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Marine Recruiter Linked To Missing Man Faces Charges In Unrelated Case

BOSTON (CBS) – A Marine gunnery sergeant linked to a missing Marine recruit faced charges Monday in an unrelated case.

Frank Lipka, 39, of Roslindale, was arraigned in West Roxbury Municipal Court for assault with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of ammunition. The charges are in connection with an incident with a delivery person in September 2017.

Lipka was arrested Friday on charges unrelated to Joey Brancato's disappearance. But the 21-year-old was staying with the recruiter in Roslindale when he was last seen alive back on November 18.

Frank Lipka
Joseph Brancato (left) and Frank Lipka (WBZ-TV)

"I am going to find him and I won't give up," said Andrea Brancato, Joey's aunt.

Brancato's family came to court hoping to get a look at Lipka, but he was allowed to hide out of sight during his arraignment.

"I really wanted to look him in the eyes," Andrea Brancato said. "I wanted him to see that we care about Joey."

So far police searches in Hyde Park and West Roxbury have turned up nothing.

Lipka had been in military custody in South Carolina for an unrelated case. He was arrested when he returned to Boston Friday. He has not been charged in connection with Brancato's disappearance.

Through their investigation, Boston Police detectives learned about the September 2017 incident in which Lipka allegedly assaulted a pizza delivery driver with a gun. A worker says Lipka threatened them because they had forgotten his hot sauce.

Court documents also show Lipka was arrested in January for drunk driving and leaving the scene of property damage.

Brancato's family was hoping for answers Monday.

"Somebody knows something and they're not coming forward and I wish they were in my shoes and know what I'm going through that they would come forward, because if it can happen to me it can happen to anybody," Brancato's grandmother Midge LeBaron told reporters Monday. "He didn't deserve just disappearing, he wanted to be a Marine so bad."

The Brancato family is offering a reward for any information leading to Joseph's whereabouts.

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