NEW PORT RICHEY — A decomposed body found off U.S. 19 was identified Saturday as a Maine woman who had been missing in Florida since March 14.
For weeks, friends and family have been concerned about the welfare of Judith Therianos, 52, of Alfred, Maine, a town of about 3,000 southwest of Portland.
Therianos had a black eye one of the last times a friend saw her in Hudson. She brushed it off, saying she had fallen, and went off with an older man named Charlie, who her friends didn't know.
She said they were hanging out with bikers, friends said.
On Thursday, a woman searching for cans noticed a smell, deputies said. She found the body in a small wooded area near 6633 U.S. 19. She immediately called 911.
On Saturday, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said the body was Therianos.
Many questions remain around her disappearance and death.
Investigators said the cause and date of death are unknown but will be determined by the medical examiner's office. They did not say whether foul play was suspected.
For the last month, friends and family have led a social media campaign to search for the woman they called "Judi."
Therianos left Maine with Glenda Cook for a 1,540-mile road trip to Florida to care for an ailing friend in February. When Cook left Tampa Bay, Therianos decided to stay and visit with other friends in the area.
She was supposed to be home in Maine by Easter.
On March 11, a different friend saw Therianos in Hudson, according a Facebook page dedicated to finding the missing woman. Therianos stopped at that friend's house to pick up some of her things, but she wasn't alone. She arrived with Charlie, who may be around 70, in a white SUV.
He's described as having a skinny build, long white hair, a long white beard and a mustache, the Facebook page said.
Therianos told her friend that day that she got the black eye in a fall.
The friend tried to convince Therianos to stay with her in Hudson, but she declined. She told the friend things with Charlie were "cool now" and that he had a boat, according to the Facebook page.
A flier made to find Therianos said she was outgoing and made friends easily.
It's unclear exactly when Therianos was last seen. In the past three weeks, there had been several unconfirmed sightings.
The Sheriff's Office is continuing its investigation.
Cook had largely been leading that search by running a Facebook page called "Help Find Judi Therianos."
Cook said Saturday the family was grieving and did not want to speak with reporters. But she took a moment to remember her friend.
"She was a fun-loving and adventurous person," Cook told the Tampa Bay Times. "She's unforgettable. Once you met her, she truly touched your heart."
"It's troubling, the black eye. No one knows who this Charlie guy is, which is also scary," Cook told NBC News on Monday. "She sometimes trusts people she shouldn't."
Contact Sara DiNatale at email@example.com or (813) 226-3400. Follow @sara_dinatale.