Dennis Day, one of the original child stars from Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club TV show from the 1950s, is missing. The former child star, who joined the classic TV show in 1955 at age 12, has not been seen in more than six months, NBC News reports.
Dennis Day was last seen in late July 2018 in his hometown of Phoenix, Oregon. The 76-year-old left behind his belongings, his pets, and his partner of more than 45 years, Ernie Caswell.
Caswell, who suffers from age-related dementia, was in the hospital at the time of Day’s disappearance after suffering from a fall. During Ernie’s hospital stay last summer, he realized Dennis hadn’t come to visit him in several weeks, so the hospital called police to report the former child actor missing. Sadly, because Caswell was unable to communicate details, Dennis Day’s friends and family didn’t even know he was missing until January 2019, when an Oregon TV news program aired a story about his disappearance.
As for the missing person’s investigation, a temporary roommate at Day’s home claimed that the Mickey Mouse Club alum left his home on foot to visit a friend on the day of his disappearance. Day’s rural home has been searched, as well as a nearby graveyard and creek, and cadaver dogs were brought in. Day’s bank and credit accounts appear to be untouched, but his car was found in the possession of two people about 200 miles away from his home on the Oregon coast, per USA Today. It is unclear how the strangers gained possession of Day’s car.
Original Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer Dennis Day was last seen in July of 2018 in Phoenix, Oregon. His family is concerned for his safety. Can you, or someone you know, help find Dennis? #Dateline https://t.co/ptIP4Y6av5 pic.twitter.com/DKeqJNNNie— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) February 25, 2019
Dennis Day’s sister, Nelda Adkins, told USA Today she last saw her brother in 2017 and he was doing fine as he cared for his ailing husband.
“He was alert, he was healthy, he was fine,” Adkins said. “(Police) are trying to portray him as a reclusive, demented person but in one year’s time you can’t become that way.”
Adkins also doesn’t believe her brother would just disappear voluntarily, and she fears the worst.
“After Ernie fell, they called an ambulance to take him to the hospital and that could have set my brother off,” Adkins told USA Today. “He could have committed suicide. And Oregon is full of rivers.”
Dennis Day was once one of the most famous child TV stars on 1950s TV and was one of only 10 musical Mouseketeers retained by Disney for Season 2 of The Mickey Mouse Club back in 1956. Day’s co-stars included famed Mouseketeers Annette Funicello, Tommy Cole, Cubby O’Brien, Doreen Tracy, and more.
While his run on the landmark kiddie show ended in 1957, Dennis continued working in the entertainment field. According to his IMDb bio, Day later taught drama and dance and directed stage musicals after coming out at age 18 and moving to San Francisco. Day was a long-time entertainer and director for the California Renaissance Pleasure Faires & Dickens Fair.
Dennis and his boyfriend Ernie moved to Oregon in the 1980s and later married. Dennis Day was devoted to his longtime love and reportedly never left his side—and rarely left his home.
The Dennis Day missing persons case is being handled by Lt. Jeff Price of the Phoenix Police Department at 541-535-1113, ext. 309. An anonymous tip line can be reached at 1-888-960-6450.