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Body of missing 23-year-old pulled from the Charles

A flier featuring photos of Michael Kelleher, who had been missing since March. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The parents of Michael Kelleher, a 23-year-old Southborough man who had been missing since March, said his body was found in the Charles River Sunday morning.

“Sadly, Michael was claimed by the Charles River the night of his disappearance . . . this morning, the river gave him back to us,” said Kelleher’s father, Mike Kelleher Sr., in a Facebook posting. The post was shared by Lori Tavella Kelleher, Kelleher’s mother.

Around 9:10 a.m., a passerby spotted a body in the eastern end of the river, at the locks, said State Police spokesman Dave Procopio. The State Police Marine Unit recovered the body several minutes later.


The Suffolk district attorney’s office, State Police, and Boston police declined to officially identify the body Sunday.

Kelleher, a waiter at the Margaritas Mexican Restaurant in Northborough, was last seen leaving TD Garden after a Celtics game on March 29.

Kelleher’s mother had written many times on her Facebook page about the disappearance of her son, that he went to the game with a co-worker and was drunk when he left.

The co-worker waited by her car to drive Kelleher home, but when he did not meet her, she left, said his mother, who told the Globe that the co-worker’s story regarding Kelleher’s plans to get home that night had changed multiple times.

State Police were able to determine that Kelleher had tried to call for an Uber, his mother said. His debit and credit cards were not used after the game.

His family launched a frantic campaign, posting flyers all over the city, leading searches, and starting a “Help Find Michael Kelleher” Facebook page.

Divers had searched the river nearby to no avail before the discovery of the body Sunday morning.

Investigators saw no obvious signs of physical trauma on the body or of foul play, said Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley.


The manner and cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Within minutes of the Facebook post by Kelleher’s father, the news had been shared hundreds of times, with more than a hundred comments mourning the young man’s death.

Many of the commenters expressing heartbreak said they didn’t know Kelleher or his family, but had followed his parents’ panicked search on social media and were saddened by the outcome.

For weeks, his mother had flooded her Facebook page with pleas for the public to be on the lookout for any sign of her son. She frequently shared photos of him — including one of the two of them together, smiling in green Celtics attire. Kelleher had posted it in 2016 with the caption, “My beautiful date and I getting ready to watch Boston beat on Toronto!!”

“We would also like to thank everyone who prayed for Michael’s safe return, forwarded pics, gave ideas to find him, canvassed all of Boston and Cambridge with his ‘Missing’ flyers, spoke to the media, detectives, police, and PI,” said Kelleher’s father in the Facebook statement.

His family asked for privacy as they grieved.

Information about services for Kelleher will be released once plans are made, they said.

Nicole Fleming can be reached at nicole.fleming@globe.com.