Published: Monday, April 16, 2007
Woman from Pittsburgh slain; suspect arrested
Police suspect the body was transported in a suitcase by taxi.
PITTSBURGH (AP) Authorities in Panama have arrested a woman from the United States in the murder and dismemberment of another woman who was originally from Pittsburgh.
The body of Toni Grossi Abrams, 57, a New York City businesswoman who lived in Staten Island, was found Tuesday on a soccer field in Panama City, Inspector Hermano Altamirando of Panama's Technical Judicial Police.
Police have arrested an American woman as a suspect in the killing, Altamirando told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The suspect, currently being held in a Panama City jail, is accused of killing Grossi Abrams in her apartment in an upscale Panama City neighborhood, he said.
Grossi Abrams' apartment "was very disorderly and full of blood," Altamirando said.
Police are also searching for two Colombian men whom they suspect of having helped to dismember the body, stuffing it into a plastic bag, placing it in a suitcase and dumping it at the soccer field, Altamirando said.
Altamirando said the two Colombian men apparently took a taxi to the soccer field where they dumped the suitcase.
"The taxi driver has been our most important witness," he said.
Police have yet to establish a motive for the killing, although Grossi Abrams was apparently wealthy and had valuable jewelry in her apartment, Altamirando said.
Grossi Abrams, who would have turned 58 on Wednesday, graduated from Pittsburgh's Carrick High School in 1966 and was the first woman to hold the post of class president at the school.
The newspaper said Grossi Abrams was the chief operating officer of a financial services firm but did not identify the company. She was on the board of the Staten Island Museum.
Leona Perovich, 86, of Pittsburgh, said she reared Grossi Abrams and her sister, Kathy, from the time they were teenagers after their mother was killed by her boyfriend in a murder-suicide. Kathy Grossi died seven years ago, Perovich told the paper. Grossi Abrams' husband, Martin, died in 1998.
Perovich said she called Grossi Abrams at Easter, but got only her answering machine. She is hoping to hear from Grossi Abrams' firm.
"I'm just hoping someone from there calls me," Perovich said. "I don't really know what happened."
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