October 13 2019
The body of former actor Dennis W. Day, who was a member of popular 1950s television show "The Mickey Mouse Club," has been identified in Oregon almost a year after he was reported missing, his family said.
Day, 76, was identified from remains found in April at the Phoenix, Oregon, home he shared with his husband, the family said in a Facebook statement on Thursday.
The remains "have been officially identified as our beloved brother and uncle Dennis Day," the statement said. "The cause of death is under investigation by the Oregon State Police."
Day's partner had reported him missing in July 2018.
Day married Henry Ernest Caswell, his partner since the early 1970s, in 2009. Day and Caswell at one time ran a guesthouse for gay actors in San Francisco; from the 1960s until the early 1980s, Day worked for the Living History Centre, producing Renaissance and Dickens Christmas fairs, playing Newington Butts at the Renaissance fairs and also coaching other actors. They moved in the mid-1980s to Oregon, first settling in Ashland, and then in Phoenix, where they had a house.
He appeared on the "The Mickey Mouse Club" in 1956 and 1957 and then quit professional acting.
"The Mickey Mouse Club," a variety show started by Walt Disney that featured teens performing song and dance numbers, helped launch the careers of Annette Funicello and Cubby O'Brien.
His partner Caswell, who has dementia, was admitted to the hospital with a broken leg. Day reportedly left on foot, telling a third housemate, a live-in handyman, that he was going to visit friends, but his cat and dog were left behind, and the dog was found roaming by neighbors. One neighbor had a letter written by Day mentioning being assaulted by the handyman, who told police that Day was also exhibiting signs of mental problems. After Caswell reported Day missing, his car was found in the possession of people approximately 200 miles away who said that they had permission to take it, according to the police possibly in exchange for helping the handyman. Friends began asking for help locating him starting in November that year, and in February 2019, after his family learned of his disappearance, his case was featured on an episode of Dateline NBC.
Police had searched Day's residence and elsewhere, but in early April 2019 human remains were discovered on the property. On June 6, 2019, it was announced that the remains were confirmed as those of Day, though a cause of death was not announced
Photo: Dennis W. Day