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Franklin Police Searching For Missing College Student

FRANKLIN (CBS) -- A massive search is underway in Franklin, where police are braving rough terrain and wet weather to look for a missing college student.

Michael Doherty, 20, was last seen around 1:30 a.m. Sunday in the area of Phyllis Lane, wearing a blue T-shirt with a Nike logo, black pants and sneakers. He's white, 5-feet 10-inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes.

Doherty is a junior mechanical engineering major at Duke University who was home for summer break.

Michael Doherty
Michael Doherty. (Photo credit: Franklin Police)

His family says he was out with friends at a party on Phyllis Lane when he left alone early Sunday morning. He never made it back to his home on Catherine Avenue, nearly a mile away.

Doherty charged his cell phone a little bit before leaving the home. Police say his phone has shown no activity since then.

"He was coherent," friend Shawn Henley said. "He was talking."

Friends told WBZ-TV's Christina Hager that Doherty's T-shirt and a shoe were found Sunday in the area now being searched. A second shoe was found on the edge of a nearby golf course on Monday.

Investigators are urging residents to check the area outside their homes, including any sheds or detached buildings.

"They were going through people's back yards with this big German shepherd," said neighbor Pat Henry.

Police are using K-9's, as well as motorboats, canoes and drones as they comb through a swampy area off of Oak Street extension.

"When it rains the way it's been raining, I'm sure there's water deep on both sides ... I'm sure it's 5-6 feet deep," said neighbor Pat Henry.

franklin search
A Norfolk Fire Dept. boat searching a swamp in Franklin for missing Duke University student Michael Doherty Monday. (WBZ-TV)

Bad weather kept a Massachusetts State Police Air Wing helicopter grounded, but by late morning, it had joined the search--along with two drones.

Several other agencies joined the search Monday, including state environmental police, whose officers are trained in navigating woods and swamps.

Meanwhile, police were trying to talk with the people with whom Doherty was last seen.

Friends and family gathered at search site, where they anxiously waited for news.

"I'm real sad about it," Henry said. "I'm kind of lost for words, to he honest with you. I just hope they find him alive."

"It's a local family, and we just hope for the best," said another neighbor.

In a statement, Duke University said they were aware Doherty was missing and said they would help the authorities as requested.

"Our thoughts are with Michael and his family for a quick and positive outcome," the statement read.

Anyone who has seen Doherty should call Franklin Police immediately at (508) 528-1212.

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