Man found in field identified as judge's missing father - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Man found in field identified as judge's missing father

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The man found dead in a South Memphis field Monday morning is confirmed to be 78-year-old Willie Burnett, who was reported missing over the weekend.

Burnett's body was found near Peebles Road and Gill Road against a fence at an MLGW service center.

Burnett is the father of Shelby County Judge Betty Moore. He was last seen Friday morning around 6 a.m. driving a 2004 GMC black Sierra pickup truck with a silver toolbox in the back. A City Watch was issued for him over the weekend.

He suffered from Alzheimer's and dementia for three years, but Judge Moore said it has gotten worse the last three weeks.

"I just think my dad got completely confused, turned around, and sat down at the fence and went home to be with his two sons he lost years ago and his folks," she said.

Judge Moore says it is not easy losing her father but her family now has closure after searching for him all weekend.

"We just thank God we have this closure," she said. "We didn't want to have it this way but we still thank God for our dad."

Some of Burnett's coworkers showed up on the scene after learning that their friend had been found.

"Some people you just love to be around and everything about them," said Walter Bryant. "He was one of those kind of people you want to be around."

"Our hearts and prayers go out to them, hopefully, everything will be fine and we're praying for his family and asking everybody else to pray," said family friend Thomas Alston.

Judge Moore says she will never forget the impression her father left on so many people.

"My dad was a wonderful person. He was a loving father and a good provider," she said. "My dad had 10 kids and worked two or three jobs to take care of us."

Investigators are still working to determine exactly how Burnett died. It appears to have been from natural causes.

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