A 64-year-old man, known locally as “The Can Man” died tragically after apparently falling into a swimming pool Wednesday, Dec. 15.

According to Madison Police Department reports, Horace Zanders’ body was found in the bottom of a swimming pool behind a residence at the 1000 block of Eatonton Road.

Reports state that at 7:47 p.m., a Madison Police Department officer discovered Zanders, while searching for the man after he had been reported missing.

At 7 p.m. officers responded to a call to Morgan County Dispatch in reference to an elderly man “carrying a box and acting disoriented” on Eatonton Road. When an officer arrived, reports state, the subject had left the area, walking into a wooded area behind residential housing. The officer was shown a video of the man and immediately identified him as Zanders.

Reports state that the officer went to Zanders’ residence on South Main Street and spoke with family members who stated that Zanders had walked to the Budget Inn, Eatonton Road, to pick up food for the family.

A clerk at the Budget Inn told the officer that Zanders had left 20 minutes before the officer arrived. She also told the officer that Zanders had bad eyesight “especially at night,” reports state.

The officer went back to Zanders’ residence and confirmed that he had not returned. The officer then searched the wooded area around Zanders’ residence and called out for the man but had no success.

Reports state that the officer then contacted Morgan County Dispatch and requested that Zanders’ disappearance be classified as a “critical missing person” because of “Zanders’ diminished mental capacity and poor eyesight.”

Two officers then returned to Zanders’ residence to begin another search for the man. An officer observed a cardboard box floating on top of the water of an inground pool behind the Eatonton Road residence and then observed Zanders’ body in the bottom of the pool.

Members of the Madison Fire Department retrieved Zanders’ body and the body was relinquished to Morgan County Coroner Adam Carter. Reports state that the Eatonton Road residence was recently purchased and was vacant at the time of the incident. According to Qpublic.com, a pool permit was granted for the residence in February 2021.


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