In their latest attempt to solve the mystery behind an elderly woman’s disappearance and death, Florida deputies released a sketch of a man implicated in a similar and “suspicious” encounter.
As previously reported, deputies in Indian River County said Assunta “Susy” Tomassi was last seen entering a white pickup truck behind a Publix at Oslo Road and U.S. Highway 1 on March 16, 2018. It was 6:04 p.m. This was in the south end of Vero Square Plaza, 810 S. U.S. 1 in Vero Beach, they said.
Authorities now describe a similar claim in which a woman said that a man in a white truck attempted to lure her into the vehicle. Deputies are searching for that man.
Regarding Tomassi’s disappearance, they described surveillance footage showing the driver rolling down a window and saying something to her before she entered. She then climbed into the truck, which drove off.
“After Tomassi entered the pick-up truck, the truck was seen traveling east on Oslo Road towards the Oslo Road boat ramp,” deputies wrote. “A short time later a white pickup truck matching the truck Tomassi entered was seen traveling west on Oslo Road towards US Highway 1 and has not been seen since.”
She was never seen or heard from again. Tomassi was 73 when she disappeared and deputies said she had dementia.
“I miss my mother and there’s a void left in my heart that can only be filled when we find her,” Tomassi’s son Rhett R. Baker said in a statement released through deputies on March 15, 2019. “Wherever you are Mom, I love you! I just want the public to know that if you have a family member that suffers from any type of mental illness, such as Alzheimer’s disease, spend as much of your extra time with them as possible because you never know when it will be the last time that you do. Most things are replaceable, time and loved ones, not so. The regret you will experience can weigh more than you will ever think it can. For those who don’t have faith to get you through difficult times, I pray you have the support system of loved ones that I have had. God bless and thanks to all who have helped our family thus far as well as the tireless efforts of Detective Dilks and all at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. Never give up hope!”
Authorities suggested that customers who frequented the plaza and employees who worked there at the time might know the driver or be able to provide details leading to his identification.
“The truck was seen in the plaza several times prior to Tomassi going missing,” they’ve previously written. “The truck, too, was known to frequent the Oslo Road Conservation Area nearby.”
A fisherman found Tomassi’s remains along the coastline approximately 150 yards north of Oslo Road near the Oslo Boat Ramp on March 3, 2023.
“While we await positive identification from the Medical Examiner’s Office, the Tomassi family has requested privacy at this time,” Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers said. “I personally met with the Tomassi family this afternoon as we hope to bring closure to them and our community members, many of which searched alongside our agency for Susy over the past five years.”
The driver seen with Tomassi remains unidentified. With in mind, there are highlighting a lead they said they received after Tomassi was found.
“Shortly after the human remains were identified, Detectives received information from a concerned citizen about a suspicious incident that occurred several months before Tomassi’s disappearance,” they wrote. “The citizen told detectives that while walking in the area of the South Vero Square Plaza, she was approached by a white male driving a white pickup truck. The male driver attempted to lure the female into his truck.”
The woman described this man as being approximately 30 to 40 years of age, with a medium build and brown hair that was almost shoulder length, deputies wrote.
If anyone has information regarding the subject depicted in the sketch or information pertaining to this ongoing homicide investigation, please contact the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (772) 978-6259, or remain anonymous and eligible for a cash reward by calling Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at (800) 273-8477 or go to www.TCWatch.org
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]