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Marine recruit found dead months after going missing to be remembered at service

Joseph Brancato.

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By LAUREL J. SWEET | Boston Herald | Published: April 3, 2018

WINTHROP, Mass. (Tribune News Service) — The family of a young Marine Corps recruit from Winthrop whose body was found last week more than four months after he went missing will say their goodbyes to Joseph “Joey” Brancato with an understated service Tuesday night.

Visiting hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Maurice W. Kirby Funeral Home on Winthrop Street in Winthrop.

At 7 p.m., the Rev. Jim Leo, deacon of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop, will offer prayers for Brancato and his family, according to Brancato’s cousin Nicole DaSilva.

DaSilva said yesterday it was the family’s wish to keep this evening simple because they’ve already endured so much.

“For us, at this point, it’s about honoring Joey’s memory, that he was days away from leaving for boot camp. ... And we appreciate so much the support we have received from everyone around us,” DaSilva said.

The remains of Brancato, 21, were discovered last Wednesday off Interstate 95 south in Canton by a motorist who’d pulled into the breakdown lane.

Brancato was living in Roslindale and waiting to report to basic training at Paris Island when he vanished in mid-November.

The cause and manner of his death remain under investigation, according to David Traub, spokesman for Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey.

Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Michael Lafleur last week identified a former Boston-based Marine recruiter, Frank Lipka, 39, of Roslindale, as “a person of interest” in Brancato’s disappearance.

Lipka, who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been held on $10,000 bail since his arraignment last week in West Roxbury Municipal Court on unrelated charges of assaulting a delivery person last September.

Lipka was arrested by Boston police March 23 at Logan International Airport two days after he was released from military custody for what Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Gerard R. Farao told the Herald last week were charges of drunken driving, absence without authorization from work and an altercation with two Marines in his unit.

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