NEW PORT RICHEY — David Losacano woke up Monday morning in Concord, N.H., thinking about his sister. It would have been Linda Losacano's 50th birthday, but her brother had given up any hope of finding her alive.
Family members reported Linda Losacano missing in May, after she'd stopped answering their phone calls. Pasco sheriff's deputies who forced their way into her Wesley Chapel home on May 6 heard a gunshot and found Losacano's longtime boyfriend, Timothy Dean Arnold, had just killed himself. The couple's daughter Kylie, then 5, was unharmed.
But Linda Losacano was nowhere to be found.
For months, David Losacano has wondered what happened to her, and "why did a nice woman like my sister have to go out in a world like this?"
Later Monday afternoon came a partial answer.
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco announced her remains were those found last week in a patch of woods off State Road 54 in Wesley Chapel.
The investigation is still open: Authorities need to determine Losacano's cause of death and, if foul play is detected, identify a culprit. Detective Daniel Toner said Arnold remains the prime suspect.
"There's no reason to believe anyone else was involved with her disappearance and/or death," Toner said Monday.
David Losacano said his sister was passionate about her family. They sent boxes of goodies back and forth on birthdays and holidays if they couldn't be together. She moved down to Florida just out of college 27 years ago and eventually founded Palm Breeze Interpreting Services, a sign language interpreting firm she ran out of her house.
Earlier this year, David Losacano, told the Times he knew something was wrong between the couple last Christmas. He said he watched Linda Losacano tell Arnold that she planned to leave him, and Arnold respond by saying he couldn't live without her.
"You're scaring me," David Losacano heard his sister say.
Pasco County sheriff's deputies stopped by the house, 27154 Raven Brook Road, twice the weekend of May 5 and got no answer. Losacano's siblings, David and Connie Losacano, flew down from New Hampshire to investigate, too. They feared the worst.
On May 6 at about 9:17 p.m., deputies forced their way into the house. They heard a gunshot from another room where they later found Arnold dead. Kylie ran from the house crying and into her aunt's arms.
Though there was no sign of Linda Losacano, the Sheriff's Office said then, "evidence was discovered at the Wesley Chapel home that may indicate foul play."
Investigators combed through the swampy sections of woods across the street from the house. They opened the shed behind the house and dug near dirt piles in the back yard. They covered surrounding areas on all-terrain vehicles and police horses. They examined bank and cell phone records.
Then Thursday, two hunters were walking through the woods near Wesley Chapel Boulevard, three miles from Losacano's house, when they found bones scattered in the leaves on the ground.
Deputies swept the area and collected evidence.
Investigators matched the remains to Losacano's partial dentures, which had been left at her home.
David Losacano said Kylie, now 6, is being raised by his sister, Connie, in New Hampshire. Kylie goes to school and counseling and seems to be doing fine, he said.
He said he's thankful to have this closure. Thankful to be relieved of the most nagging of all his questions.
"I loved her very, very much," he said. "And today, I would have called her and told her happy birthday."
Staff writers Erin Sullivan and researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Alex Orlando can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.