Delaware

Missing Dad Confirmed Dead in Amtrak Wreck

gildersleeve family
Family Photo

Missing dad Bob Gildersleeve, Jr. died in Tuesday's fatal Amtrak wreck, his company confirmed Thursday, two days after the Amtrak train he boarded in Baltimore speeded around a curve in Philadelphia and derailed. 

A cadaver dog led investigators to Gildersleeve's remains as workers were moving the wreckage from the crash site to a secure location in Delaware. His body was found in the "large amount of wreckage" of the first passenger car, fire officials said, raising the death toll to eight.

Gildersleeve's story went viral after his 13-year-old son Marc, who'd traveled to Philly with his family, held up a sign with a picture and information about his father, pleading for help in finding his dad.

The 45-year-old vice president of corporate accounts for Ecolab was married with two children, age 13 and 16. 

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague," Ecolab CEO Doug Baker said in a statement.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gildersleeve’s family took to the streets of Philadelphia to spread the word about his disappearance.

“How, in this day and age, can we allow a train to go out of control at 106 miles an hour?” asked Bob Gildersleeve Sr., the victim's father.

His wife Danna said in a statement Thursday that her husband had been "my best friend for 29 years." The two celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary on Mother's Day. 

"He is an remarkable Dad to our daughter Ryan and son Marc. He is a loving son, brother and is definitely the 'fun' Uncle to his nieces and nephews. He is funny and sarcastic and lights up any room with his presence, humor and enthusiasm. He has been a dedicated employee and friend to his Ecolab family for over two decades. Our hearts are broken and we can't imagine a life without him," Danna said.

Gildersleeve dropped his son off at lacrosse practice Tuesday and boarded the train instead of flying to New York, which he did more often. He was among the 8 dead and more than 200 injured in the crash.

"He was in the first car," Gildersleeve Sr. said late Wednesday night. "It's turned inside out. They found his phone. His phone, they found. But they can't find him or his belongings."

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