Daniel James Burda has been arrested in connection with the death of former Mouseketeer Dennis Day. On Friday, Burda was taken into custody by Oregon authorities under several counts: criminally negligent homicide, suspicion of manslaughter, criminal mistreatment, abuse of a corpse, and identity theft, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Dennis Day, who was one of the original members of Disney’s The Mickey Mouse Club back in 1956, reportedly went missing back in July of last year at the age of 76.
According to a Facebook group dedicated to Dennis Day, the police confirmed Day’s identity on June 6th, 2019: “the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office identified the body found in the residence listed in previous release by investigation, evidence, and other information as that of missing person, Dennis Day. Despite their efforts, investigators were unable to utilize dental records or DNA due to the condition of the remains.”
Although no official word has been given, neighbors claimed that Burda had some connection to Day. According to Kobi TV 5, Day was seen out walking, and was reportedly going to spend some time with friends for a few days. Cheri Workman, one of Day’s neighbors, claimed that it was unusual for Day to leave home, especially on foot, at the age of 76. He was also married to his long time partner Ernie, and it was highly irregular for him to leave Ernie alone. Denise Norris, Day’s niece, stated that “I can’t imagine that he would leave Ernie, they’ve been married a long time, he loves him.” Workman also noted that “We heard arguments between Dan and Dennis,” referring to Daniel James Burda, who had reportedly been staying with Ernie and Dennis. “Dennis no longer wanted him there and then Dennis disappeared.”
The Oregonian gave more insight into where Dennis Day had gone when he left home that fateful day. On July 15, 2018, Day allegedly showed up at the house of his friend, Kirk Pederson, stating that he needed to report something to the police. However, because the station was closed, they resolved to go the next morning. Unfortunately, they never made it.
It wasn’t until last week that Burda was arrested on charges of the murder of Day. It was then revealed that Burda was allegedly Day’s live-in handyman, according to The Oregonian. According to Deadline, two women were also charged with theft, allegedly stealing Day’s Ford Escort and a brooch which had been sold shortly after Day’s death. The investigation is ongoing.