Missing woman's estranged boyfriend indicted on unrelated federal gun charges

Missing woman's estranged boyfriend indicted on unrelated federal gun charges

PITTSBURGH — Thomas Stanko is now the target of at least three separate police investigations while also being considered a person of interest in a woman's high-profile disappearance.

On Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted him on two counts of illegal possession of a firearm.

If you want to receive BREAKING ALERTS, please download our WPXI News App.  You can also follow WPXI on Facebook and Twitter

Content Continues Below

Magistrate Michael Mahady initially dismissed 28 counts of illegal possession brought forward by state police back in April after they searched two of Stanko’s properties.

Now the federal authorities have intervened.


They say Stanko had 17 guns and assorted ammunition after being convicted and serving time for multiple felonies dating back to the 1980s.

Attorney Michael DeMatt is familiar with the Stanko investigation and the disappearance of Cassandra Gross, Stanko’s estranged girlfriend.

"The way things have happened this week, it certainly seems to me that law enforcement are convinced he was involved and responsible for miss Gross' disappearance," DeMatt said, "They're doing, I think, whatever they can by filing as many charges as the evidence would warrant."

The indictment comes two days after troopers charged Stanko and his 82-year-old mother with conspiracy and fraud.

Police say they conspired to use his food stamps while he remains behind bars on a third set of charges unrelated to Gross' disappearance.

“It’s not in any way a comment on whether or not those charges are legitimate or not … but it would seem filing a charge against his mother is a way to put pressure on those around him,” DeMatt said.

DeMatt says he believes investigators are doing what they can to squeeze out any information on Cassandra Gross.

“Sometimes if they want to put pressure on somebody and they have the evidence, they can file the charges and they don’t have to look the other way,” he said.