DALLAS (AP) — A former Texas state representative was found dead in Harlingen on Sunday, three days after he was reported missing from an assisted-living facility.
The body of Don Lee, 78, was found by his youngest son, Clayton, in a brushy area just under a mile from the facility that reported the elder Lee missing on Thursday.
Harlingen police spokesman Sgt. John Lee Parrish said an autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death. He said police also will investigate how Lee, who suffered from dementia, diabetes and other medical conditions, was able to leave the facility.
"There will be a lot more answers eventually," Parrish said.
Family members said Lee, who served three terms in the Texas House in the 1980s, moved into the facility only last Monday. He had lived alone for many years in Austin and was somewhat reluctant to be in an assisted-living situation, they said.
"He just had a natural desire to be home, and he hadn't had a chance to acclimate to his environment," Clayton Lee said.
Clayton Lee said his father, a Democrat, was a champion of the issues important to the South Texas district he served, which covered Cameron and Hidalgo counties. Those included better standards for buildings in hurricane-prone areas and increased funding for education.
"He was a zealous advocate for anything that helped the Rio Grande Valley," the younger Lee said.
Clayton Lee said his father left politics after losing his seat in the Legislature in a close race in 1986. He then went to work for the Texas Department of Insurance, where he supervised field inspectors until his retirement in 1994.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.