Body Found in Franklin, Mass. Believed to be Missing Student

Police said that the body was discovered around 2:30 p.m. in thick underbrush in an area of dense woods near Rte-495

A body, believed to be 20-year-old Michael Doherty, has been found in Franklin, Massachusetts.

Police said that the body was discovered around 2:30 p.m. Saturday in thick underbrush in an area of dense woods, about 450 feet from Interstate 495.

At this time, there is no positive identification, but police said the body is that of a white male and they believe it is Doherty.

The 2015 Xaverian Brothers High School graduate was last seen leaving a gathering of about 25 childhood friends on Phyllis Lane in Franklin at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. He had just returned home from college at Duke University for summer break two weeks ago.

His parents reported him missing when he didn't return home from the party. His family said Doherty texted his brothers asking for a ride at 12:30 a.m., but they were already asleep. Doherty ultimately decided to walk roughly a mile to his home.

His cell phone last pinged near the intersection of Oak Street Extension and Schofield Road in Franklin at 1:08 a.m. Sunday. It's behind that intersection, down a railroad path, that one of his shoes and his T-shirt were found. Another shoe was found on the other side of Mine Brook.

Investigators now think that Doherty crossed a marsh and ended up at Maplegate Country Club before becoming confused and doubling back into the marsh, in the opposite direction of his home.

Police said that, although an investigation is ongoing, there is no evidence of foul play.

Franklin Chief of Police Tom Lynch held a brief press conference Saturday evening to address the discovery of the body.

"The thoughts and prayers of all the members of the Franklin Police Department and all of the agencies that participated in the search for Michael go out to the Doherty family in this time of great tragedy," said Lynch.

Later on Saturday evening, Kristen Brown, the spokesperson for Duke University, issued a statement.

"We have heard the sad news about the police report and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Doherty family during this difficult time," she said.

Despite these statements, the body has yet to be officially confirmed as Doherty.

"Positive confirmation will not be available until the office of the chief medical examiner has issued its findings," said Lynch.

Contact Us