FORT WORTH — A 51-year-old Navy veteran whose body was found in a DeSoto apartment had been dead for about three years.
A cause of death for Rodney Wayne White is pending toxicology reports and other tests, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office.
White was found dead last week on the kitchen floor of his apartment at DeSoto Town Center. DeSoto police found no evidence of foul play, according to Star-Telegram media partner WFAA-TV.
His mother, Doris Stevens, told WFAA-TV she didn't know how her son could have been dead in the apartment for so long and nobody knew anything about it.
“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,” Doris Stevens told WFAA. “I can't get past three years.”
Stevens, who lives in Long Island, New York, said she became suspicious about three years ago when her son's phone calls stopped. White, who was single after being divorced for about 20 years, was a defense contractor who traveled the world on his job.
White called his mother at least twice a month.
His mother told the television station that her family did not have the money to hire a private investigator. And Stevens said several police departments told her that because her son was an adult and known to travel, they couldn't pursue a missing person case.
DeSoto police told WFAA that a downstairs neighbor had complained about two years ago about some liquid seeping through her ceiling. Apartment maintenance inspected it, but moved on once it stopped and no one answered the door at White's apartment.
Officials with DeSoto Town Center released this statement:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. White during this difficult time. Mr. White was frequently out of the country and his bills were paid through automatic withdrawals from his accounts. Our maintenance personnel discovered the body when they identified and responded to a service issue at his apartment. We are cooperating with the police as they investigate this incident.”
Staff members at the apartment complex found the body when they were checking units that had not been using water, according to the Associated Press.
DeSoto police also found medications for diabetes, dated 2016, inside the apartment. White's family confirmed to authorities that he was diabetic.
White's pickup truck was still parked in the public parking area of the apartment complex. It was covered in dust.
Neither his mother nor his adult children knew he rented an apartment in DeSoto, according to WFAA.
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