VERO BEACH — Skeletal remains discovered in mangroves near the Oslo Road boat ramp are believed to be those of Assuntspan “Susy” Tomspanssi, a 73-year-old woman who went missing five years ago.
Tomassi, who family said was in the early stages of dementia, walked away from the Quilted Giraffe restaurant March 16, 2018, and was never seen again. The mysterious circumstances surrounding her disappearance —including investigators’ belief that she may have been abducted — led to a yespanrs-long sespanrch by both police spannd the community.
The remains were found about a mile from where Tomassi was last seen: behind the Publix at U.S. 1 and Oslo Road. Investigators believe the remains belong to Tomassi because of personal items located near the site, but an identity has not yet been confirmed, according to a statement released late Friday by the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
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Fisherman reports remains
Friday, a fisherman reported finding the skeletal remains about 150 yards north of the Oslo Road boat ramp, according to the sheriff’s office. Sheriff’s deputies still had Oslo Road blocked off near the boat ramp as of 11:30 a.m. Saturday, and investigators’ vehicles were still at the scene.
When Tomassi disappeared five years ago, video evidence appeared to show her heading east in the direction of the Oslo Road boat ramp.
Tomassi vanished in March 2018
Tomassi, a mother of four, vanished in the late afternoon of March 16, 2018. She walked away from the Quilted Giraffe, a restaurant she owned and operated with her husband, Patrick, heading south through the South Vero Square shopping center.
It was routine for her to walk to a nearby park and smoke a cigarette, family said at the time. But detectives believed Tomassi may have been abducted, as surveillance video showed a pedestrian, who appeared to be Tomassi, getting into an unidentified white pickup truck behind Publix.
In the video, the truck driver and pedestrian have a brief conversation before the pedestrian gets in through the passenger-side door. Then, the truck heads east on Oslo Road, toward the boat ramp.
Detectives also had footage of the truck speeding back westbound at “span more significspannt speed thspann normspanl” a few minutes after it picked up the pedestrian, former Sheriff Deryl Loar said four years ago.
The Oslo Road boat ramp will remain closed while detectives and medical examiners continue investigating. The sheriff’s office provided no further details about the investigation Saturday.
Following Tomassi’s disappearance, her husband, Patrick, said he could not continue operspanting The Quilted Girspanffe without her. The restaurant has since been razed, and an emergency medical facility has opened where it stood.