Ronald Wayne White, 51, was found on the kitchen floor of his apartment in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto during an investigation into multiple units where tenants had allegedly not been using water.
Some of the units were rented but empty, prompting police to force down White’s bolted door. They found him dead on the kitchen floor.
Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the divorced former defense contractor had been dead for three years, according to the publication.
White, who reportedly had diabetes, was frequently out of the country, and his bills were paid through automatic withdrawals from his account, the DeSoto Town Center said in a statement.
“The way he was found, the way the apartment was arranged and so forth, there is zero indication of fowl play,” they said, adding: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. White during this difficult time. We are cooperating with the police as they investigate this incident.”
White’s mother, Doris Stevens, who lives in Long Island, New York, said her son would usually call her “at least twice a month” no matter where he was in the world and she had no idea that he had rented an apartment in DeSoto.
“He would call me from Egypt. He would call me from the Philippines. He would call me right from Dallas,” she told WFAA.
However, her son stopped calling three years ago and she became suspicious when she couldn’t reach him on his birthday in April 2017. Despite conducting a search of previous addresses, and even considering hiring a private investigator—but being unable due to financial restraints—Stevens could not locate her son.
She said that multiple police departments told her they could not pursue her son as a missing persons case because he was an adult and known to travel extensively.
“All them days, holidays, I just suffered. Because nobody wanted to help find him,” she said.
Stevens said she was left heartbroken after hearing the news of her son’s death, and questions why nobody knew he had died so long ago.
“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?” she told WFAA.
The distraught mother added: “I can’t hardly cope with it to be honest with you. I can’t hardly deal with it.”
Pete Schulte, a detective with the DeSoto Police Department, said that White had a month-to-month lease on his apartment and the money was automatically taken from an account linked to his Navy retirement fund.
He added that a neighbor had previously complained 2 years ago about some liquid seeping through the ceiling into her apartment underneath White’s home, but that maintenance inspected it and moved on from the issue when the leaking stopped.
Nobody entered White’s upstairs apartment, which was located on the third floor at the very northwest corner of the complex and was well-insulated. All of the windows were sealed and locked tight.
Officials also found White’s vehicle, a grey Ford F-150 pickup truck parked in the DeSoto Town Centre parking garage. It was covered in dust and several advertising flyers but was never reported as suspicious.
Meanwhile, a number of tests are being performed by a medical examiner to determine the cause of White’s death.