FREMONT, Calif. - A missing Stanford nurse's body was found Thursday afternoon along the Bay in Fremont, officials say. By evening, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office coroner identified the man as Michael Odell, 27.
Friends told KTVU Odell’s smile could light up a room. He was an Oklahoman by birth, who found his way to the Bay Area to answer the urgent need for health care providers.
"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," said Curtis Johanssen, a friend of Odell’s.
The coroner's office said his body was found on the banks of San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. A coroner’s van removed the remains late Thursday afternoon.
Odell worked as a traveling nurse for Stanford Health Care. Friends said he arrived in the Bay Area three months ago and loved the area, and his job. He left work early Tuesday, and hadn’t been seen since.
"We had lost touch with him overnight, which isn’t uncommon because his job is very demanding and he cares so much for his patients," said Johanssen. "When he hadn’t shown up after work, they started looking for him. And they found his car in an unusual spot."
Odell’s car was found at the Dumbarton Bridge Toll Plaza. Friends said it’s not an area he frequented. But he did love hiking, and Fremont is just across that bridge, and Bay, from Palo Alto.
Officials with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office say what brought Michael Odell to this tranquil place, and what ended his life, is still a mystery.
In a statement, Stanford Health Care said they are, "…heartbroken to learn from authorities that the traveling nurse who was missing has been found deceased. We express our deepest condolences to the nurse’s family and loved ones…"
"He was living with his best friend. Really working hard, making ends meet. Just doing all the right things," said Johanssen.
The Alameda County coroner will determine the cause of Odell's death. His friends said it’s too soon for word on a memorial. But they ask everyone pray for his family.