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Missing Navy vet dead for 3 years before body discovered in his apartment

Police Line Crime Scene. (Tony Webster/WikiCommons)
November 25, 2019

After being missing for around three years, the body of a decorated Navy veteran has finally been found inside his home.

Ronald Wayne White’s completely decomposed body was found by the at the DeSoto Town Center Apartments on East Pleasant Run Road by maintenance staff, when they entered multiple apartments to identify water issues, ABC 8 News reported.

When maintenance workers got to White’s apartment, they found the door was bolted shut. When they finally got the door open, they found White’s body on the kitchen floor.

White’s grief-stricken family wants answers to their many questions — namely how White remained in the apartment for so long without being discovered.

At the time of his death, White would have been 51 years old. He was a Navy veteran who worked for a defense contractor and had traveled extensively.

White’s mother, Doris Stevens said, “My son would call me at least twice a month. He would call me from Egypt. He would call me from the Philippines. He would call me right from Dallas.”

White’s lease was month-to-month and was automatically deducted from his Navy retirement account. Without interruptions in his rent payment, and landlords accustomed to his frequent travels, White remained undetected inside his home.

Stevens said she first became suspicious when her son didn’t reply when she tried to call him on his birthday in April of 2017.

Stevens tried to report him as a missing person but that never worked out since he was an adult and was known to travel. An eventual effort to search his prior addresses also turned up empty-handed.

Living in Long Island, N.Y., Stevens said she had limited funds and the family was unable to hire a private investigator.

“All them days, holidays, I just suffered. Because nobody wanted to help find him,” Stevens said.

She added, “When the medical examiner told me three years, my knees gave away. Three years? And that’s what I can’t get past in my brain. I can’t get past three years. My biggest question is, how in the world could my son have been dead in that apartment and nobody knows anything?”

DeSoto Police Department detective, Pete Schulte said, “What I can tell you is it is very clear when officers entered that he had been there for a while.”

White kept his windows closed and he did live on the third floor of the complex, making it difficult for others to detect a problem.

Schulte said, “The way he was found, the way the apartment was arranged and so forth, there was zero indication of foul play.” said Schulte.

Police said they found White’s diabetes medicine with a prescription label dated to 2016. White’s mother verified that her son was indeed a diabetic.

White also had a gray Ford F-150 pickup truck that has been parked in the complex garage and while it was dust-covered, it was never reported as questionable.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. White during this difficult time. Mr. White was frequently out of the country and his bills were paid through automatic withdrawals from his accounts,” a public relations firm representing DeSoto Town Center said in a statement. “Our maintenance personnel discovered his body when they identified and responded to a service issue at his apartment. We are cooperating with the police as they investigate this incident.”

Stevens said, “I can’t hardly cope with it to be honest with you. And if I wasn’t around them [her son’s friends], I probably wouldn’t. I can’t hardly deal with it.”

A fellow Navy veteran, Jerry Hannon, who was White’s friend said, “It is sadness to see that a veteran, a decorated veteran, had to go out like this.”

Funeral arrangements are reportedly awaiting a series of tests by a medical examiner to determine White’s cause of death.