First-year Rowers Discover Body
State Police say man's death was probably a suicide
During their regularly scheduled practice Saturday morning, the Harvard freshman lightweight crew team found a dead body floating in the Charles River.
The body, which the Massachusetts State Police identified as Charles Zupanic, 21, of Newton, Mass., was discovered two and a half miles upstream of the men's boathouse, past the Arsenal Street Bridge.
State Trooper Bill Robertson said Zupanic was a patient at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric facility specializing in the treatment of chemical dependency and mental illness. The hospital is also a Harvard Medical School teaching facility.
The State Police called the death a probable suicide.
"Zupanic had a history of depression, and there were no visible signs of trauma," said Paul J. Melaragni, a spokesperson for the Middlesex Crime Prevention and Control (CPAC) unit.
However, the Boston Medical Examiner's office, said "the cause of death was not clear-cut" and that additional tests would take at least 10 weeks.
Police officials said they had not yet determined the time of death, but that Zupanic's mother reported him missing on Jan. 25.
"It's possible [the body has] been in there for a month," said CPAC Spokesperson Jim Conley.
Members of the crew team explained that the three Harvard boats were readying for a scrimmage when Assistant Coaches Blocker D. Meitzen and Tim Cullen first spotted the body from their motorized launch. They yelled out a warning to the members of the team.
"At first we thought they were kidding," said Adams E. Rackes '02, "someone joked about how dirty the Charles was."
But as their boat drifted downstream, a team member yelled out "Oh my God, it's a dead body!"
"I could have reached out and touched his head," said coxswain David M. Ross '02, who then urged his teammates to "row, row, row!"
Danial I. Jacobs '02 said the body "was in a typical dead man's float," face down with arms extended. Team members said the body appeared middle aged, "It was completely nauseating," said Rackes,who noted that the entire team was disturbed bythe incident. "Even after seeing dead bodies inmovies, this was different." Meitzen was dropped off on shore to callpolice. This was not the first such occurrence. On Oct.5, 1997, Radcliffe varsity crew also discovered abody floating in the Charles
"It was completely nauseating," said Rackes,who noted that the entire team was disturbed bythe incident. "Even after seeing dead bodies inmovies, this was different."
Meitzen was dropped off on shore to callpolice.
This was not the first such occurrence. On Oct.5, 1997, Radcliffe varsity crew also discovered abody floating in the Charles