Body Pulled from Turners Falls Canal Identified as UMass Amherst Student Who Disappeared Jan. 29

March 19, 1999

Contact:

AMHERST, Mass. - The identity of a body discovered late March 18 in the Turners Falls power canal has been confirmed as that of Jose Figueroa, 22, of Everett, a senior at the University of Massachusetts. David Angier, First Assistant District Attorney in the Northwestern District Attorney''s Office, officially confirmed Figueroa''s identification late today, based on a report from the chief medical examiner.

Angier says an autopsy performed earlier today showed that Figueroa died as the result of asphyxiation by drowning. According to Angier, there is no suggestion of foul play involved in Figueroa''s death, and no further investigation is planned at this time.

Javier Cevallos, interim vice chancellor for student affairs, said: "We are much saddened to have our worst fears confirmed in Jose''s death. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and all who knew him."

Figueroa had been missing since the early morning hours of Friday Jan. 29, when he was last seen in Turners Falls leaving the home of a friend. His disappearance was the subject of an investigation by the Montague police, Massachusetts State Police detectives, and University police.

At 4:25 p.m. March 18, an official exploration of the Turners Falls power canal located the body of an unidentified male in the area of the Cabot power station. According to the Montague police, divers from the Massachusetts State Police, the Northfield and South Hadley dive teams, and the Montague police, assisted by Northeast Utilities, the Turners Falls Fire Department, and the Silvio Conte Fish Lab, participated in the search of the canal. Figueroa lived on campus, in Brett residence hall.

He was a major in finance and operations management. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.