Locally Known Homeless Man Found Dead At Campsite In Toms River

Cause of death on Billy Clayton pending autopsy results


A homeless Toms River man was found dead by police at his 'campsite' early Thursday evening.

Billy Clayton, 57, was found in his tent in the woods across from the 7-Eleven store between Fischer Boulevard and Hooper Avenue. The cause of death is yet to be determined pending autopsy results, according to Police Chief Michael Mastronardy.

An acquaintance of Clayton's contacted police around 5 p.m. Thursday to alert officers that Clayton hadn't been seen in a while, according to Mastronardy.

Dennis Galante, former owner of Nature Fair on Hooper Avenue, was one of many residents who knew Clayton over the years.

"A lot of us befriended and took care of him," Galante said. "We did the best we could."

"He was a long-time recognized figure by anyone who frequented or lived in the Silverton section of Toms River," Galante added. "This is a tragedy of circumstance of the homeless around us. This follows along with the big problem going on in Ocean County and the lack of housing for them (the homeless)."

Galante had requested that a prayer be said in memory of Clayton at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Hooper Ave in Toms River.

Galante said his friend and associate Eric Corbet, of Holy Cross, wrote the following, which was read at Sunday's masses.

"Dear Lord, we lift up to you William Clayton, who died this week as he lived, homeless and alone in a tent in the woods not far from here. He was as much a victim of his mental illness and past drug use as of an apathetic community that cared not for him as long as he wasn’t bothering anyone. As poor Lazarus was carried away by angels to be by Your side, please give William his place in your kingdom and help us to remember to try to close that chasm that exists between us and the poorest in our society."

Judys 15 December 12, 2011 at 12:52 PM
Poor thing. Rest in peace.
stan swit December 12, 2011 at 02:49 PM
This is America! Its a shame that we have this happening in this country, state and county. This should not happen to anybody in this land of the free. We receive and see advertisements for the poor and starving in other countries but do we look at our own humans in this country? All I can say about this its a shame. God Bless You Billy and now your home and protected.
James F. Fosbre IV December 12, 2011 at 03:20 PM
This happens alot because of the way our system deals with mental illness. They basically fall through the cracks or the gaps of our system. Most Govt. run agencies for this are a waste of money and a camoflaged cause to create jobs for political favors. Hence, the passion for the issue is not there from the top down. Many of the workers for these Agencies are very caring and passionate but are very limited on what they can do because of the system hastily put together for them. You are either a threat and locked up or you are released on your own. There needs to be a middle ground of care and supervision. There are some very good privately funded homes in our area that do a great job with this uncomfortable situation.
Mattie December 12, 2011 at 03:49 PM
I agree with what you've said James... However, remember this; every time our government has a program or wishes to institute a program that "benefits" the mentally ill, the poor children or families, the homeless, etc. it becomes a political football, and worst of all the TARGET for blame regarding the state of the economy, the reason for high taxes and government spending, etc. Politicians blame these programs for "draining our resources and economy" and accuse everyone using them of being lazy, druggies, scammers of the system, or criminals. Then in turn, the average Joe and Jane Taxpayer start to believe these politicians and proudly backing them up on funding cuts and making it harder and harder for these programs to work effectively or efficiently. In the end we end up with thousands and thousands of people like Billy... mentally ill, homeless, jobless, poor, unfed, uncared for, and we as Americans, should be mortified and ashamed that we care so little for our fellow citizens, and so much for the almighty Dollar. We have no empathy and no sympathy for the poor in this country. But tax cuts and loopholes for multi-billion dollar corporations are defended and wars are readily funded and considered "patriotic".
M'Linda Kula December 12, 2011 at 04:55 PM
My beloved mother felt we must take care of the family members 1st and then our friends and neighbors next. She also went to the local church to see who needed what along with the " Salvation Army ". It did bother her that we send money to other countries while our own people needed help. Many Americans want to know, WHAT IS OUR GOVERNMENT DOING WITH OUR TAX DOLLARS? Start posting in local papers AR / AP records and if not, WHY NOT? YOU work for the people. It is not the other way around. *** NO AMERICAN should be without food or shelter on their own soil.
Sparkles December 12, 2011 at 04:58 PM
R.I.p bill , silverton will miss you
Carrie December 12, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Ive known Billy Clayton for as long as i can remember and it breaks my heart to know that he is gone. I use to help Billy out with money or food sometimes and I will miss him very much. If and when there is a funeral please post it because I would love to be there to honor him. Homeless-yes... Human-yes. He was just the same as you and me! RIP Billy Clayton. Forever in my heart!!
Just a Guy December 13, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Billy was a strange bird indeed, but everyone of us is as well. I grew up with him during the 70's and he was always one to help you out if it was in his means to do so. Sadly he was his own worst enemy, but his life should be a lesson to all of us, that what ever life course we choose, LIFE itself is a wonderful SHORT experience. Cherish the time we have now, and use it wisely. Gladly, Billy knew of the hope of a resurrection to a glorious paradise earth! (John 5:28; Acts 24:15) I long to speak with him again then!
gene smith December 14, 2011 at 02:46 AM
before we give any money to ANY other country, and allow illegals to use our hospitals and food stamp programs. every citizen (not anchor baby) deserves a roof over their head and food on the table. end of story. our govt. is too worried about those who "HATE US", like sending them more money will solve the problem. they hate us, it has never changed and it never will...
william sackler December 17, 2011 at 06:53 PM
Jethro Tull was Billys favorate music, i was talking with him at the wawa across from where it is said his camp was. I remember his eyes, blue as can be, wild with passon when he spoke of music, Billy loved music, and tea...I never asked him if living outside was what he wanted, it was an awkward subject.But I feel that he felt a sence of peace out there. Idiots would yell things at him, but he wouldnt even hear it, even if he did. Now that he has passed, I know hes in a better place, with God. RIP Billy
Mike December 20, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Mattie December 20, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Illegals do not get food stamps, welfare or unemployment. http://blog.chron.com/immigration/2008/01/illegal-immigrants-on-welfare-fact-or-fiction/ http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/cost-of-illegal-immigrants/ http://www.theicosamagazine.com/the-broken-system
lady4string June 13, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Rest In Peace.. Serious Question..I Always Saw A Homeless Guy In Silverton. heHe reResemblef Eddie Vedder...Was This Him? I always sore this particular person and wanted to take them to my house on thanksgiving for shower and a meal. VEry sad.


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