June 2019 Update: According to the Associated Press, Oregon police have confirmed that the body found on the property of former Mouseketeer Dennis Day is in fact that of the child actor. Police have said that the body was too decomposed to use either dental records or DNA to help in this matter.
Day’s niece has issued a statement thanking everyone who had offered their support during this troubling time, as well as thanking the police: “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.”
The original story follows below.
Police in the state of Oregon had been on the lookout for former Mouseketeer, Dennis Day. The child star was in his 70s when he was reported missing in the summer of 2018 after leaving to “visit friends” during which time he left his dog in the care of another friend. Day had been living in the small town of Phoenix, OR, with his husband for many years.
Day left behind husband, Ernie Caswell, as well as one dog and one cat when he allegedly went to visit friends on foot one day. Caswell suffers from memory loss and now resides in an assisted care facility. The couple had a roommate at the time who had been using Day’s credit card, he said with permission from Day.
Dennis Day has not been seen since July, when he vanished from his small town of Phoenix, Oregon. https://t.co/W5yVKYxJjk
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) February 28, 2019
Seeing no signs of a struggle inside the home or inside Day’s car (which was found being driven by strangers in another town), the police were stumped as to the whereabouts of Day. However, the police have recently found a body at Day’s home.
While the speculation so far is that the body is that of Day, decomposition and a lack of dental records or identification on the body means that the police have not yet positively identified Day at the moment.
The question lingers (among many others) of how the police did not find the body when the home was previously searched. We may never know the answer to that question. However, what the police have said so far is that the body was found with the help of cadaver-sniffing dogs. The police have not released where exactly on Day’s property the body was found.
#INVESTIGATION: Crime scene tape surrounds the home of 76yo Dennis Day, the former Mouseketeer who went missing from his Phoenix home in July of 2018. Neighbors tell me forensic and other emergency cars were in and out of the house all day. @KTVL pic.twitter.com/YVOhLCWrLo
— Genevieve Grippo (@genevieve_ktvl) April 6, 2019
Day was born in 1942 and had been dancing and performing since he was a small child. Day had been one of the first Mouseketeers hired for the new show, The Mickey Mouse Club, in 1955 and had been one of the 10 retained for the second season of the show as well.
Since the Mouseketeer days, Day had dabbled in various mediums like acting in commercials and teaching acting and dance. Day and Caswell had been together since the early 1970s and were married in 2009, but due to Caswell’s dementia and health problems he sadly did not report Day missing for weeks. Day’s family were not notified of his missing status until months later (in December of 2018) and have since remarked that the entire case has been handled poorly.
We will keep this space updated as to the findings on the body that was found on Day’s property. So far, it seems very likely that the corpse is that of Day.