Body Found off Interstate 95 Identified as Missing Marine Recruit

Joseph Brancato had been missing since November.  (Boston Police Department)
Joseph Brancato had been missing since November. (Boston Police Department)

Authorities in Massachusetts said Thursday that remains found off Interstate 95 south of Boston have been identified as a Marine recruit who had been missing since November.

Joseph Brancato, 21, was identified through dental records, a family member told Boston 25 News. The remains were spotted Wednesday afternoon by a motorist who had pulled to the side of the highway in Canton to help another driver.

"An autopsy performed today did not immediately establish cause or manner of death. Norfolk District Attorney's Office spokesman David Traub told the Boston Herald. "Cause and manner of death remain undetermined and under investigation pending further testing."

"I'm lost. I'm completely broken," Brancato's mother, Kim, told Boston 25 News. "That kid was my whole life."

At the time of his disappearance, Brancato was living in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston with his recruiter, Frank Lipka. On Monday, a prosecutor described the 39-year-old Lipka as a person of interest in Brancato's disappearance.

Lipka was in court Monday on an unrelated charge of assault with a dangerous weapon charge. Prosecutors say Lipka pulled a gun on a food delivery man who came to the Roslindale home he and Brancato shared in September.

Lipka was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail and ordered to surrender his passport. The judge in the case also ordered that a GPS monitor be placed on Lipka if he posts bail.

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