Local man found dead in South American country

Zoe Greszler • Updated Jan 10, 2018 at 10:15 PM

WILLARD — A seemingly routine welfare check unearthed proof of the shocking death of a local man last Wednesday.

Jacob Kendrick, of Tiffin, asked the Willard Police Department to do a welfare check on his father, Herbert L. Kendrick, 69, of 400 Rae Court, Wednesday afternoon after he received a concerning message on Facebook from someone professing to be consular agent with the US Embassy in Colombia. The agent told Kendrick his father was found dead in the country.

A screenshot of the message provided to the Reflector shows the message from a woman with a government email address from the American Citizen Services of the United States Embassy of Bogota, Colombia. Kendrick said the embassy was unable to reach them by another method of contact.

Kendrick did not know his father had left the country and was not aware of any friends or family there, however, he received no answer when he called his father’s house and asked police to check his home.

When officers arrived at the Rae Court residence no one answered the door and a note on the door stated Herbert’s rent was past due. 

A neighbor told police the man went to Colombia the day before Thanksgiving and never returned.

Kendrick said police and a brother in the army looked into the matter.

Willard Police Chief Shannon Chaffins could not comment on the incident.

“He really did pass away,” Kenrdick said. “It’s pretty crazy. He told all of his neighbors that he left, but didn’t call any of us. We didn’t know he left.”

Kendrick said his father died Jan. 1 from septic shock, which medical site Medline defines as “a serious condition that happens when the body's reaction to an infection damages its own tissues and organs.” Causes of septic shock can include major surgery, diabetes, HIV, poor nutrition and other factors, according to the website. 

“He didn’t have his diabetes medicine,” Kendrick said. “It looks like he just got up and left.”

The son said he was “decently close” with his father and described himself as “probably the closest” person to him. He said this behavior was not typical of his father. 

“It was really unpredictable,” Kendrick said. “He didn’t know anyone there (Colombia), not that I know of.”

The death and its circumstances have left the family in shock Kendrick said and they’re doing their best, “taking it day-by-day” in the wake of the surprising news. 

“He was a pretty good guy,” he said. “He took care of all of us kids. He could fix and do just about anything. I don't really have anything bad to say about him.

“He just got old and did something crazy I guess.”

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