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Arkansas man found dead in tub 'easily influenced,' family says

From Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
KARK meteorologist Brett Cummins allegedly woke up in a bath tub Monday next to his dead friend.
KARK meteorologist Brett Cummins allegedly woke up in a bath tub Monday next to his dead friend.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Cummins is "secure in his own innocence," his lawyer says
  • "Dex had a very loving but trusting heart," Dexter Williams' family says in a statement
  • "Anyone who knew him would agree that he was easily influenced," it says
  • Williams, 24, was found dead in a hot tub next to a sleeping weatherman

(CNN) -- The family of a man whose lifeless, naked body -- wearing what appeared to be a dog collar -- was found in a hot tub next to a sleeping weatherman described him Thursday as someone who was "easily influenced."

"Dex had a very loving but trusting heart," the family of victim Dexter Paul Williams, 24, said in a statement released by their lawyer, Thomas Nichols. "Anyone who knew him would agree that he was easily influenced."

Christopher Barbour, 36, said he awoke Monday morning in his home outside Little Rock, Arkansas, to find Williams' body at the bottom of the empty tub, his face blue and purple and a chain around his neck, a Maumelle Police Department report said.

Asleep next to the corpse was KARK meteorologist Brett Cummins, 33, who had arrived at Barbour's house with Williams on Sunday night, Barbour told police.

Police: Meteorologist in tub with corpse

In a statement issued on Cummins' behalf, lawyer Mark Hampton said Thursday that his client was devastated by the death of his friend. It added that Cummins was cooperating with authorities investigating the death and "looks forward to a conclusion of the inquiry, secure in his own innocence and confident that no foul play was involved."

On Sunday night, the three men had drunk and snorted illegal narcotics, though Barbour could not identify the drugs, according to a report by Officer Gregory Roussie. Around 10 p.m., Cummins and Williams moved into the hot tub, where Barbour joined them later; they continued drinking until Barbour retired for the night around 11, falling asleep on his couch in the living room, the report said.

Around 8 a.m. Monday, Barbour awoke to Cummins' snoring and discovered his two guests -- but no water -- in the hot tub, he told police.

"He observed that Dexter's head was lying behind Brett's left shoulder," Barbour told police, according to the report. Barbour said that after he awakened Cummins, the two men saw that Williams' face was discolored and his skin cold. Cummins screamed and ran to the living room, where he vomited next to the couch, Barbour said.

Maumelle police and fire rescue arrived at the home around 8:10, and they found Williams' body in the tub, a ring of blood around his head, the report said.

In the master bedroom, police found a pill bottle next to a pair of khaki cargo shorts on a storage ottoman, Sgt. David Collins said in his report.

No arrests had been made, but an investigation was under way, Lt. Jim Hansard told CNN on Thursday. "We don't have a crime -- yet," he said. "That's part of the investigation."

KARK made note of the incident on its website. "Our Meteorologist Brett Cummins was at the home at the time of the death and we felt we should share this with our viewers," the report said Tuesday. "Brett will not be on the air as he is mourning the loss of his friend. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Dexter Williams."

Police said they are not releasing preliminary autopsy results.

The family's statement asked for privacy. "While we are disturbed by the circumstances surrounding the death of our son, we are confident the authorities will fully investigate this tragic event," it said.

CNN's Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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