Skeletal remains identified as those of missing veteran

Wednesday, September 29, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:51 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

The skeletal remains of a man found in Petite Saline Creek on July 11 were positively identified Monday as the body of Earl Cason of Columbia. Cason went missing from Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital on March 31.

Phyllis Cason, Earl Cason’s daughter, said the Cason family was prepared for the news.

“We’re just relieved that it’s over now,” she said. “We’ve finally got closure.”

A fisherman discovered Cason’s remains in July where Highway B crosses Petite Saline Creek near Interstate 70. Separate DNA tests by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and a private lab confirmed that the remains were those of Cason.

In a press release, Columbia Police Sergeant Stephen Monticelli said police do not believe foul play was involved in Cason’s death.

Cason, who was 84 at the time of his disappearance, went missing after a routine visit to the hospital to get his prescriptions filled. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. He had begun having memory lapses, according to the release.

When Cason did not return home, police found his car in the hospital parking lot. At the time, police performed ground and air searches but were unsuccessful.

On April 6, a Boonville resident reported seeing a man he believed to be Cason walking along Route B near I-70 on the day of his disappearance.

Cooper County Sheriff Paul Milne could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Phyllis Cason said services have not yet been scheduled.

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