Daytona Beach

Missing War Veteran Found Dead In Daytona Beach Backyard

A decomposed body was found Sunday morning at a Daytona Beach backyard after a woman called police reporting a foul smell, the Daytona Beach News Journal reports.

The victim was identified Monday morning as Navy veteran Harold Eugene Cantrell, according to the newspaper. The man went missing for nearly three weeks after escaping the Indigo Palms Healthcare facility July 5, police said.

Cantrell’s body was reportedly discovered in the backyard of a home. The homeowner said she had smelled a stench for several days before calling police, according to published reports. She has no relation to Cantrell.

Dee Bethea told the Daytona Beach News Journal she initially thought the smell came from a pile of debris. “[…] I realized it was a body that was slumped over across the fence. The body was badly decomposed,” Bethea said.

Coincidentally, the same day the elder was found, his son, Jon Cantrell, reportedly had been handing out flyers along with about 70 volunteers near the scene. When his son arrived to the woman’s home, he speculated whether the victim was his father. It was not until the next day when he was informed by the Medical Examiner’s Office that the body was identified as the father.

“It’s kind of a horrible ending but at least we found him,” Cantrell told the newspaper. The 85-year-old war veteran suffered from early Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. A memorial service for Cantrell will be held Aug. 4 at the First Baptist Church of Flagler.

Contact Us