(Michele McDonald for The Boston Globe)
More than six weeks after Boston College student Franco Garcia disappeared, authorities have hit a dead end, a private investigator working with his family says.
“There isn’t anything new – no sightings, no items found, we don’t have his wallet, there’s no activity on his bank card,” said Justin Billard, the investigator.
Garcia, a 21-year-old chemistry major, disappeared shortly after midnight on Feb. 22 after leaving the popular bar Mary Ann’s, near BC’s campus. He never returned to his parents' West Newton home, where he also lived. Police have found no trace of him since his disappearance.
Billard said in a case like Garcia's, some item of the missing person’s is usually found. Since a search of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir found no sign of Garcia and no other evidence has surfaced, Billard said there is reason to believe he is alive.
“We believe he met someone or went somewhere, but we don’t know where,” he said.
However, Billard said there also is a growing concern as time goes on, especially since there has been no activity on Garcia’s bank card.
“We like to think he’s out there and has the resources to take care of himself,” he said.
Billard said there are documented cases of missing people returning home after as long as two years.
“People suddenly resurface,” he said. “The hope is still there that it could happen.”
A spokesman for Newton police said simply that the investigation is continuing.
During this Holy Week, Garcia’s family is holding on to hope he will return and continuing their search, a family friend said.
Genoveva Tavera, who watched Garcia grow up, said that his parents are practicing Catholics and that masses this Holy Week are important to them.
Garcia’s family attended Palm Sunday Mass on April 1 at St. Jude Parish in Waltham where a prayer was said for Garcia. Garcia’s family celebrated Holy Thursday in his honor at St. Mary Parish, also in Waltham.
They plan to continue attending masses throughout Holy Week, Tavera said.
“Faith is not only comfort, it’s keeping them strong,” she said. “They have faith with time Franco will return home.”
At BC, students said that as each week passes without Garcia's return, they feel more unsettled about the case.
“At first I was shocked to hear that someone was missing,' said Jacqueline Delgado, a sophomore. "We’ve had deaths on campus and things like that, but this is so ambiguous, it makes it harder to deal with."
Still, Garcia has not been forgotten. Missing-person posters still hang on nearly every campus building and students said they remain hopeful.
“I think it’s sad how people have moved on, but no one knows what to do at this point,” said freshman Christine Haverly. “All we can do is hope.”
This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.