BOSTON – A body found by divers in Boston Harbor Wednesday has been identified as that of a missing Navy petty officer.
Navy Lt. Paul Brawley confirmed Wednesday night the body recovered just off Long Wharf is that of Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin Willis, 26, of Hatteras Island, N.C.
Boston police spokesman David Estrada said the cause of death was still under investigation.
Members of the Boston Fire Department dive team found Willis' body in about 22 feet of water about 100 yards from the Legal Sea Foods restaurant where he was last seen Friday night where his cell phone was found.
Willis was reported missing after he failed to return to his ship, the Norfolk, Va.-based destroyer USS Donald Cook, on Sunday. The ship made a St. Patrick's Day weekend visit to Boston.
Brawley said Willis had an excellent service record and had received a Navy Achievement Medal for Superior Performance just three days before he disappeared. He was a four-year veteran of the Navy and had served aboard the Donald Cook for the last three years.
"He was a squared away sailor, totally dependable and reliable with spotless record and great career ahead of him," Brawley said.
Willis' father told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper he was informed by Navy officers on Wednesday night.
"Right now, I'm at peace. I'm pleased we found him. I'm glad I can have my son back. He's not gone forever," Tony Willis told newspaper.
Brawley said, "Mr. Willis lost a good son, and we lost a very good sailor. Our deepest sympathies go the Willis family."