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DALLAS Missing person fliers are still taped to the doors at the Delux Inn in Oak Cliff.

That's where 75-year-old O'Dell Lee lived and spent most of his time.

Karim Farishta manages the motel, and he reported Lee was missing.

'He walked a lot, and everybody knows him,' Farishta said.

Lee told everyone there he was a Marine who fought in two wars. He was known to give some of his military pension away to those around here who needed help.

'Around here, everybody needs help sometimes. He never said 'no,'' Farishta said. 'He was always helping people.'

On July 20, the man everyone saw at least four or five times a day disappeared.

'It was weird that one day I don't see him. Twice a day and at night [I usually saw him],' Farishta said. 'That's why I called the cops and said, 'Hey, I am missing that person, because usually he is here all the time.''

Dallas police issued a critical missing person report. The next day, July 21, Dallas Fire-Rescue found him unconscious and took him to the VA hospital.

Sources tell News 8 Lee waited, and then eventually walked away.

He was found dead Monday off Simpson Stuart Road and Interstate 45.

Sources said Dallas police questioned the VA Hospital about why they let a critical missing person walk out the door. The VA told News 8 they could not talk about this case because of privacy laws.

'Speaking generally except in rare cases usually involving a severe mental health crisis anyone receiving care from VA has the right to leave the hospital, even when it is against medical advice,' a VA spokesperson said.

Back at the Delux Inn, Lee's friends say the kind, gentle veteran will be missed.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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