A 27-year-old traveling nurse who went missing earlier this week in the middle of his shift at Stanford Hospital has been found dead in Fremont, and the circumstances remain unclear.
The body of San Francisco resident Michael Odell was discovered Thursday afternoon, near the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, apparently not far from where Odell's car was found two days earlier at the Dumbarton Bridge Toll Plaza in Fremont. As the Mercury News reports, he was reported missing Tuesday morning after he failed to come home from work in a neurological ICU at Stanford. Odell typically worked overnight shifts, and his roommate in SF's Castro neighborhood reported him missing.
As the Chronicle reports, the roommate, Joshua Christopher Paredes, used the Find My Friends app to see where Odell's phone had last pinged on Tuesday morning, at 8 a.m., near the Dumbarton Bridge on the East Bay side. Paredes immediately found this strange, and later found out from Odell's supervisor at the Palo Alto hospital that he had left in the middle of his shift, around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, saying that he forgot something in his car.
It appears he then crossed the Bay in his car, ending up on the Fremont side of the bridge.
Paredes and dozens of volunteers initiated the search after reporting Odell missing to the East Bay Regional Parks District on Tuesday. They were later joined by the Hayward unit of California Highway Patrol, and Odell's remains were then found and positively identified yesterday.
Authorities have not shared any details about the circumstances of Odell's death, or whether foul play is suspected.
Curtis Johanssen, a friend of Odell's, tells KTVU, "Mike was a great guy. He was fun. He was in-tune with what was going on. He had a big heart for his friends." And, Johanssen adds, "He was living with his best friend. Really working hard, making ends meet. Just doing all the right things."
Odell grew up in Oklahoma and it's not clear how long he had been living in the Bay Area.
The Alameda County coroner is determining Odell's cause of death. We'll update you as we learn more.
Update: Lt. Ray Kelly, spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday that the sheriff's office does not suspect foul play. And in a statement to the Chronicle, Kelly explained of Odell's activities Tuesday morning, "He pulled off at that [wildlife] refuge, and our understanding is that he went into the water."
While an official autopsy may not be available for some time, that description seems to suggest suicide — though, again, the circumstances remain unclear from the official description, and there may be some information missing from friends or coworkers about Odell's state of mind.
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If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.