Missing Navy veteran confirmed dead


UPDATE: The family of Harold Cantrell has confirmed that a body found Sunday, July 23 at 524 Fairmount Road, Daytona Beach is the missing U.S. Navy veteran. Found in the backyard of a home less than one mile from his assisted living facility, Cantrell's body was discovered slumped over a fence and had already begun to decompose. The cause of his death is still under investigation.


It’s the phone call you hope to never receive. Your senior father has walked away from the memory care center and cannot be located.

That’s what happened to our colleague, friend and the publisher of Clay Today, Jon Cantrell, on July 5 at about 6 p.m. Jon dropped everything and drove to Daytona Beach to search for his 85-year-old father, Harold Cantrell, a U.S. Navy veteran who proudly served during the Korean War.

Videotape captured the image of Harold “sprinting” out of the Indigo Palms Assisted Living Facility at 570 National Healthcare Drive at around 3:30 p.m. that Wednesday, and the search continues today for him. Harold has early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and borderline diabetes.

Not one to bring attention to himself, Jon is grateful for all of those who have given their time, energy and old-fashioned sweat to help in the search for Harold, not to mention the aid from the Salvation Army, which has provided food and drink for the volunteers.

To date, more than 12,000 flyers with Harold’s picture on it have been printed and continue to be handed out to whomever will receive with an open heart.

For weeks after being placed in the facility due to dementia, Harold would tell his wife Joyce, “I just want to go home.”

Jon said Harold could be any place in Florida or en route to Illinois as both places have been “home.” So, the police and volunteer search spans all the way up the coast to Flagler Beach where he mostly recently lived.

Jon’s phone – whose number is on those flyers – has gone from ringing often to ringing less as each day goes by. Even still, anyone who sees Harold is asked to please call 911. An organized search was held at Indigo Palms on July 22 and another search is planned this weekend. There is also a Facebook page dedicated to the search aptly named “Help Find Harold.”

“At this point, I just give it up to God,” Jon said, with a tired look on his brow.

There is also hope in a piece of modern technology. Law enforcement officials are asking people to download the app called TILE, which was also used by Indigo Palms to track its residents.

Once downloaded and kept activated, the TILE app will tell cell phone users if anyone is near them who is wearing a TILE-enabled device.

“If you come into range of Mr. Cantrell it will ping TILE and transmit his location. TILE will contact the Sheriff’s office. There is nothing else for you to do but just leave it on until he’s found,” states the flyer.

If you have seen Harold Cantrell, please call (904) 710-8181 or 911.