You can still travel along the narrow back road off of Callis Cutoff between Hacks Cross and Germantown — the same path that Lorenzen Wright took July 18th, 2010. Later that night, he lost his life.
Ten days later, on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 28, 2010, the gunshot-riddled, decomposed remains of the former NBA star were found in a secluded field near the narrow strip of road. Today, barbed wire, an electric fence, and “no trespassing” signs prohibit access to the area.
Wright was last seen alive leaving the house of his ex-wife Sherra Wright and their six children in Collierville around 10:30 p.m. on July 18th. Sherra would later inform Collierville police detectives that he had a box of drugs and an indefinite amount of money in his possession. She also stated she overheard Wright on the telephone saying he was going to “flip something for $110,000.” He left her home in a car with a person she could not identify.
Minutes after midnight, Monday, July 19th, a 911 dispatcher in Germantown received a call from a frantic voice muffling an expletive before more than 10 gunshots were heard. According to Courthouse News Service reports, one of the 911 dispatchers then hung up on the phone call to handle the police radio, while another dispatcher attempted to call the cell phone number back. No one responded.
It wasn’t until Tuesday, July 27th, one day before Wright’s body was located, that the Germantown 911 service notified investigators about the call — five days after Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, had reported him missing. Many, including Wright’s parents and his ex-wife, questioned why the Germantown 911 service took so long to contact the proper authorities.
When the 34-year-old’s body was located by Shelby County Emergency Services Search and Rescue, it weighed a mere 57 pounds, due to exposure to the summer heat, rain, and animals. At the time of his death, Wright weighed around 225 pounds and stood 6′ 11″.
Although the exact number of times Wright was shot is uncertain, his autopsy report confirmed he suffered two shots to the head, two to the torso, and one to the right forearm.
“They wouldn’t let me go down there and see him,” Marion recalls. “I wanted to see my child for the last time. I wanted to just walk his last walk. That’s all I wanted to do.”
Three years after Wright’s death, no arrests have been made. Numerous rumors have surfaced, including the possibility that Wright was involved in drug trafficking and was killed when a transaction went wrong. Or that he was set up by someone close to him. There are also allegations that Wright had ties to drug kingpin Craig Petties’ organization and was executed. And the list goes on, but they are just rumors.
“There’s no difference from a rumor in high school than one dealing with a homicide,” says Dennis McNeil, 25-year Memphis Police Department veteran and longtime friend of Wright. “Until some facts can be established [and] somebody can positively verify something that happened, it just remains a rumor.”
One thing that isn’t a rumor is the fact that Wright leaves behind a shining basketball legacy that will be fondly remembered by many. Wright was born and raised in Oxford, Mississippi, but moved to Memphis his senior year in high school. He played for Booker T. Washington High School, averaging 19.1 rebounds in the regular season for the school. He was selected to participate in the 1994 McDonald’s All American game in New York.
Read more about Lorenzen Wright’s mysterious murder on Memphis Flyer.