A body found in April at the Oregon home of Dennis Day, an original Disney Mouseketeer who disappeared 11 months ago, has been identified as the missing man, state police said Thursday.
The human remains found at Day’s Phoenix, Oregon, home were identified by the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office, although they were unable to use dental records or DNA because of the condition of the remains, according to a press release from the Oregon State Police.
There was no word on the cause of death, nor whether it was the result of foul play or accident. The state police investigation remains ongoing, the press release said.
Day’s niece, Janel Showers, confirmed the death on the “Help Us Find Dennis Day!” Facebook page the family set up.
”Our family would like to take this time to share with you that the remains found in Dennis and (husband) Ernie’s home have been officially identified as our beloved Brother and Uncle, Dennis Day. The cause of death is under investigation by the Oregon State Police so we will not be making any comments or answering any questions at this time,” the post said.
“Our family is truly thankful to the Oregon State Police for helping to bring closure to our family so that we can finally lay Dennis to rest. We love you Brother & Uncle Dennis!”
The body was found April 5 but at the time police did not say where or how long it had been there, nor how it might have been missed during previous searches.
Day, 76, a Mouseketeer with Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club for two years in the mid-1950s, had not been seen since July 2018, when he vanished from Phoenix in rural central Oregon.
He left behind his beloved cat and dog and his partner of more than 45 years, Ernest Caswell, who suffers from dementia-related memory problems and had been hospitalized after a fall and then transferred to assisted care.
In part due to Caswell’s medical problems, there was a two-week delay in reporting Day’s disappearance to police; his family was not notified until six months later and only heard about it on local news reports.
Eventually, Day’s ramshackle home and property were searched along with local cemeteries and canals, to no avail, according to Lt. Jeff Price, second-in-command of the tiny Phoenix police department.
Day’s car was found about 200 miles away on the Oregon coast in the possession of two strangers who claimed Day let them borrow it. It was impounded by state police and later searched, but there was no sign of foul play, Price said.
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