OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – A body found in a swampy area in Osceola County is believed to be a missing 73-year-old man who was last seen on Thanksgiving Day, Sheriff Marcos Lopez said in an update Thursday.
Lopez said the body of an unidentified Black man was located about one mile from the Kissimmee residence where Herman McClenton was last seen about a week ago after visiting family for Thanksgiving.
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“Companies expanded our search areas outside the initial search areas every day to make sure we (continued) to cover areas where he could potentially be,” Lopez said. “Additional personnel were still utilized, canine search teams, underwater sonar equipment as well.”
Through the search, Lopez said deputies and a dog discovered the body in a thick, swampy area, approximately chest deep in water, that proved difficult to physically navigate.
“We let (the family) know that we are very hopeful that it is him,” Lopez said. “We did find articles of clothing that match what he was last seen wearing a little bit further deeper into the swamp and his body was found a little bit closer toward (State Road) 429.”
He added that the sheriff’s office and medical examiner’s office are still working to identify the body.
“I told my major, you know, let’s bring him home. And we haven’t stopped since we’ve been searching,” Lopez said.
McClenton, who is originally from Eustis and suffers from dementia, was reported missing around 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving in Kissimmee, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies said McClenton left Emerald Island Resort and was last seen in an adjacent neighborhood on Friday, Nov. 25.
Surveillance video released by the sheriff’s office shows the man walking alone near a tree-lined pond.
“We’re focusing the search in the area around the neighborhood where he was last seen. It was one of the ponds just a little bit west of here. And that was one of the last confirmed sightings that we see him,” Lopez said in a news briefing earlier this week. “There’s approximately 200 acres of swampy area in there. We’ve really expanded our search not only in that area, but in outside the neighborhood just in case he’s left the location.”
McClenton’s family joined Lopez on Monday to ask for the public’s help in finding him as the search entered its fourth day.
“You never imagined that you will be in a situation. I mean, you see the news all the time and you know that these things can happen but you never expect it to be you,” one family member said.
No other information is available at this time. Check back here for updates.
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