in 2001, but left the station in 2008 when KARK chose not to renew his contract.

After that, he landed a job in Louisiana, as weatherman for a cluster of stations that includes Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Alexandria. He returned to Little Rock in 2009 after budget cutbacks at the station, at one point filling in for a sick meteorologist at Little Rock Fox affiliate KLRT-TV, Channel 16. He later rejoined KARK.

Brett Cummins Statement

Brett Cummins is devastated by the tragic death of his friend Dexter Williams and extends his sincere condolences to Dexter's family.

They remain foremost in his thoughts and prayers. Mr. Cummins deeply regrets the grief this incident has caused those who know him, especially his co-workers and family members.

Mr. Cummins continues to cooperate fully with authorities investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr. Williams' passing and, like them, looks forward to a conclusion of the inquiry, secure in his own innocence and confident that no foul play was involved.

In an attempt to assist the Maumelle Police Department as they gather information in this regard, and so that all resources can be properly focused, no further public statements will be made at this time.

Williams Family Statement

While we are disturbed by the circumstances surrounding the death of our son, we are confident the authorities will fully investigate this tragic event.

Dex had a very loving but trusting heart. Anyone who knew him would agree that he was easily influenced.

We would like to thank our friends and family for their continued sympathies and support.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)



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