Parents of missing Franklin man thank community for support as search continues

FRANKLIN, MA (WHDH) - The parents of a missing Franklin man thanked the community for their support and said they hope their son will be found more than three days after he was reported missing.

After scouring the area of Phyllis Lane in Franklin for Michael Doherty, 20, authorities shifted their search efforts Tuesday to Bellingham.

“We are desperately hoping Michael can come home,” said Doherty’s mother, Nancy. “We are devastated, heartbroken and wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”

A K9 dog picked up the scent of the Duke University student, leading crews to the area of Pine and Maple streets, but nothing turned up.

RELATED: Search for Franklin man continues after shirt, sneaker found in marsh

Crews planned to search higher ground and rough terrain throughout the day on Wednesday. Initial search efforts focused on a wooded area and a swampy marsh, where a shirt and sneaker was pulled from the water.

“Everybody, all the searchers and rescuers, are desperate to find him,” Franklin’s Deputy Police Chief Jim Mill said Wednesday morning.

Doherty’s parents told police on Sunday that their son had not returned home the previous night. He was last seen at a party with friends around 1 a.m. that morning.

“He had a planned ride home. He decided to stay at the party longer. He texted his brother around 12:30 a.m., and said ‘can you come get me?’ They were asleep. My oldest didn’t see it until 3:30 a.m.,” said Nancy Doherty.

Fighting back tears, Nancy Doherty said her son had just returned home from Duke for summer vacation and had plans to take a job at the local supermarket.

“He worked with the football team. He had more Duke clothing than I had ever seen in my life. He just loved it,” Nancy Doherty said of her son.

RELATED: Vigil held for missing Franklin man as search continues

More than 30 people from the party where Doherty was last seen were interviewed by detectives. State Police called in an air team to assist with the search.

Michael’s father Dan said the support of the community has been important in such a difficult time.

“It’s, I think the only thing, the only reason why we’re still standing,” said Dan Doherty.

A prayer vigil was held Tuesday night in honor of Doherty, an engineering student at Duke.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Franklin or Bellingham police.

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