Skeletal remains found in Ensley identified as missing Gulf War vet in town for treatment at VA

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The human remains found in Ensley on Tuesday are that of a missing Gulf War veteran, Birmingham Police say. Walter Richardson has been missing since July 6th, when he wandered away from the boarding home where he was staying while receiving medical treatment from the VA Hospital, according to his family. His family says Richardson is from Mississippi, and they believed he would be safe getting care for medical problems, including dementia, in Birmingham. They say they’re shocked and heartbroken.

“We became very alarmed because around the 7th of July,” said Richardson’s sister, Debra Ward. “We kind of figured that he didn’t have any medication, that he walked away. There was no medication there, there was no one there to provide him with medical treatment.”

Ward helped organize dozens of family members, friends, and church members to make the trek from Mississippi to search for Richardson, papering the city with missing persons posters.

“We were so worried It was very very very stressful,” said Ward.

Now the attention turns to honoring her brother’s life and legacy, said Ward. She wants people to know the kind of man her brother, a man who served his country, was.

“We want people to understand that walter was not an aggressive person,” said Ward.  “He was not afraid of strangers.He would talk. He would always try to cheer people up. He was just an all around person. He was very tender hearted.”

The coroner has not released a cause of death, but says foul play is not suspected.

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