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Sheriff: Victim's son not cooperating in murder mystery | Crime

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Sheriff: Victim's son not cooperating in murder mystery
Crime

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida -- Since January family, friends, and neighbors of a murdered elderly Lakewood Ranch woman have wanted answers.

For the first time Wednesday, Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube says the victim's son may be a big reason why no arrests have been made.

Steube is now calling Thomas Gross, the son of 78-year-old Ina Gross, a person of interest in the case.

"It's been very difficult to get in touch with him," Steube said.

When Ina, a recent widow, was killed, her son was visiting from Israel. Detectives say Thomas was there when she went to bed and found her body the next morning.

There were no signs of forced entry into the home. But right after the funeral, he was allowed to go back to Israel.

Steube says that has led to lots of problems for investigators, including trying to find him.

While investigators aren't ruling out others, including service industry people who may have worked on the Gross house, Thomas is the one they want to know more about.

Steube says they still haven't been able to get all of his financial and phone records.

"He has given us a taped statement and we have him locked into a story.  Right now it's up to us to try and prove or disprove that story," he said.

Family friend and neighbor Sy Bricker says they just want a conclusion.

"No matter who the perpetrator is we would love to know," Bricker said, adding about the son, "I'm not surprised he's a person of interest because he was in the house the day it happened."

Detectives still won't release the cause of death in the case, because they say it could hurt the investigation.

The sheriff's office also isn't releasing the 911 call Gross's son made on the morning of the crime.

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