Updated — May 22, 5:26 p.m.: Larry VanTassell was found dead in a Gainesville apartment complex Wednesday afternoon, police said.
A preliminary investigation ruled his death a suicide.
He was found at 1015 NW 21 Ave. in apartment 411. He had a verbal sublease there, police said, which is why Hidden Lake Apartments management had no record of VanTassell’s residence.
VanTassell’s parents arrived in Gainesville this week after their son called them to say goodbye and went missing on Friday. They helped GPD detectives locate the apartment complex, remembering it only “by sight,” according to GPD’s Ben Tobias.
VanTassell, an Army veteran, had lived at Fort Stewart in Georgia as recently as 2010, according to court records.
Original story — May 20, 9:09 a.m.: Gainesville police say they still haven’t been able to find 51-year-old Laurence VanTassell.
Police have considered him missing and endangered since Saturday, when he apparently called his out-of-state parents and indicated he was thinking of killing himself. VanTassell is a combat veteran from Iraq, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and other undisclosed injuries.
GPD spokesman Ben Tobias told WUFT Monday morning that a friend of VanTassell’s said he might have checked into a rehab facility, which the friend said he has been known to do.
“We just don’t know where (the potential rehab center is) as this guy is quite secretive,” Tobias wrote in an email.
After being contacted by VanTassell’s parents, GPD used K-9’s and a helicopter unit to try and find him, to no avail. He doesn’t have a home address on file, and his last given address was the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center.
His last known location was in north central Gainesville near NW 19th Lane.
VanTassell is Caucasian, stands 5 feet, 10 inches and weighs about 165 pounds. Both of his upper arms are tattooed. Police caution he’s very familiar with firearms and may be armed. Those with information about VanTassell can call GPD at 352-955-1818.