The body of Ronald Wayne White, a Navy Veteran, was found in his apartment after dying three years ago, alone in his kitchen.
White had been missing according to his family prior to the discovery.
White was a resident of the DeSoto Town Center in DeSoto, Texas.
The managers of the complex and Detective Pete Schulte of the DeSoto police claim a "perfect combination of circumstances" occurred which allowed White's body to go undiscovered for so long.
Navy Veteran found dead inside his DeSoto apartment had been there for 3 years, detectives say youtu.be
His remains were eventually stumbled upon by a maintenance team checking in on apartments with no water usage. They breached the door and found his body in the kitchen.
"When we walked in all of the windows were closed, locked, sealed tight, you couldn't even smell anything in the hallway. He didn't establish any relationships with any neighbors, so it was a perfect combination of circumstances that allowed this to happen."
White had recently moved into the apartments after selling a home in Dallas, never having the chance to list the new space as his home on any forms or tell any family where he was located. He was also retired, so no employers came looking for him.
What's more, White was known to travel frequently as a defense contractor, and had even spoken about moving to the Philippines, having bought a house there.
White's mother, Doris Stevens, used to speak with her son "once or twice a month" over the phone.
When the calls suddenly stopped, she contacted the Dallas police department, but was denied an investigation.
"They asked how old my son was and I told them and they said, 'You can't make a missing person report for a grown up'."
Stevens has been searching for White for the past three years, but has been unable to make any headway without the funds to hire a private investigator.
Though Stevens believes the apartment complex is to blame for the time her son's body went undiscovered, David Margulies, a spokesperson for the DeSoto Town Center apartments, insists this was a "very unusual set of events."
"He traveled extensively, his rent was paid automatically. Nobody inquired about him – no family member, friend or employer. There was no stack-up of mail. None of the things that would have triggered a reason to go to his apartment happened."
Finally, after White's body was discovered, the apartment complex was able to consult his emergency contact form to inform the family of his passing.
Stevens, however, is still baffled that it took so long.
"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?"
White's cause of death is still being determined by an autopsy, but Detective Schulte insists there is "zero indication of foul play" and suspects a medical issue.
"There were nice things in the apartment, nothing seemed to be moved, there was no sign of forced entry. It was probably a medical type situation that caused this death."
The apartment complex is now cooperating with police investigations. Police have in turn respected that this issue was caused, at the end of the day, by a policy of allowing residents to maintain their privacy.