CINCINNATI – For more than a week, community members and authorities searched for Brogan Dulle around the clock near University of Cincinnati in Clifton, Clifton Heights, Over-the-Rhine and downtown.
But Monday night, officials said the 21-year-old was found dead, hanging inside the basement of a building in Mount Auburn -- just feet from his apartment at 179 East McMillan St.
The discovery just a few steps away from where Dulle disappeared has left many asking why police didn't find his body sooner.
"'How did you miss it? How did no one go in there and search it?' is what we're all thinking right now," said Ally Wilkes, who lives nearby. "How he was so close to home, so close to home and no one knew."
Two days earlier, one of Cincinnati's top commanders said he personally canvassed the building where investigators found Dulle's body.
Assistant Police Chief Dave Bailey, head of criminal investigations, told WCPO he visited the building at 173 E. McMillan St. on Saturday.
He said authorities wanted to check inside the property during search efforts, but weren't able to and didn't think the building had been broken into.
"We made many, many attempts to try to contact someone inside the building," Bailey said. "We're always looking for areas where someone could have gotten into, a place that's been breached… This building appeared to have people in it. There was no obvious breach."
Bailey said the private status of the building required enough probable cause to issue a search warrant, but that didn't happen.
Dulle's body was spotted Monday night by a landlord who was onsite to inspect the property, which is currently being rehabilitated.
Bailey said the building is being used as an off-hours office for a medical supplies business. Dulle was found in the corner of the basement, where nobody would have thought to look, he said.
"Unless there was any reason someone would go into that basement, he wasn't going to be seen," Bailey said. "It was damp. Unless you could get to the light and turn it on for any specific reason, you're not going to see him."
When the building's landlord called 911, she thought there was an intruder in the basement, Bailey said.
"She wasn't quite sure what she was seeing," he said.
Authorities said they believe Dulle entered through a third-story window from the fire escape on the back of the house.
Bailey said investigators believe Dulle used a crowbar to enter through the window.
Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said the lighting in the building is poor, which made it hard for police to see inside.
"I think it would have been a difficult place for people to discover him without actually being inside the building," Sammarco said. "Perimeter wise, I don't think you would have seen any indication that someone was in there."
Police said Dulle disappeared after he told his friends he left his cellphone behind -- possibly at a restaurant nearby -- and would retrace his steps to find it.
Dulle left his wallet, money, identification and house keys in his East McMillan apartment when he left at about 3 a.m. Sunday, May 18.
He never returned.
Dulle’s family members called off volunteer searches Monday without saying whether or not they believed they were any closer to finding him.
The leader of the Ohio chapter of the nationally recognized Texas Equusearch team, which was assisting in the search for Dulle, said finding him so close to his apartment was shocking and heartbreaking.
“The disturbing part is we can't go into the interior of buildings," Equusearch President Dave Rader said. "We can go on the outside and we did check around these houses on the outside, but we can't get into the structure itself."
WCPO's Jason Law and Amy Wadas contributed to this report.