Addison County Independent: Breaking News
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — For four long months, hundreds of volunteers and investigators wielding state-of-the-art equipment had combed through Middlebury in an effort to find missing Middlebury College student Nicholas Garza.
That search came to a cathartic end in the Otter Creek in downtown Middlebury on Tuesday with the chance discovery of Garza’s body by the very man who had coordinated the massive search since the college freshman disappeared on campus during the evening of Feb. 5.
“There’s no feeling of exhilaration,” said Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley, who spotted Garza’s remains submerged within a mound of floating wood and other debris that had gathered on the Marble Works side of the Otter Creek, near the base of the falls.
“There’s no celebration here. This is a tragic story with a tragic ending.”
An autopsy was scheduled to be performed at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington on Wednesday to confirm the identity of the deceased and cause of death. But a wallet found within clothing on the remains yielded Garza’s ID, leaving authorities little doubt that the long search for Nick had ended with the anticipated but dreaded results.
The discovery ended a longsuffering vigil for the Garza family, including Nick’s mother, Natalie, and his younger brother, Damon, who had relocated to Middlebury from their native Albuquerque, N.M., to monitor, and participate in, the search.
“On May 27, 2008, our beautiful Nicholas was recovered from Otter Creek,” reads a statement posted by the family on the Web site nicholasgarza.org. “We are filled with unspeakable grief and sadness with the loss of our beloved boy. We thank everyone for their prayers and support.”
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