Marine Recruiter Linked to Missing Recruit Held on Bail

A Marine recruiter linked to a recruit who went missing in the Boston area last fall was held on bail Monday in an unrelated case.

Gunnery Sgt. Frank Lipka, 39, was arraigned in West Roxbury District Court on charges of assault by means of a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of ammunition. The Suffolk County District Attorney's office said the charges stemmed from an encounter with a delivery person in September 2017.

He was held on $10,000 bail, although prosecutors had asked for $25,000.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service took Lipka into custody Feb. 8 in Charleston, South Carolina.

His appearance in court was unrelated to the disappearance of missing 21-year-old recruit Joseph Brancato, of Winthrop. Authorities say, however, he is a person of interest.

Boston police said Brancato was last seen by an acquaintance near Mendelsohn Street in Roslindale on Nov. 18, 2017.

Brancato's family said he had gone to live with Lipka in hopes of getting ready for the armed services, but after moving into Lipka's Mendelsohn Street home, Brancato disappeared.

Brancato's aunt, Dawn Buccieri, said her nephew's move into the house didn’t sit right with any of his family.

"I guess the recruiter said, 'I can help you out. You can live in my basement,'" said Buccieri back in January.

On Monday, Brancato's grandmother Midge LeBaron said the family is still hoping for answers in wake of new charges against Lipka.

"It's just like a bad dream. I can't believe this even happened," said LeBaron.

Family members said they will be back searching the Roslindale woods near Turtle Pond soon and are encouraging volunteers. A search conducted in January did not turn up any results.

Anyone with information regarding Brancato's disappearance or whereabouts is asked to contact detectives at 617-343-4566.

It's unclear when Lipka will be back in court.

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