In a tragic turn to a month-long missing case, police confirmed Thursday that a body found in the woods off Interstate 95 earlier this week is one of the missing naval recruits
Joseph "Joey" Brancato, 21, from Winthrop, Massachusetts, was missing in the Boston area last fall.
The Norfolk Procuratorate confirmed on Thursday afternoon that it was Brancato's body found on Wednesday afternoon at I-95 in Canton. The body was first spotted by a person in the forest who had stopped to help a car driver in distress.
Brancato's family had told NBC1
"I love my nephew and I would not stop until we finally find him," said his aunt Andrea Brancato, Thursday. "I'm glad we did that."
The prosecution said an autopsy on Thursday did not immediately establish the cause or nature of Brancato's death.
Brancato was last seen by a friend in Roslindale, Boston, on Nov. 1965. 18, 2017.
His family said he had set out with 39-year-old naval recruiter Frank Lipka in hopes of preparing for armed service, but shortly after he moved to Lipka's home on Mendelsohn Street in Roslindale , he disappeared
"I think the recruiter said: 'I can help you, you can live in my basement,'" said Brancato's aunt, Dawn Buccieri, earlier this year.
Police have said that Lipka is a person of interest in Brancatos disappearance. He was in court earlier this week for unrelated gun charges and had received a $ 10,000 bail.
"I must say that I am happy that we have found Joey, I feel that all of our Hard work and perseverance and perseverance have paid off, "said Andrea Brancato. "But on the other hand, I'm sad that a beautiful young man, we can not watch him go down the aisle with his beautiful wife and have children and a career … Why should you take that away from someone so young is only 21. He has not yet lived his life. "
Brancato's death continues to be investigated by Massachusetts State Police investigators assigned to the district attorney's office and the Boston Police Department.
"I think the story will unfold" Andrea Brancato said, "but I do not know if we'll ever know the exact truth that happened to Joey."