Human remains found at Phoenix home of 'missing Mouseketeer'

Investigators have discovered human remains at a Phoenix home believed to be owned by missing Mouseketeer Dennis Day.

Posted: Apr. 5, 2019 5:28 PM
Updated: Apr. 8, 2019 11:12 AM

PHOENIX, Ore. — After months of silence, there may finally be new developments in the case of a missing Phoenix man perhaps best known for his time as one of the original Disney Mouseketeers — although, to friends and family, 76-year-old Dennis Day is enigmatic yet beloved character who has been gone for far too long without any clues as to his whereabouts.

On Friday, a forensic team and troopers from Oregon State Police (OSP) were seen around a home at 510 North Pine Street in Phoenix, erecting a crime scene tent. Neighbors told NewsWatch 12 that the area had been bustling with police activity for the past several days, although none could explain the renewed interest in the case.

County records indicate that this address is still owned by Day and his husband, Ernest "Ernie" Caswell.

By that evening, OSP had released a statement confirming that investigators from Phoenix Police had discovered human remains at the address, calling in the Medford Assault and Death Investigation Unit (MADIU).

OSP investigators were then assigned to lead the death investigation with assistance from the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Medford Police Department, and the Oregon State Police Forensics Lab.

At this time, OSP said that the human remains have not been identified and the investigation remains ongoing.

Dennis 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 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 "uncharacteristically" 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.

Caswell and hundreds of Day's friends and former colleagues have expressed their concern since Day's disappearance — with friends and family members spreading the word through social media in an attempt to find some word about his location. Despite the campaign, which caught the attention of both local and national media outlets, nothing definitive ever emerged. His case has remained open with the Phoenix Police Missing Persons Department.

Day was a Mouseketeer between 1956 and '57, going on to become an actor and a longtime member of the original California Renaissance Pleasure Faires and Dickens Christmas Fair.

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