Retired Gay Entertainer Dennis Day Missing for Seven Months
Original Mickey Mouse Club Star Disappears
By Sebastian Fortino
Since the late 1980s former actor Dennis Day has made his home in Southern Oregon, with his husband Ernie Caswell. He began acting at the age of 12 as an original Mouseketeer, alongside the late Annette Funicello. He came out as a gay man early in life, and was accepted by his family. Later, he spent many years living in San Francisco. Relatives describe Caswell as being a member of the family.
The majority of Day’s family live in California, and last saw him on a visit north in July of 2017. Day was unable to leave home to travel due to his husband’s health issues. However, since July of 2018, Day hasn’t been after leaving his home on foot.
“He doesn’t even leave his house to travel anywhere,” his niece Denise Norris told reporters. “The last time he left his town was to come to his mother’s funeral. And that was 12 years ago.”
His sister Nelda Adkins doesn’t speak to her brother that often, so she was not concerned at a lack of communication. To complicate matters, Mr. Caswell suffers from dementia. When he realized Day hadn’t come to see him in several weeks, he alerted authorities. His family was not contacted at this time.
“We were upset because we were not notified at the time of Dennis’ disappearance,” Adkins told ProudTimes. “Hearing of this through a news broadcast six months later has devastated us.”
Only a police report seen on television in Oregon by a relative caused his family in California to be alerted.
“He’s not the type of person who would just disappear. Especially with his significant other being in the hospital,” Norris said. “We are worried. We love him. We’re just kind of lost with what to do, or how to find him.”
She is also frustrated his family in California were not contacted immediately, in what the family describes as a poorly handled investigation. Curiously, after he disappeared, his car was found along the Oregon Coast with two people unknown to Day or Caswell. The car did not show any signs of foul play. There is also knowledge of a third man, a roommate, who was living in the couple’s home.
“No, we have never met the third roommate,” says Adkins when asked about the other man. “We were unaware of him. But have learned he was a homeless person with mental problems and has a police record.”
A letter found in a neighbor’s home implies the third man assaulted Day. A detective close to the case says there is no evidence to support the claim.
ProudTimes will continue to cover this story. Please contact Lt. Jeff Price of the Phoenix Police Department at 541-535-1113, ext. 309, or the anonymous tip line at 1-888-960-6450 if you have any information about Mr. Day’s whereabouts.