A Florida plastic surgeon was taken into police custody early Sunday morning after a traffic stop in Tarpon Springs. He faces a first-degree murder charge related to a missing Pinellas County lawyer, Steven Cozzi, according to the Largo Police Department.
Officers booked Tomasz Roman Kosowski, 44, at approximately 4:15 a.m. at the Pinellas County Jail.
Largo police responded to a call for service Tuesday about a missing person and learned Cozzi had left his Largo office, leaving behind his wallet, car keys and cellphone.
But he was never seen exiting the building and left behind his vehicle, according to police.
“During the investigation, there was a strong chemical odor in the men’s bathroom of the office and small drops of blood,” Largo police said in a statement. “A subsequent forensics investigation revealed a significant amount of blood in the same bathroom.”
Their investigation led police to obtain a search warrant for Kosowski’s Tarpon Springs home, which he bought in 2018 for $1 million, according to public records.
Evidence obtained from the search warrant — the nature of which has not yet been publicly revealed — led to the vehicle stop of Kosowski on Saturday, police said.
The body of Cozzi, 41, has not been located at this time. The investigation is still active and ongoing.
His mother, Lois Cozzi, told WFLA Ch. 8 her family is “frantic with worry” as they await news of their missing loved one. “The outpouring of love and support from people who know and care for Steven has brought some comfort,” she said.
Kosowski’s primary practice location is listed as 8396 SW Eighth Street in Miami, according to the Florida Department of Health. That address is the location of Xiluet Plastic Surgery, which offers “a wide range of cosmetic surgeries, including liposuction, tummy tuck, BBL, breast augmentation with implants, and more,” according to the practice website.
Kosowski began working at the Laufer Institute of Plastic Surgery in Dunedin in September 2016, according to court records.
A news release announcing Kosowski as joining the practice describes him as an “innovative and accomplished plastic surgeon ... who understands the art and science of the human body and how to redefine beauty for each and every patient.”
Less than three years later, Kosowski filed a civil lawsuit against people associated with the Laufer Institute of Plastic Surgery for negligence, breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, seeking damages in excess of $15,000.
The case stems from a medical billing dispute. Kosowski’s assigned insurance biller failed to provide the required monthly billing statements and “intentionally and continually misrepresented” to Kosowski that the claims had been filed properly, according to the May 2019 complaint.
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One irate patient ended up handing out photographs of her unreconstructed breasts and telling others in the practice that Kosowski had “butchered” her and calling him a liar. She also posted “negative and defamatory reviews” online.
“It is important to really understand how negative reviews, and negative allegations can have a huge impact on a career,” reads the complaint. “... In this day and age, a positive online reputation is key in securing medical services as everybody first Googles practitioners from which they will be getting services from.”
Many of the defendants in this case are being represented by attorney Jake C. Blanchard. It is the same firm, Blanchard Law, where Cozzi was last seen on Tuesday.
Kosowski received both his undergraduate and master’s degrees from University of New Mexico, according to the Department of Health. He attended the medical school at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, serving as the president of his class, according to the news release announcing his position at the Laufer Institute.
Kosowski also received a master’s degree in business administration from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.
He is considered “a pioneer in the use of native fat for breast and buttock enhancement,” and was, at the time of his hiring at Laufer, positioned to become a “national leader” in this subspecialty in cosmetic surgery.