‘I loved him like a brother’: 76-year-old man found dead in trash can behind Detroit home

Walter Dansby was an Army veteran

A 76-year-old man was reported missing and later found dead in a trash can behind his Detroit home.

DETROIT – There’s new information involving the death of a 76-year-old man found by police on Detroit’s east side.

The family of Walter Dansby hadn’t heard from him for months, and police even searched his house multiple times. But it wasn’t until Wednesday (May 18) when police found his remains inside a trash can.

“I loved him like a brother,” said cousin Mack Nathan. “And we stuck together like brothers.”

Nathan flew in from Alabama Friday (May 20) to identify the body of his cousin.

Months after Dansby was reported missing, his body was discovered in a trash can seen in the video above at his Detroit home.

“He was a sweet man,” Mack said. “Him and his wife. Even when I was going through trouble in my life, they helped me.”

In March, the family filed a missing person report when they could not reach Dansby.

Detroit police searched the home near Mound Road and Charles Street several times, but there was no sign of the 76-year-old.

“I was hoping that maybe he had moved away or something or hoping that if somebody had kidnapped him, they would bring him back,” Mack said.

Danby’s body was discovered in a trash can in his backyard on Wednesday after neighbors called the police complaining of a foul odor.

“If he was, in fact, there during that entire time,” said Commander Micheal McGinnis. “That leads to it. It was concealed in a way that wasn’t easily identifiable. For the homicide detectives, we are in the first week of this investigation.”

Mack says he wants to bury Dansby in the Detroit cemetery where his mother and brothers lay before heading back to Alabama.

“That’s why I’m here,” Mack said. “And that’s why I came because no one else came. No one else did anything. And it wasn’t good. You can’t leave his body in a morgue forever. I had to come here and make sure he was taken care of.”

Anybody with information is asked to call the Detroit Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-Speak up.

All tips to Crime Stoppers are anonymous. Click here to submit a tip online.


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.