Police Searching Woods, Marshes for Missing 20-Year-Old

Michael Doherty was last seen in the area of Phyllis Lane early Sunday morning

State and local police continue to search woods and marshes after a 20-year-old man from Franklin, Massachusetts, never came home from a party over the weekend.

Friends of Michael Doherty, a Duke University student, are hoping for the best but fearing the worst as the search intensifies.

"Pouring rain, 1:30 at night, and it’s dark out, like dead phone, it’s like a nightmare," said friend Shawn Hanley.

Doherty, a 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.

His parents reported him missing after he didn't come home from the party.

"He did text his brothers for a ride but it was late enough at that point where they were asleep," Hanley said.

Hanley was at the party with Doherty and said despite the pouring rain and a phone that wasn’t charged, Doherty decided to walk roughly a mile to his parents’ home on Catherine Avenue but never made it.

"That path he took, it’s like a discombobulated path, it’s not a real path, but him and his brother they said they took it one time in their life, I guess he thought he could do it again," Hanley said.

From the air and ground, search teams including SWAT and K-9 units have zeroed in on the marshy area around Mine Brook that leads into the Charles River nearby.

"When it rains the way it’s been raining, I’m sure there’s water deep on both sides," neighbor Pat Henry said.

Friends said a couple of Doherty’s personal belongings have been found, but police would not confirm that.

Doherty was wearing a blue shirt with a Nike symbol along with black pants and sneakers when he disappeared. He is described as about 5'10", and has brown hair and eyes.

"We’re all in shock, like how could this happen to Mike, but that kind of puts a reality check, like this could happen to anyone that you know, so it’s scary," said friend Andrew Parent.

Michael Schoenfield, Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations at Duke University, said in part, "Our thoughts are with Michael and his family for a quick and positive outcome."

Anyone with information on Doherty's whereabouts is asked to contact Franklin Police at 508-528-1212.

Contact Us