Apparent Drowning Victim's Identity Confirmed

Firefighters on the shore of the Black River, during the first day of the search for John Villafranco.

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The father-in-law of a man missing and presumed drowned in the Black River has confirmed his identity.

John Villafranco, 24, disappeared into the waters of the Black River on the evening of April 21. He was canoeing near the Eastern Boulevard Bridge in Watertown with his wife Lydia, when the canoe overturned.

Villafranco's father-in-law, Doug Marlow, confirmed his identity for 7 News. He said John Villafranco married his daughter last October in San Antonio, Texas.

"The family is very grateful to the young men who came to their aid," Marlow said, and in particular, Marlow said, the efforts of Matthew Phillips, who provided the rope used in the rescue.

Phillips is one of three Fort Drum soldiers credited with saving Lydia Villafranco's life. In addition, it's believed John Villafranco held his wife above the water.

Aside from his wife, John Villafranco, a native of San Antonio, is survived by his parents, Gilbert and Blanche, and two sisters, Natalie and Monica, both of Texas.

Several days of searching, including the use of sonar, produced no sign of John Villafranco's body.   

Friday, November 28, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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