Navy Vet Was Dead for Almost 3 Years Before His Body Was Found in His Apartment


A medical examiner determined that a Navy veteran had been dead for three years before he was found in his DeSoto, Texas, apartment last week.

Ronald Wayne White would have been 51 when he died, according to WFAA. The defense contractor, who was known to travel extensively for work, was single and had been divorced for about 20 years.

His body was found at the DeSoto Town Center Apartments after the complex decided to investigate units that appeared to not be using water; one of those units was White’s and he was found dead on the kitchen floor.

His mother became suspicious when her son, who would regularly call her at least twice a month, all of a sudden stopped.

“He would call me from Egypt. He would call me from the Phillippines. He would call me right from Dallas,” Doris Stevens told WFAA.

12-Year Old Boy Snatches State Fishing Record with Rare Catch

When Stevens couldn’t get a hold of her son for his birthday in April 2017, she became worried. The family searched his previous addresses, but couldn’t find anything.

Because White was an adult and traveled regularly, police couldn’t file a missing person case. Stevens couldn’t afford a private investigator, so they just had to wait.

“All them days, holidays. I just suffered. Because nobody wanted to help find him,” Stevens said.

Do you think the apartment complex should have checked in on its tenant?

When the medical examiner told Stevens how long her son had been dead, she said her “knees gave away.”

“My biggest question is, how in the world could my son have been dead in that apartment and nobody knows anything?” she told WFAA.

A spokesperson for DeSoto Town Center said that White’s month-to-month rent had been set up to be paid through automatic withdrawals from his Navy retirement account, and they didn’t have any cause for suspicions because he was frequently out of the country.

Pete Schulte, a detective with the DeSoto Police Department, said that a resident who lived below White’s third-floor apartment complained about liquid seeping through her ceiling about two years ago.

Greatest Hallmark Movie Ever - Days After D-Day Honoring, WWII Veteran, 100, Gets 'Married'

Maintenance came to inspect the leak but moved on once it stopped; they didn’t enter White’s upstairs apartment when he failed to come to the door.

When police investigated the apartment after White was found, they discovered diabetes medications dated 2016; his family confirmed White was diabetic.

“The way he was found, the way the apartment was arranged and so forth, there was zero indication of foul play,” Schulte said.

Although WFAA found multiple addresses for Ronald White, the apartment he was found in was not on that list, and neither his mom nor his adult children knew he rented one in that location.

His Ford F-150 pickup truck was still in a public section of the parking garage, covered in dust with multiple advertisements on the windshield.

“It is sadness to see that a veteran, a decorated veteran, had to go out like this,” Jerry Hannon, White’s friend and fellow Navy veteran, said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. White during this difficult time,” a spokesperson for DeSoto Town Center said in a statement. “We are cooperating with the police as they investigate this incident.”

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , ,
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith