Police believe body found in dense woods is missing Duke student

Michael Doherty (Facebook/CBS Boston)

FRANKLIN, Mass. (WNCN) — Authorities in Massachusetts believe they have found the body of a Duke University student who vanished nearly a week ago in his hometown.

UPDATE: No foul play suspected in missing Duke student’s death, Mass. officials say

The Franklin Police Department said in a news release Saturday afternoon that a body was found around 2:30 p.m. in “dense woods and thick underbrush.”

Officials said the body found Saturday near Interstate 495 is “believed at this time to be Michael Doherty.”


Doherty, 20, was last seen early Sunday morning in his hometown of Franklin, Massachusetts.

Doherty was a rising junior at Duke, majoring in mechanical engineering.

“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,” Franklin police said.

Police said Doherty was at a friend’s party and decided to walk home. It was about a mile, it was raining and dark. Friends said his cell phone wasn’t charged.

“He was fine. I mean he was coherent. He was talking,” a friend said.

Police and volunteers searched a swampy area near that home. Police said Doherty may have tried to cut through the area, which is four- to five-feet deep in spots.

On Monday, police found Michael’s shirt and two sneakers in that swamp.

Positive identification will not be available until the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has issued its findings, police said.

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