WUFT News

Iraq veteran Larry VanTassell found dead in Gainesville

By and on May 22nd, 2013
Larry Vantassell, 52

Gainesville Police Department

Larry VanTassell, 52

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.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • john

    Please update this story! his buddies from Ft. Stewart are concerned
    Sgt. O

    • ray

      sooo sorry for your…..OUR loss

  • glen & sandra

    sorry to hear it, larry was a good hearted guy and friends in ny will miss him

  • Jeffrey Marcus Gray

    So sad. Vet suicide is an epidemic in this country.

 

More Stories in Local

Larneice Williams brings her 6-year-old Chihuahua, Mr. King, to the St. Francis Pet Care  every other Tuesday to get his routinely checkup and food. Mr. King is considered a regular at the clinic.

Clinic Offers Health Care For Pets Every Tuesday

The Saint Francis House Pet Care Clinic provides free non-emergency health care for pets of economically troubled owners four times a month. In the colder months, they give out cold weather clothes and blankets because homeless shelters do not allow animals unless they are service animals.


Rozie Smith, a volunteer with Food4Kids Backpack program works together with fellow volunteer, Brantley Mason, to put together a canned food box at the organization’s warehouse as the holiday season approaches

Local Organization Fills Christmas Spirit “One Belly At A Time”

Food4Kids Backpack Program of North Florida Inc., is furthering its year-round fight against food insecurity for youth by providing food during the winter holidays to students who mainly rely on meals during school hours.


The drop box for letters to Santa stands at the left entrance of the Gainesville Post Office. Mail handlers check the drop box for submissions four to five times a day.

Operation Santa Seeks Benefactors

Gainesville Post Office participates in the Santa Operation program for the first time. The program started receiving letters from across the country starting Dec. 2, and it will match the benefactors until Monday.


Alachua County migrant children receive gifts from the Angel Tree charity project last Christmas. 

Photo courtesy of Alachua County Multi-County Migrant Education program.

Angel Tree Shines Light On Migrant Families

The Angel Tree Charity Project helps make sure struggling migrant families have a normal Christmas. Hundreds of families are helped with the charity project.


Newnans Lake, shown here near 7400 E. University Ave., in Gainesville, Fla.

Alachua County Receives Florida’s 36th State Forest

The 1,000-plus acres of diverse land west of Newnans Lake in Gainesville will provide bicycle and hiking trails for the public in spring 2015.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments