CLEARWATER — Detectives were still investigating Monday the suspicious death of a 41-year-old woman whose body was found Saturday in a grassy ditch near the Pinellas Trail, police said.
"The bottom line is we're still trying to piece together a time line," said Clearwater police spokesman Rob Shaw. "We are seeking to hear from any member of the public who may have come across her, whether it was at a convenience store, or on the trail, or just anywhere."
Lydia Ann Tross' boyfriend, Lawrence Staley, called police Aug. 5 to report that she was missing.
While picking flowers Saturday along the Pinellas Trail, a man and his grandson discovered a decomposed body between Fairmont Street and Stevenson Avenue, Shaw said.
Police confirmed Sunday it was Tross. The medical examiner's office performed an autopsy, but had not released a cause of death Monday. Although detectives believe her death is suspicious, they have not classified it a homicide. The police department's bike team officers are now patrolling the trail more since Tross' body was found, Shaw said.
News of Tross' death spread via Facebook to her friends, including Tayandy and David Braver of Sioux Falls in South Dakota. They described Tross as a good-natured woman who loved poetry, theater and cats.
"We've all been following the news and this is not the outcome any of us hoped for," Tayandy said. "It's really hard to process."
Tayandy Braver and Tross met about 17 years ago at a toga party in Chicago, where Tross is from, according to her Facebook page.
Tross moved to Florida about four years ago and had recently been living with Staley, who declined comment Monday, and his two black and white cats, Blaze and Boots, in a second-floor apartment on Highland Avenue, Tayandy Braver said.
"She was an extremely sweet woman," David Braver said. "Definitely not deserving of what happened to her."
Clearwater police ask anyone with information on Tross' death to call (727) 562-4242.
Contact Laura C. Morel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727)445-4157. On Twitter: @lauracmorel.