'That kid was my whole life': Missing Marine recruit's body found on I-95

BOSTON — The body found in a wooded area off I-95 South in Canton on Wednesday is Joey Brancato, the Marine recruit missing since November.

A family member confirmed to Boston 25 News police had asked them to sign off on dental records for Brancato to see if the remains found were that of the missing Marine recruit. After examining, the family was told by police that the body is Brancato.

"Twenty-one years old. He had his whole life ahead of him. All he wanted to do was be a Marine," Brancato’s mother, Kim, told Boston 25 News.

Officials were called to I-95 in Canton near the Neponset Street exit Wednesday afternoon after a person who had pulled over to help another driver saw human remains.

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Brancato's family told Boston 25 News the body found matched Joey's description so police asked Brancato's father for permission to examine and compare dental records.

"Just for my baby to be on the side of the road for all that time, it kills me, I don't know how one human can do that to another," Kim Brancato said.

Police say the autopsy did not immediately show a cause or manner of death. It remains undetermined and under investigation pending further testing, according to the Norfolk District Attorney's Office.

“I’m lost. I’m completely broken. That kid was my whole life,” Kim Brancato said.

Detectives have been investigating the disappearance of Joey Brancato since he was last seen in November. Brancato was living with his recruiter, Frank Lipka, in Lipka's Roslindale apartment -- which is a violation of Marine regulations.

Authorities believe Lipka was the last person to see Brancato alive.

Brancato's family also suspects Lipka had something to do with Joey's disappearance. They say just days before Joey vanished, he warned friends that Lipka had threatened him.

"If Frank is the person responsible for the death of Joey that he is held accountable and punished to the fullest extent of the law. We're not going to stop," said Brancato's cousin Nicole DaSilva.

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Lipka was in court on Monday for assault and weapons charges for an incident in September when a food delivery driver told police that Lipka threatened him with a gun.

During that court appearance was the first time officials formally named Lipka as a person of interest in Brancato's disappearance.

The investigation is ongoing.