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Police, family still stumped by student’s disappearance

Reservoir near BC is searched


Luzmila Garcia (center) received hugs near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, where police divers scoured the water. Her son, Boston College student Franco Garcia, was last seen by friends on Wednesday.

Each endless day since Franco Garcia simply did not come home, the Boston College student’s mother has waited and prayed and clung hard to the single belief that sustains her: “My son is alive.’’

But yesterday was the sixth day of a police search with maddeningly few clues regarding her son’s fate.

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Luzmila Garcia wore rosary beads, distributed fliers with her son’s picture, and went to Chestnut Hill Reservoir, where authorities concentrated their efforts.

“Maybe something happened to him,’’ she said, standing on the bank with friends, “like he got hit on the head and he’s not thinking clearly right now. Maybe somebody is holding him against his will. If that is what is happening, I just want to say to whoever is holding him: My son loves his family; he loves to play music. Please let him go so he can return to us.’’

Out on the water, State Police divers and a boat equipped with sonar slowly trawled, looking for signs of his body.

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They found nothing.


The search for Franco Garcia will continue today, at the reservoir and in wooded areas nearby.

Authorities say they searched the reservoir because it is situated between the Cleveland Circle bar where Garcia was last seen and the Boston College campus.

“It is not because of a tip or any other information that he is in there,’’ said David Procopio, State Police spokesman.

Garcia lives with his parents in West Newton and has been taking three classes at BC, where he studies chemistry and plays clarinet in the symphony band and trombone in the marching band. He is also a certified pharmacy technician at a CVS in Waltham.

Several of Garcia’s classmates, people who were at the bar with him, retold yesterday how their concern turned to fear after Garcia failed to call family, friends, and his employer.

Garcia arrived at the bar with four friends and met other friends already there. He had a few drinks, but did not appear to be intoxicated, his friends said. They recall last seeing him at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, inside the bar.

“It didn’t seem unusual that he didn’t leave at the same time as us, but we did notice that we didn’t see him specifically after around 12:30,’’ said Rachele Reis, a senior and fellow band member.

“The bar was kind of crowded, big. . . . We figured he was talking to somebody else, that he was on the other side of the bar.’’

Reis said she and others texted Garcia several times, but he did not answer. Then, on Thursday, Luzmila Garcia called several of her son’s friends, saying he failed to return home.

“That’s when we went to police,’’ Reis said.

So far, the search by authorities has utilized canine units, a police helicopter, and the underwater recovery unit. The search of the reservoir will continue today, with divers being towed by boat throughout the reservoir, Procopio said. Additional troopers will also search through wooded areas in the vicinity.

Authorities have received several leads in the case and are following them up, Procopio said.

Brian Ballou can be reached at
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