Missing Man Found Dead Was "True American Hero"

Worden's body discovered Thursday near home

By Michael Gehlken, Michelle Wayland and Alicia Dean
|  Thursday, Apr 28, 2011  |  Updated 2:48 PM PDT
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Images: Search Teams Looking for Missing Man

NBCSanDiego

Grandson Cody Worden and daughter Cheri Brenner reflected on the life of Robert Worden, an Oceanside man whose body was found early Thursday morning and was missing since Saturday. Foul play was not suspected.

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An elderly Oceanside man suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia who disappeared Saturday was found deceased Thursday morning near his home.

The body of Robert “Bob” Worden, 79, was found lying in a brush area at 6:40 a.m. not far from his residence on the 3900 block of North Vista Campana, Oceanside police said.

A local man walking his dog in a park made the discovery, and there were no signs of foul play.

Worden's grandson, Cody Worden, described his grandfather as a "man's man": a retired Marine and Korean War veteran who owned a farm, raised five kids and had 17 grandchildren and seven great-grand children.

"We truly lost a wonderful man that everyone would wish to have as their grandpa," Cody Worden, 23, said. "He used to dress up like Santa Claus every time we came together for Christmas. He was a man that took us for walks in the park and the woods, taught us how to train our dog ... Even though he was suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's in his later years, we only have the best memories of him."

Robert Worden and his wife had been married for 59 years, their daughter Cheri Brenner said.

Worden was last seen at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday at his home.

Authorities, volunteers and family members led an exhaustive search to find Worden, whom police presumed walked away from his home since he did not drive.

A command post was set up Tuesday outside the Oceanside police headquarters as more than 60 people, including members of San Diego and Riverside County search and rescue teams, looked for Worden.

The search teams were spread out over a five-mile radius Tuesday around the Oceana senior community with Worden’s wife and sister in law before being called off.

"He was a true man," Cody Worden said. "A true American hero."

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