Vigil held in memorial of missing ENG graduate

More than 100 people attended a vigil for Boston University alumnus Eric Munsell Saturday at Long Wharf, where Munsell was last seen before police declared him missing on Feb. 9.

Those who attended wore ribbons and lit candles in Munsell’s memory. Family, friends and fellow alumni of Munsell, who graduated from the College of Engineering in 2012, spoke at the vigil.

“Eric has had a huge impact on a huge number of people,” said Keith Munsell, Eric’s father. “He’s a caring, responsible kid who has almost never had an enemy in his life. He tends to surround himself with people similar to him, who have responded with amazing dedication to try to find him. It’s a testament to Eric himself that there’s so many people here, and it makes me feel proud.”

Munsell was last seen celebrating his 24th birthday at Market Lounge, a bar in the Financial District, after being removed from the establishment by a bouncer. Through reviewing security camera footage, police have determined Munsell then walked to Long Wharf.

“There isn’t any video of him falling into the water,” Munsell’s father said. “There still is hope that he didn’t.”

Munsell’s father, who spoke at the vigil, said police, volunteers, and members of Munsell’s family have conducted an exhaustive search for the missing graduate.

“Mostly what I’m focused on now is future positive outcomes,” he said. “Frankly, I think the chances of recovering Eric alive are slim.”

Allison Bitto, who graduated from Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in 2012, also spoke at the vigil. Bitto met Munsell in their junior year at BU, and the couple dated for a little over two years.

“Eric was just the most amazing person you could ever meet,” she said. “He constantly put his family and his friends above thinking about what’s best for Eric. He’s the most responsible person, driven, smart as anything. He just loved life.”

Bitto said she last saw Munsell about two weeks before he went missing.

Boris Virnik, who graduated from ENG in 2012, also spoke at the vigil. He met Munsell during his freshman year at BU.

“We all have a lot of memories with him, and we wanted to take this time to remember those memories,” he said.

Virnik said the number of people who attended the vigil was a testament to the Munsell’s character.

“It just goes to show how many people Eric really impacted with his positive attitude, his humor, his wit and just how loving and caring he was,” he said.

Jeff Prescott, who worked with Munsell at General Electric Aviation, started the “Missing Person – Eric Munsell” Facebook page. Munsell’s father largely credited the page, which has over 1,800 followers, with raising awareness of his son’s disappearance.

“The support is everywhere, and it’s truly amazing,” Prescott said. “The number of comments, texts, calls, people talking in the hall, people sending their love from other states and other countries, it’s amazing. This outreach is just a small percentage of the number of lives that Eric has touched.”

While searching for Munsell by the waterside, a Boston Police Department detective found and saved a man who had just fallen into the Boston Harbor, Munsell’s father said.

“I honestly believe that Eric might have been a part of that. It’s just the kind of thing that he would do. It was truly a miracle,” Munsell’s father said during the vigil. “Unfortunately, the hopes are slim, but all we really can do now is pray for another miracle.”

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