“I want that man off of the street for a very long time… so he can’t hurt anyone else,” said Ally Jensen, Dennis Day’s neighbor.
Court documents obtained by The Oregonian allege 36-year-old Daniel Burda told police he shoved Dennis Day to the ground and hid his body beneath a pile of clothes in the home.
It also says Burda admitted to airing out the room where Day’s body was found because it “smelled like death” and used chemical products to clean up.
The fatal confrontation allegedly started because Day kicked Burda out of his home.
“They would always be arguing… loud enough to where we could hear,” said Jensen.
NBC5 News first interviewed Jensen in January of 2019 months after former Disney Mouseketeer, Dennis Day, first went missing.
“When I found out his dog had been found roaming the streets… that was the moment that I said oh, no,” she said.
What Jensen says she can’t get over is how police missed the body that was eventually found in the home.
“That bothered me so much,” she said. “That he was right here in our backyard… and we had been searching everywhere else.”
Last July, the 76-year-old Phoenix man simply vanished. Jensen said she and other neighbors told police about a foul smell coming from the home.
“It was very difficult to determine exactly who the person was that we found in that house,” said Sgt. Jeff Proulx, Oregon State Police.
Months later, police made the gruesome discovery.
“Based on some strong circumstantial evidence that we’ve gathered through the investigation and through the autopsy, we believe that it is Dennis Day,” said Sgt. Proulx.
Daniel Burda was charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, abuse of a corpse, and identity theft. Police say Burda was living with Day and his husband, Ernie Caswell, and helped them around the house.
Burda pleaded “not guilty” to the crimes earlier this month.
“That’s kind of messed up here. They don’t have proof on any of that,” said Burda, after reviewing the charging document in court.
Jensen says she’s relieved by what the new court documents say.
“I hope that the family finds peace with knowing,” she said.
But still wishes she could have done more.
“I wish I could have known him better… and really taken the time to really learn from him.”
Burda is also accused of making more than 80 purchases using Day’s debit card in the first few weeks after his death.
Amanda Rose is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. Amanda graduated from Columbia University earning a Master’s degree in Journalism. She also received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in literature from the University of British Columbia.
She’s a Los Angeles native, but is thrilled to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and is passionate about reporting on the criminal justice system.