April 16, 2012

02/22/12: Franco Garcia, 21, Brighton, MA

Published: 3/11/12. Updated: 4/16/12, 2/5/13, 2/27/13.

Franco Garcia
Franco Garcia, 21, was last seen on Feb. 22, 2012 at Mary Ann’s bar in the 1900 block of Beacon Street in Brighton, Mass. The bar, which is frequented by Boston College students, is in Cleveland Circle area, not far from the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. That night, it was packed with students celebrating Mardi Gras.

Garcia, a student at the college's night school had walked to the bar with fellow members of Boston College's Symphonic Band after band practice. Garcia lived at home with his parents on Webster Street, 10 minutes away from the bar, but he planned to stay overnight at the dorm room of Katherine Corteselli, a close friend.

According to the Providence Journal, "Corteselli said Garcia found a couple friends from high school inside the bar and separated from her and other college friends for parts of the night."

At 11:27 p.m., Garcia sent close friend Corteselli a text message that read in part, "dont leave w/out me." She saw Garcia in the bar about 30 minutes later, and he knew that she wasn't planning to leave without him. Garcia had some mixed drinks and looked drunk "but not smashed," reported the paper.

He was last seen by friends around 12:15 a.m., but by bar close, no one could find him. Corteselli said she thought he might have taken a campus shuttle to the dorm or a taxi to his family's home, where he lived.

His parents, who were on a rare vacation to New York City, returned the following day after not being able to reach their son. After reporting their son missing, they learned that there had been no new activity on their son's credit card and his 1987 Volvo station wagon was still parked where he left it, his clarinet inside. Garcia also had not returned home and had failed to show up for classes and at his full-time job as a pharmacy technician at CVS.

The Search for Franco Garcia

Friends and family of Franco Garcia used social media to raise awareness of his disappearance. They began a campaign on Twitter and Facebook. A number of celebrities joined in on the effort, including Bruce Springsteen, who posted the story on his official Twitter account and Facebook page. A Web site was also put up at http://www.findfranco.org/ to help raise awareness about Garcia's disappearance and to provide the public with updates, printable missing posters, and a place to leave tips or to donate to the family's search fund through WePay.

During the investigation into Garcia's disappearance, police conducted searches on foot and by helicopter near the college, but found nothing. On Feb. 27, state police specialists scanned the 20 to 25 foot deep Chestnut Hill Reservoir using side-scanning sonar. After three hours of scanning turned up nothing, two divers were towed underwater through one section of the pond, said State Police spokesman David Procopio to Boston.com, with no results. Police decided to focus on the reservoir because it is between Cleveland Circle where the bar is located and Corteselli's dorm room where he planned to stay the night he disappeared. A signal from Garcia's cell phone at about 1:15 a.m. the morning he went missing also placed him near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. It was the last time anyone could account for his whereabouts.

Images from a surveillance camera at an ATM across the street from the bar show Garcia heading north on Chestnut Hill Avenue, at the Beacon Street intersection, at about 12:18 a.m., not long after he left Mary Ann's bar. According to the Boston Globe, Garcia did not use the ATM outside the Citizens Bank, but surveillance cameras captured his image as he walked by. He was not wearing the black North Face jacket that he had on that night, only jeans and a button-down shirt. Garcia's jacket and keys were later found at the bar. No other possessions were found.

That Garcia had previously texted his friend not to leave without him and then left his jacket and keys at the bar may indicate his intentions to return. According to a volunteer from Garcia's search team, the temperature on the night he disappeared was in the low 30s, too cold to be outside without a coat for a long length of time. This also may bolster the claim that he planned to return to the bar.


On Wednesday, April 11, a man walking his dog reported seeing a body in about 7 feet of heavily weeded water in the Chestnut Hill Reservoir about 18 feet off shore. He flagged down two joggers who called 911. The body was positively identified at autopsy as Franco Garcia. According to Boston.com, police told the family that the clothes on the body matched the description of what Garcia was wearing when he was last seen. His wallet was found inside his pocket, and his eyeglasses and cash were also recovered.

There is no fence around the reservoir where authorities found the body.

The area where Garcia was found had been included in a previous search of the reservoir that had lasted four days. State Police spokesman David Procopio told Boston.com that “visibility was not perfect” during the search, but that there had been a "tireless" effort to find Garcia.

Chestnut Hill Reservoir
(Photo Credit: Boston.com)

A preliminary exam of the body showed that Franco's death appeared "consistent with an accidental fall into the water." Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley's office said the autopsy showed Garcia didn't suffer any broken bones or other significant injury.

Authorities haven't ruled yet on the student's cause or manner of death and will be doing further toxicology tests.

"This is not going to be over until we find the truth of what happened with him," Luzmila Garcia told The Associated Press on April 11. "The only thing I ask is to find the truth -- what happened with Franco?"

Anyone with information about Franco Garcia should contact Newton Police at 617-796-2100.

About Franco Garcia

Franco Garcia lived with his parents in West Newton, where he graduated with honors from Newton North High School. He was a junior at Woods College of Advancing Studies, Boston College's night school, where he was enrolled in statistics and two other courses. He was a chemistry major and hoped to go to medical school. He played clarinet in the symphony band, played trombone in the marching band, and also worked full time as a certified pharmacy technician at a CVS in Waltham, Mass.

"By every measurement, Franco was an outstanding young man, gifted clarinetist, very popular student on campus, aspiring student, was very close to his family," said Jack Dunn, a spokesman for Boston College.

Garcia liked to read, and is a fan of classics like "The Great Gatsby," and also newer titles like "Harry Potter."

According to the Associated Press, "more than two decades ago, [Franco Garcia's parents] Luzmila and Jose emigrated from Peru before building a life in the Boston suburbs for their four children. Jose has worked for years as a baker at the same shop. Luzmila has her own little ice cream shop. The family is close, and bears this pain about Franco together."

Case Details

Name/age: Franco Garcia, 21
Last seen: 2/22/12, 12:15 a.m., Mary Ann's Bar, 1900 block of Beacon Street in Brighton, Mass.
Recovered: 4/11/12, Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Mass.
Physical Description: 6'0", 200 pounds, glasses.
Last seen wearing: long sleeved white and blue striped shirt, jeans
Residence: West Newton, Mass.
Investigating Agency: Newton Police, 617-796-2100 or Justin D. Billard, Downtown Investigations, LLC,
PO Box 67381, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, (857) 523 - 0925 (business cell), (617) 202 - 5195 (fax),
Links: Facebook, Donations, Wikipedia, Downtown Investigations, LLC


Staff article. (2012, April 12). Autopsy shows missing Massachusetts student's death likely accident.
Associated Press. Retrieved March 27, 2013.

Ballou, Brian R.; Ellement, John R., and Finucane, Martin. (2012, April 11). Family overwhelmed with grief after discovery of missing Boston College student’s body in reservoir. Boston Globe. Retrieved April 16, 2012.

Boston Channel.com. Family: Body In Reservoir Is BC Student (2012, April 11). Retrieved April 16, 2012.

Murphy, Bridget (2012, April 11). Family: Body in reservoir is missing Mass. student. Associated Press. Retrieved April 16, 2012.

NECN.com Franco Garcia's family grieving, looking for answers (2012, April 11). Retrieved April 16, 2012.

Cote, David (2012, March 15). Franco Garcia Still Missing. The Heights. Retrieved March 17, 2012.

Murphy, Bridget (2012, February 27). No clues about missing BC student after search. Providence Journal. Retrieved March 16, 2012.

Sampson, Zachary T. (2012, March 3). Police turn up nothing in final day searching reservoir for BC student; surveillance photos are released. Boston Globe. Retrieved March 16, 2012.


Anabelbella said...

There is also this student missing: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/01/11/search-continues-for-missing-college-student-from-virginia-last-seen-in-nyc/

As well as this one, just announced today:http://www.wbng.com/news/local/College-Student-Reported-Missing-142471075.html

Skunky said...

You have Thomas Hecht and Franco Garcia but TWO other Missing Men that also are eerily similar are...

David Christian of Whistler, Canada
27 YO
Reported missing 3/17/2012 after being at Merlin's Bar and Grill.
Body found in Horstman Creek

Colin Gillis of Tupper Lake, NY
18 YO
Reported missing 3/10/2012 after leaving a party.

Skunky said...

Other males who died in water...

Elgin Stafford (CA)

Jonathan Rosas (OH)

Brian Washington Jr. (NY)

Samuel A. Bequette (IL)

Un-named Winnepeg CANADA man aged 22 found 4/12 on Beaconia Beach.