BOSTON (CBS) – There is a new development in the disappearance of Marine recruit Joseph Brancato from Winthrop. WBZ-TV has learned the recruiter the 21-year-old was living with is now under arrest, but the charges are not related to the disappearance.

Brancato’s family is desperate for answers. A military spokesman tells WBZ the recruiter, Marine Gunnery Sergeant Frank Lipka, is in custody at a brig in Charleston, South Carolina.

“Hopefully now that they have him in custody, they’ll get more information, leading to the whereabouts of Joey,” said Andrea Brancato Walke, Joseph’s aunt.

lipka2 Roslindale Marine Recruiter Under Arrest In South Carolina

Joseph Brancato and Frank Lipka (WBZ-TV)

Sources say he was picked up last Tuesday. The military says Lipka’s charges are not related to the disappearance of Brancato.

“They said they would hold Frank Lipka for a month, so they’ll have him for a month,” Brancato Walke said.

Brancato’s family told WBZ he was living with Lipka in Roslindale when he vanished. Brancato has not been seen or heard from since November 18.

Boston Police along with agents from the Naval Criminal Intelligence Service have twice searched Turtle Pond and wooded areas around it in West Roxbury and Hyde Park, but have released few details on what they say is a very active investigation. Sources say investigators have strong leads in the case.

“I mean there is still hope that he is alive out there but if he’s not we need to find him regardless,” Brancato Walke said.

The Brancato family says they’re not giving up hope. They’ll be doing a search of their own this weekend. They’re also offering a $1,500 reward for any information leading to his whereabouts.


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