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Drones deployed in search for missing Duke student

Posted 5:08 p.m. Friday
Updated 6:09 p.m. Friday

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— The search for a missing Duke University student is expanding, with more law enforcement agencies and others taking part on the ground and drones flying overhead.

Michael Doherty, a 20-year-old rising junior majoring in engineering, was reported missing Sunday after attending a party with friends in his hometown of Franklin, Mass.

His family said Doherty, who had recently returned home for the summer, decided to walk alone in the rain from the party back to his house a mile away. He was reported missing later that day.

On Monday, police found Doherty's sneakers and shirt at the edge of a swamp in the area, but no new clues have been found since.

Police said they don't suspect any foul play in his disappearance.

The search area is difficult terrain to cover on the ground, and authorities said they hope the drones will help map out key areas for searchers to focus on.

Some of Doherty's classmates from Duke have gone up to Massachusetts to join the search, and friends of the Doherty family have also been involved.

"It just seems like more could be done," family friend Tim Nelson said. "I mean, there’s a limited number of law enforcement people, and they have a lot of area to search. So, we thought we could help."

"You can’t even get 10 feet in without sinking into mud and stuff like that. It’s definitely tough," searcher Connor McLaughlin said.

"The conditions were horrendous," Molly Doherty said. "The swamp’s so much bigger than I thought."

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