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Missing student’s family holds out hope

Body pulled from river isn’t Jonathan Dailey’s

Six days after graduate student Jonathan Dailey was last seen in his Allston apartment, his family held out hope that the introverted North Carolina native may have just needed solitude and sought the peace of the outdoors.

“One thing we’re focusing on is that there are a lot of nature preserves in the surrounding area,” Spencer Hoffman, Dailey’s brother-in-law, said by phone Monday night from Charlotte. “If he did leave on his own accord and unplug from the world . . . then we would suspect that he would be near those types of places.”

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Hoffman, 33, who is married to Dailey’s older sister Robyn, said the 23-year-old student at Boston Architectural College is an Eagle Scout who loves the outdoors and is sometimes a risk-taker. But Dailey has never been out of touch with his parents for an extended period or left without telling anyone his destination, he said.

“There have been a few scares,” Hoffman said, noting speculation that a body found Monday morning in the Charles River could have been Dailey. But State Police said the body, which they had tentatively identified, was that of an older man.

For Dailey’s family members, who attend a nondenominational church near their home in Charlotte, prayer has provided comfort during the long hours and days of waiting.

“We couldn’t imagine going through this without some type of hope,” Hoffman said of the family’s faith. “It definitely provides a glimmer of light that wouldn’t be there otherwise.”

Several Boston-area churches have also helped with efforts to locate Dailey, Hoffman said, as have the nonprofit group LostNMissing Inc. and many individual volunteers. Groups have canvassed Allston with fliers bearing Dailey’s face and description and have spoken to ­local business owners and others who might have seen him.

‘One thing we’re focusing on is that there are a lot of nature preserves in the surrounding area.’

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“We feel like the fliers are one of the best ways of reaching the community,” Hoffman said.

The family hopes someone who has seen Dailey will recognize his photo, or that Dailey will himself see the fliers and get in touch.

So far, Hoffman said, police have no leads, but officers have been cooperative with the family. A Boston police spokeswoman said Monday that the investigation was still very active, and police were seeking the public’s help.

The body recovered from the Charles River near the Boston University boathouse was that of a 62-year-old man, authorities said. They said the death did not appear to be suspicious.

State Police did not identify the man until his family could be notified, but said he had been treated Sunday in Cambridge Hospital after sustaining injuries from falling on the sidewalk. He was intoxicated at the time, and police said he might have been homeless. He was treated and released a few hours later.

The victim was found fully clothed. The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office.

Boston University police had notified state authorities around 8:15 a.m. of a body floating in the river. Investigators quickly determined the victim was not Dailey.

Dailey was last seen wearing a button-down shirt and white shorts. He is 5-feet-9 and weighs 160 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He has a tattoo of a black stripe on his left bicep.

Anyone with information on Dailey can reach police at 617-343-4256 or use the anonymous tip line by calling 1-800-494-TIPS or by texting the word “tip” to 27463.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox. Peter Schworm can be reached at schworm@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.
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