Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Missing 86-year-old Largo woman drowned

BELLEAIR — Mary Zelter, the 86-year-old woman who vanished last week and was found Monday night, died in an accidental drowning, the Medical Examiner's Office said Wednesday.

Zelter was found floating in the Intracoastal Waterway near a Clearwater boat ramp late Monday. Her submerged car was pulled from about 6 feet of water Tuesday morning.

While police have said there is no outward sign of criminal activity, Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Daly-Watts said it was too early to make a final conclusion. Police are still waiting for toxicology reports and for her car to dry out enough for it to be examined.

Zelter's daughter, Mary Lallucci, spoke briefly to reporters Wednesday morning in the driveway of her Belleair home.

She thanked police, the public and the media for helping in the search for her mother, who did not return Feb. 26 after signing out of her assisted living facility.

"The human kindness that has come forward is amazing," said Lallucci, 54, who works as senior vice president of client services for the Tampa office of Right Management, a career management and human resource consulting firm.

It is still a mystery to the family why Zelter disappeared. Lalluci said police believed that her mother drove into the water on the same day she vanished. She had no cell phone at the time; she usually went on short trips.

But a week ago Tuesday she drove to an Albertsons in Largo and bought $30 worth of merchandise, but she never returned to the facility.

Her body was recovered about 10 miles away.

Lallucci said the family will continue to call for the creation of a so-called Silver Alert system in Florida that would help locate missing and endangered older adults.

"We have no way yet of knowing whether it would have helped my mom," Lallucci said. "But there's no question that in a state with as many senior citizens as ours, the ability to rapidly alert law enforcement and citizens of a missing senior is essential."

Missing 86-year-old Largo woman drowned 03/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:27am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays looking for runs and a win



  2. United Airlines CEO to investors: We'll be more focused on customers


    CHICAGO — The CEO of United Airlines assured shareholders Wednesday that the company is doing all it can to be more customer-friendly since video surfaced of a passenger being violently ejected from a plane last month.

    Chicago Police arrest protesters after they sat down in a busy street blocking traffic outside a United Airlines shareholders meeting Wednesday, in downtown Chicago. The people who were arrested were protesting the low pay of employees of companies that provide meals and other services for United Airlines at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
[Associated Press]
  3. 6 essential things you'll need before going to a theme park this summer


    With Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer, we're back with a new a guide to what's new or noteworthy in Central Florida attractions.

  4. BREAKING NEWS: High winds force Sunshine Skyway to close as storms move in to Tampa Bay

    Public Safety

    The Sunshine Skyway bridge has been closed because of the weather conditions, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has announced.

    The Sunshine Skyway was closed Wednesday afternoon because of high winds. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times

  5. 'Biggest winner' of session, Richard Corcoran, paid $20k to the guy who named him biggest winner


    In the final days of the 2017 legislative session, as Tallahassee obsessed over whether a budget deal might happen or implode like Frank Artiles' political career, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran decided he could use some friendly P.R. Corcoran's political committee, Florida Roundtable, paid $20,000 to Extensive …