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Police: Body found at Phoenix home identified as 'missing Mouseketeer' Dennis Day

Facebook / 'Help Us Find Dennis Day!' group

After months of waiting, a family member of Dennis Day said that his remains have been identified. The information was corroborated by police.

Posted: Jun 6, 2019 4:16 PM
Updated: Jun 6, 2019 5:00 PM

PHOENIX, Ore. — In early April, an extensive search at the home of a missing Phoenix man resulted in the discovery of human remains. At the time, investigators were unable to identify the body.

On Thursday, a family member of 76-year-old Dennis Day posted on Facebook that those remains did indeed belong to Day, the "missing Mouseketeer." Oregon State Police later confirmed the information.

"Our family would like to take this time to share with you that the remains found in Dennis and Ernie’s home have been officially identified as our beloved Brother and Uncle, Dennis Day," Day's niece Janel Woolsey Showers said in a Facebook post to the group 'Help Us Find Dennis Day!'

Within moments of Woolsey Showers' post, dozens of comments bearing heartfelt condolences and memories of Day came flowing in.

NewsWatch 12 spoke with Day's niece on Thursday, but she said that she would not comment on the investigation.

As a young man, Day was one of the original Disney Mouseketeers, and he continued pursuing his enduring love of the arts and theatre throughout his life.

Day was last seen in mid-July of 2018. According to missing persons reports that began circulating in the months following his disappearance, Day had left his home on July 15 after his husband Ernie Caswell was hospitalized in Medford. Caswell apparently suffered from some degree of dementia or age-related memory loss.

Reportedly telling Caswell that he was going to visit some friends, Day left his dog with a temporary housemate. He has not been seen since.

"Sometime after Dennis' departure, the family car also disappeared and was found on July 26 along the Oregon coast, being driven by persons unknown to Day's friends," Day's missing poster reads.

According to the poster, the driver of that 1996 Ford Escort wagon told police that "Day had given them permission to use it." Investigators did not find any forensic evidence in the vehicle — nor any signs of struggle or foul play.

Since the discovery of human remains at the Day and Caswell home in April, Oregon State Police have said that they were awaiting the results of DNA samples that had been sent to a lab for testing.

In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, OSP confirmed that the state Medical Examiner's office had identified the body through "investigation, evidence, and other information."

"Despite their efforts, investigators were unable to utilize dental records or DNA due to the condition of the remains," the agency said.

The manner and cause of Day's death remain under investigation.

"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," Woolsey Showers said.

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