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Body of missing college student found: Police

Michael Doherty, a 20-year-old college student, went missing more than a week ago in Franklin.
Michael Doherty
Michael Doherty went missing early morning on May 14. Photo: Franklin Police

Franklin police have found the body of missing 20-year-old college student Michael Doherty.

The Norfolk District Attorney's Office confirmed that a body found Saturday afternoon was Doherty, who had been missing since May 14.

After search teams spent six days combing through woods, marsh and the nearby neighborhoods, two civilians searching in dense wood and thick underbrush Saturday afternoon found the body of a white male, police said in a statement.

The body was found around 2:30 p.m. near Route 495. A positive confirmation was not immediately available then because an autopsy needed to be performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, police said.

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Though a final report has yet to be issued, the DA's office confirmed on Monday that the remains were those of Doherty.

“Our first thought is with Michael’s family and friends,” District Attorney Morrissey said in a statement. “To them, we extend our sincere condolences. I would be remiss if I did not thank the Franklin police, regional and state law enforcement and so many in the community for their days and days of sustained searching in difficult terrain. The result was not what we had hoped.”

Doherty was last seen around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 14, in Franklin. A junior at Duke University, he was home for the summer.

He had been out at a party with friends the night before he went missing, police said. His shoes and shirt were recovered on Sunday after authorities began their search.

Officials said that there were no signs of trauma or foul play.

“It looks like he was just trying to fight his way home,” Deputy Police Chief James A. Mill told the Boston Globe after a news briefing on Saturday. 

Along with local police, the Franklin Fire Department, state police, Massachusetts Environmental Police and local residents helped with the search.

The investigation will continue, police said, with the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office and state troopers. 

"Over the last six days, countless man hours have been spent in the efforts to locate Michael and bring him home to his family," Franklin police said in a statement. "The thoughts and prayers of all the members of the Franklin Police Department and all of the other agencies that participated in searching for Michael go out to the Doherty family in this time of great tragedy. We would also like to thank the residents who helped search and those who provided support to all the personnel who worked tirelessly to find Michael."

 
 
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