Friday, November 24, 2017
Public safety

Missing Brandon woman found dead in Valrico neighborhood

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VALRICO — Hours after a Brandon woman's body was found in a quiet Valrico neighborhood, detectives arrested a person late Tuesday night, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

Christina Mahzamani, 32, was found with upper-body trauma outside a home at 2707 St. Cloud Oaks Drive about 2:20 p.m., sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon said. Her family last saw her about 10 p.m. Sunday. Mahzamani, of 1608 Loriana St., was reported missing at 8:45 p.m. Monday.

A person who was staying at the St. Cloud Oaks Drive home called authorities to report the body. Mahzamani's abandoned car was found a quarter-mile away from the Valrico neighborhood about 2 p.m. Monday.

The Sheriff's Office did not immediately identify the person arrested, who was being interviewed late Tuesday.

Mahzamani was improving her life day by day, said friend Holly Walton.

As her marriage dissolved, Mahzamani poured her energy into building a healthier lifestyle — eating right, working out and losing weight. She was proud of her progress and posted updates on Facebook.

Thanks to inspiration from Walton, she was planning to start taking classes for General Educational Development test.

Mahzamani had her first child as a teenager and focused her attention on raising her three kids. Now that her kids are older — the youngest is 7 — the stay-at-home mom was taking time to improve her life.

"Being that she was that young of a mother, she took on that role and didn't do the things that others did in their late teens or early 20s," Walton said. "Now that she had the time and ability, she was focused on doing some good things for herself and her family."

Walton met Mahzamani through a group she organized for area moms. The 100-plus members of the Brandon Active Moms Group shared memories on Facebook and posted stories about her helpful nature and kind heart.

"Christina was a wonderful mother, a hard worker, a thoughtful friend, always striving to better herself and the lives of her children," Erin Elliott wrote. "She enjoyed taking bike rides and walking the trails at local parks. She was caring and giving — she and her children donated very generously every year to the toy drive with Stuff-A-Bus."

Others described how Mahzamani reached out to them when they were new in town or introduced them to fellow moms.

"Christina always welcomed all of us with open arms, listened when we needed without question and simply always had fun," friend Sherri Pearson wrote on Facebook.

Other friends said she introduced new mothers to new friends and attended activities at Bell Shoals Baptist Church.

"We're all devastated," Walton said. "We feel for the whole family. We'll all miss her."

Walton got a call from a mutual friend Monday that Mahzamani was missing. She called Mahzamani's boyfriend and learned that Mahzamani was missing.

"She told them she would be right back, that she was going to pick up eye drops from another friend," Walton said. "And she just never came back. Obviously that's not like her."

When Mahzamani didn't return, the kids called their grandparents, who picked them up and filed a missing-person report.

Walton said she got a call Tuesday afternoon from Mahzamani's boyfriend, who told her he found the body.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Caitlin Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2443.

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