Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Relative tells how lonely Pasco man's Internet romance now part of nightmares in hospital

NEW PORT RICHEY — Joseph Bruno said he was fine, but his stepfather could tell he was lonely. Bruno, 44, lost so much these past few years. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had to give up his handyman business — roofing, carpeting, plumbing — because he couldn't physically do it anymore. He went on disability, relatives said, and moved from Virginia to Florida because he wanted a nice, quiet place near the ocean to live a peaceful life.

He hadn't been in a relationship for two years, his family said, and wanted a companion. But even knowing this, how lonesome he was, they were shocked last week when he announced a woman he'd met recently on the Internet was moving in with him. Her teenage son was coming too, Bruno said.

His stepfather, Eugene DeAngelis, urged Bruno to reconsider.

"To take them into your home without knowing anything is a bad thing," DeAngelis, who lives in New York, told Bruno.

But Bruno told him it was fine.

"Everything is cool," Bruno told his stepfather.

He said Bobbie Jo Curtis, 40, and her son, Bryan Curtis, 16, were being evicted from where they lived and had no place to go. Bruno assured his stepfather that moving into his Moon Lake Estates house on Midvale Avenue was just a "temporary" thing.

DeAngelis fretted. He had such a bad feeling about it.

And then he got a nightmarish call this weekend: The Curtises and a friend, Vanessa Musson, 26, tied Bruno to a chair, beat him with a baseball bat and robbed him at gunpoint, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. Deputies said a neighbor, David Ragon, 69, saw them unloading Bruno's belongings and asked what was going on. Ragon was also attacked with the bat and a hammer, breaking his jaw, giving him a concussion.

"God, I just wish he would have listened to me," DeAngelis said Monday.

Bobbie Jo Curtis and her son were arrested this weekend. Both are charged with attempted murder, unlawful imprisonment, grand theft auto and aggravated battery.

Bruno is still in the hospital and has a breathing tube, DeAngelis said. His condition was very critical this weekend, but it he is now stable, although Bruno is now fighting a "severe case of pneumonia," DeAngelis said.

Ragon is home but not speaking to reporters.

Bobbie Jo Curtis has a long criminal history, with 14 arrests since 2001 on charges such as aggravated assault, burglary and selling prescription drugs. Musson, who is still at large, spent nearly a year in prison on drug crimes, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

DeAngelis said his stepson is traumatized and keeps waking up in his hospital bed, thinking he's still being attacked.

"They are going to get what they deserve," DeAngelis said of those who beat his stepson. "I'm sure of that."

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

>>fast facts

Suspect in attack remains at large

The Sheriff's Office urges anyone with information about Vanessa Musson to not approach her and to call (727) 844-7711. She might have stolen firearms from Joseph Bruno and might be driving his 2000 white Econoline van with a roof and ladder rack, tag number 366TQH. She also goes by "Shorty" and has many tattoos, including "Nessa."

Relative tells how lonely Pasco man's Internet romance now part of nightmares in hospital 09/17/12 [Last modified: Monday, September 17, 2012 9:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Serena Williams, and all women, deserved better from John McEnroe


    John McEnroe might be the best sports analyst in broadcasting.

    Serena Williams makes a backhand return to her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in January in  Melbourne, Australia. [AP photo]
  2. Watch: Provocateur targets CNN producer with hidden camera video


    NEW YORK —A conservative provocateur posted a video Tuesday of a man identified as a CNN producer commenting on his network's coverage of President Donald Trump and connections to Russia.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]
  3. Protesters demand Confederate statue be moved from old Hillsborough courthouse


    TAMPA – Politicians, clergy and community leaders demanded Tuesday that the Hillsborough County commission reverse course and remove a Confederate monument from the old county courthouse.

    (From left) Mike Reed, Kristen Perry and Dayna Lazarus hold protest signs Tuesday in front of a Confederate monument on the grounds of Hillsborough County's old courthouse. Protesters want the statue removed. ALESSANDRA DA PRA   Times]
  4. Man charged with threatening Florida lawmaker on Facebook


    From The Associated Press:

    MIAMI — A Florida man has been charged with threatening to kill a state legislator in a Facebook post. 

    This booking photo released by the Miami-Dade Police Department shows Steve St. Felix, who has been charged with threatening to kill Republican state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in a Facebook post.
  5. Joe Maddon: What my time in Tampa Bay meant, and still means, to me

    The Heater

    Editor's note: The Rays next week in Chicago will meet up for the first time with former manager Joe Maddon, who is in his third year leading the Cubs after nine with the Rays. In advance of the Tuesday-Wednesday series, we asked Maddon to share his thoughts in a column on what his time in Tampa Bay meant to …

    Joe Maddon waits to greet B.J. Upton after Upton's home run in Game 2 of the ALCS in 2008 at Tropicana Field. [Times files (2008)]