After Family Spends Christmas Searching for Father, His Body Is Found

January 1, 2018 Updated: January 1, 2018    

The body of a missing Vancouver, Washington, man, James Rennells, was discovered near a park after his family spent Christmas searching for him.

Rennells, 41, had not been seen since Dec. 22, prompting Vancouver police to ask the public for help. He was last seen at work around Leverich Park, police said, adding that’s where his car was found, KATU reported.

A search crew discovered his body Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017,  hiding in bushes. His fiancée, Kashala Wilkinson, spoke to the man right before his disappearance, saying that their 7-month-old daughter suffers from heart problems.

“I’m just in shock right now. I don’t know how to feel. Our baby needs him,” she said, reported Dearly.com. “I love him and I miss him. I wish he was here, and I wish I could say goodbye,” she said.

His cause of death is not clear.

Rennells’s sister, Janice Kreier, added to KATU: “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life. It’s like someone took the breath from my chest.”

Friends of the family set up a GoFundMe, saying that he had provided “all the financial means to his fiancée Kashala and daughter Jessie Mae.” It added that “the outcome is beyond explanation.”

On Dec. 30, hundreds of people mourned Rennells’s passing at a vigil, The Columbian reported.

“I just don’t understand it,” Rennells’s father, Dan Rennells, told the publication. “There was no reason for him to be out here that we can conceive.”

His father said that it appears that Rennells died of hypothermia.

As a recovering addict, Rennells was active in his addiction recovery group, his sister told the Columbian.

“He meant the world to me. No matter what, he was always there for me and my other brothers that are my sponsee brothers. He worked the steps. He did what he is supposed to do. He took care of his family. He was there for his baby,” a man, who said that he was his sponsor, told the crowd. “But the bottom line is that he’s with God and that’s what counts.”

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