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EXCLUSIVE: BPD Investigates if Foul Play Led to Young Man’s Near-Death Dip in Boston Harbor

ILLUSTRATION: The Daily Beast/Elizabeth Brockway

By Mike Saccone | 30 December 2021

LIVE BOSTON 617 — In the early morning hours of Nov. 28, Boston police officers on random patrol came across a partially clothed 23-year-old man outside 470 Atlantic Avenue. The man was wet and shivering, wearing only a t-shirt, underwear and one sock. He told police he fell into the Boston Harbor. He estimated he was in the water for about 20 minutes. The officers brought the man inside the lobby of the building to warm up. Boston EMS transported the man to Massachusetts General Hospital. On Thursday, Boston Police Detective Sgt. John Boyle confirmed the department is investigating if the man consumed a “spiked” drink before he ended up in the Boston Harbor.

The man’s story is eerily similar to that of a dozen other college-aged men who, over the course of the last decade, were reported missing after a night out in Boston with friends. The bodies of the men were later found in either the Boston Harbor or the Charles River. Their deaths were ultimately ruled accidental or undetermined drownings.

In 2019, Rolling Stone published a report exploring whether the drownings were actually the work of the “Smiley Face Killers.” One of the men who drowned was William Hurley, a 24-year-old Navy veteran. His body was found in the Charles River in 2009. The magazine reported: “Hurley’s death was eventually ruled an undetermined drowning, with the police stating that they found no evidence of foul play. Yet people who were close to Hurley — including [his then girlfriend] — have disputed these claims, pointing to his damaged cellphone as well as injuries indicating blunt-force trauma, and a toxicology report that found high levels of GHB, commonly known as the date-rape drug.” […]

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