LATROBE, Pa. — A missing Westmoreland County woman was officially declared dead Tuesday after a civil hearing.
Cassandra Gross of Latrobe was last seen in April 2018. Her burned car was found in a wooded area in Twin Lakes Park in Unity Township.
Police have searched the property of Gross' ex-boyfriend, Thomas Stanko -- who has not been declared a suspect -- and nearby Unity Cemetery, but so far, there are no clues to her whereabouts.
Gross’ son and attorney requested Tuesday’s hearing.
The judge’s decision declaring Gross dead as of April 7, 2018, said the facts indicate she was the victim of a homicide.
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Her family testified that there hasn’t been any activity on her bank accounts, credit cards or 401K since her disappearance, and Gross’ son testified that he believes his mother is dead. He is the only heir to her estate.
Gross’ mother also took the stand, claiming Stanko stalked her daughter and said he was going to kill her. She said Stanko sent threatening letters to her daughter.
While Stanko has never been charged in relation to Gross’ disappearance, he has been charged with unrelated crimes after police searched his properties.
The coroner said no physical death certificate will be issued because it’s a presumed or legal declaration of death and the court order could be reversed at any time. But that court order is enough to legally access assets and resolve issues like Gross' car loan and insurance.
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