Sunday, April 22, 2018
Public safety

Man, woman found dead on houseboat in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating the deaths of a man and a woman whose bodies were found on a large houseboat Friday morning.

Authorities said two people who showed up to work on the boat discovered the bodies about 11 a.m. at Loggerhead Marina, 5821 32nd Way S.

Police identified the dead man late Friday night as John Joseph Travlos, 75. The dead woman was his girlfriend, police said, but detectives were still working to notify her family late Friday and did not release her name.

The case appears to be a double murder, police spokesman Mike Puetz said. The couple had lived aboard the boat, which Travlos owned, for a year and a half. A neighbor last saw them alive Thursday night.

The marina is near 58th Avenue S, just east of Interstate 275.

A massage therapist who had a previously scheduled appointment on the boat arrived Friday morning and knocked on the door, Puetz said. Getting no answer, she approached an electrician who arrived to do work on the boat. Together, they made their way inside and found the bodies.

Travlos and his girlfriend both died from upper body trauma, Puetz said, but the specific cause of death was not released.

Detectives were following several leads and were at the scene throughout the day. The motive appeared to be robbery. No suspects have yet been identified, police said.

About 2 p.m., a flatbed truck arrived and towed away a silver sedan and a golf cart.

Paula Barrett, 59, watched from the sidewalk and thumbed through her cellphone. Barrett lives in the nearby Wave condominiums and once snapped a picture of the boat a little more than a year ago.

"It's the biggest boat out there," she said. "It's really impressive."

The website Yachting Journal says the vessel is called the Relax-Inn and has a hull length of 72 feet.

Barrett said she sometimes saw a man and a woman on the boat during her daily walks. She said she never had a conversation with them.

"I would wave to them," she said. "They would wave back."

Barrett said she last saw the people about three days ago. They rode in a golf cart.

During her morning walk Friday, Barrett passed by the boat as usual. She didn't notice anything out of place. Less than an hour later, an ambulance and police cars were racing into the marina.

"It's shocking. It's so peaceful here," she said. "It's scary. Until we know what happened, it's very scary."

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