Human remains found inside the Oregon home of entertainer Dennis Day are believed to be those of the original Mouseketeer. Though officials have not confirmed Day is dead, his sister shared a post on Facebook referring to her brother as being in Heaven.
Day, who would have turned 76 on Sunday, was reported missing in July of 2018. If the body is that of Day, which appears to be now widely reported but not confirmed, it’s not clear why he was not located sooner given where his body was discovered.
Day, who was one of the original cast members of the Mickey Mouse Club in the mid-1950s, disappeared from the small town of Phoenix, Oregon.
Day told his partner of a near half-century Ernest Caswell, that he was off to visit friends. Caswell, who suffers from dementia had been hospitalized and now lives in a nursing facility, alerted friends. and police were called.
A search was made of his home, property and nearby woods and waterways, it was reported. But, his car was found hundreds of miles away being used by two people who said they’d borrowed it. Friends of Day’s said they did not know the people who had Day’s car. Police searched it and said there was no sign of foul play. That was nearly nine months ago.
A Facebook page was created by family and friends to help find the missing man. Now, the page is filled with sadness and grief.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Day Vanished on July 15, 2018. He’d Left His Cat Behind & Strangers Had His Car But Cops Did Not Suspect Foul Play. Day’s Body Was Found Inside His House 9 Months Later
Day vanished on July 15, 2018. His family and friends said, “uncharacteristically left his dog in the care of a temporary housemate.”
Day’s husband Caswell, who family said “suffers from a degree of age related memory loss,” was hospitalized. After spending time with him, Day told Caswell he was off to see friends and was not seen again.
The family was notified that his car was found on the Oregon coast in the possession of people who Day’s friends said they did not know and had not given permission to take the car. But authorities told the family that “no forensic evidence was found in the vehicle to suggest any struggle or foul play had occurred …”
2. The ‘Help Us Find Dennis Day!’ Facebook Page Was Hopeful But Now is a Site for Mourning & Celebrating His Life
Filled with scores of images from Day’s life, including his years as a Mouseketeer, the ‘Help Us Find Dennis Day’ Facebook group was created to share, and seek, information on Day’s whereabouts. With more than 1200 members, the page has been active since November and on it are scores of images of Day beginning as a teen who was part of the Mickey Mouse Club, which premiered on television in 1955.
The page shared the details: “Last seen 7/15/18 in Phoenix, Oregon, 76 Yrs Old, 5’7 White Male, Gray/Brown Hair, Approx 150 lbs, Missing from Phoenix, Oregon Jackson County.
Welcome to the group dedicated to finding our beloved Dennis Day! Please invite others; also please share information from this group and help spread the word. Remember to make your shares ‘public’ for maximum visibility.”
There was also an anonymous tipline provided, 888-980-6450. The line is still active.
There are many questioning the entire case. What cannot be reconciled, many say, is that police say they searched his home last summer after he was reported missing yet his remains were found inside his rural Phoenix, Oregon home on April 4.
A short-lived GoFundMe raised around $700 to assist in the search for Day.
Posted on the page Sunday, a friend wrote:
“One thing is sure. Dennis was an honest man and a great storyteller, and as any forensic anthropologist can tell you, ‘The bones don’t lie.’ Speak to us old friend. We probably won’t like it, but tell us what happened.”
3. Day Came Out as Gay in the 1960s & ‘Illegally’ Wed His Longtime Partner Caswell. Day’s Sister Nelda Atkins Said the ‘Years Took Their Toll’ on Him
In a Facebook post, Nelda Atkins said the “years took their toll” on her brother as she called him a shining star.
In an interview with NBC’s Dateline, Atkins said Day came out when he was 18 and was accepted by his family but moved to San Francisco to live in a gay community. He had told his family then about Caswell and the latter soon became part of the family.
Day and Caswell married unlawfully in protest of the law in 2009. Day didn’t hole back his tears when speaking to a reporter.
“We’ve been together 37 years, so we’re from a period where there was no thought of marriage,” Day said, wiping his red eyes after walking down the aisle a married man. “I cry at weddings, but I never thought I would be crying at mine.”
The LGBTQ community is asking questions about his disappearance and now, his death..
4. Day, a Singer & Dancer, Was a ‘Veteran Actor’ Who Performed on Stage & Taught Dance
Atkins told NBC last year that when she and her brother were kids, they took dance lessons, did acrobatics and appeared in talent shows. In the 1950s, they were called to audition for Disney for the new show, The Mickey Mouse Club, as Mouseketeers. He was cast. She was not.
After his run as a Mouseketeer, Day continued to work as an actor and according to friends, Day was a longtime member of the original California Renaissance Pleasure Fairies and Dickens Christmas Faire.
Day performed on stage in Los Angeles and San Francisco and taught dance.
And while he was well-known as an actor especially performing in medieval fairs and plays, he is best known for the historic and beloved Mickey Mouse Club as one of the original Mouseketeers.
5. ‘Hey! There. Hi! There. Ho! There. You’re As Welcome As Can Be…’ Day Was an Original Mouseketeer From 1955 to 1957
Day was tapped as a ‘Blue Team’ member on the Mickey Mouse Club TV show; the ‘Red Team’ being the first team cast. But by the end of the first year of the show, in 1955, Day made it tot he Red Team and appeared in 1956 and 1957.
He would also later appear in the reunion shows in the 1960s and 1980.