Coroner: Missing Middletown man died from hypothermia

Clifford Phillips, 62, missing since Nov. 20, found dead Jan. 1 in city park.

The death of a missing Middletown man has been determined accidental with hypothermia listed as the cause, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

Two people walking in Gardner Park around 5 p.m. Jan. 1 found a Middletown man police had been searching for since late November, according to Sgt. Earl Nelson.

He said the missing man, Clifford Phillips, 62, was deceased and it’s unclear how long he had been lying near the park’s tree line. The coroner’s office listed his time of death at 6:15 p.m. Jan 1, the time when he was found, according to an official.

In late December, there were a couple of days when the wind chill dropped well below 0, according to the National Weather Service.

Police started searching for Phillips, who had worked at Applebee’s in Middletown for 27 years, after he didn’t report to work on Nov. 21, according to a manager who filed the police report on Nov. 23. She became concerned because Phillips never called off work.

He checked out of the Fairfield Inn in Middletown on Nov. 10, according to the report.

Nelson said Phillips was seen in Middletown numerous times, but police were unable to make contact with him. He was reportedly in local bars, but never in Gardner Park on Gardner Place, according to Nelson.

Phillips wasn’t married and had no children, according to the report. He has one brother, but they haven’t talked in years, the report said.

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