Brazilian police were searching for US Olympic gold medalist swimmers Ryan Lochte and James Feigen on Wednesday after a judge issued an order preventing them from leaving the country until they clarified their accounts of how they were robbed at gunpoint.
After checks at Rio’s international airport, police sources said they believed Lochte had already left Brazil where he won a relay gold medal in the Olympic swimming competition that ended on Saturday, Reuters reports.
US media quoted a lawyer for Lochte, one of swimming’s most decorated Olympians, as saying his client had already returned to the United States. It was not immediately possible to confirm this.
Feigen, however, was quoted by the San Antonio Express-News as saying that he was still in Rio de Janeiro.
Judge Keyla Blanc, of Brazil’s Special Tribunal for Fans and Major Events, on Wednesday ordered the seizure of the swimmers’ passports until they gave more evidence concerning the robbery, which fueled fears over security at South America’s first Games.
A US Olympic Committee spokesman said police had arrived at the Athletes’ Village on Wednesday and asked to meet the swimmers and collect their passports.
“The swim team moved out of the village after their competition ended, so we were not able to make the athletes available,” said USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky, adding that he could not confirm the swimmers’ location for security reasons.
“We will continue to cooperate with Brazilian authorities.”
On Sunday, Lochte said he, Feigen and two other team mates were traveling to the Athletes’ Village in a taxi in the early hours of the morning, after a party, when armed men carrying police badges pulled them over.
The gunmen ordered them to drop to the ground and demanded their wallets and belongings, Lochte said.
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