On Tuesday, more than four weeks after 22-year-old Zachary Marr went missing while celebrating his birthday at a Boston bar, police pulled his body from the Charles River. Authorities have previously said that surveillance camera footage appeared to show him entering the water there.
It wasn’t the first time tragedy has struck at the water’s edge.
Since 2009, authorities searching Boston area waterways recovered the bodies of at least 11 people, mostly young men, who had previously been reported missing, in many cases for days.
But Boston is not the only place where a series of deaths in similar circumstances have occurred within several months or years.
Since 1997, the bodies of at least 10 young men have been pulled from rivers in and around the relatively small city of La Crosse, a college town along the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, according to news reports.
In numerous other communities, including other Midwest cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee, there have been clusters of cases of young men turning up dead in the water.
In New Jersey, the bodies of three young men have been pulled from the Hudson River within the past two years alone, news reports say.
In England, 61 bodies, mostly of young men, were recovered from the canals of Greater Manchester between 2008 and 2014, according to media outlets there.
In Boston, as in other places, police have said the vast majority of the deaths were accidents or suicides. Often, drugs or alcohol were involved, according to authorities. In some instances, weather conditions were also bad.
The seemingly high number of cases, coupled with their apparent similarities, has prompted curiosity over the years, and even speculation that the deaths may somehow be connected and the work of a serial killer or killers.
But law enforcement officials working the cases — including the FBI, which weighed in on the Midwest cases — have stressed that they have found no connection between them.
Police in some cities, including Boston, have noted that the number of people rescued after falling or jumping into area waterways was significantly higher than the number of such cases that resulted in death. But the non-fatal cases are typically not well-documented.
Even certain fatal cases may receive less attention than others if, for example, the person hadn’t first been reported as missing.
“Many of these cases are clearly accidental, others are clearly suicides, and in some the evidence doesn’t point conclusively in one direction or another, but there are no signs of trauma or other indications of foul play,” Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office, told the Globe last month.
In some places, officials have searched for solutions, including meeting with bar owners or exploring the idea of building barriers around waterways. But so far, no practical ways to prevent such cases have been found.
“In most cases, it’s nothing suspicious, just an overuse of alcohol,” former Boston police commissioner Edward F. Davis told the Globe.