Florida Cold Case: Gail Ann Russell, Loving Mother – Missing Since 1995

Gail Ann Russell was last seen inside her family’s trailer in the vicinity of the 7100 block of Oakley Avenue in Bayonet Point, Florida on September 4, 1995.

She and her live-in boyfriend, Larry Podolski, went to bed at midnight.

Podolski told authorities that they woke up to tapping on their windows at approximately 1:00 a.m., and Russell got up to investigate. Podolski fell back asleep shortly afterward and when he woke up later in the morning, Russell was gone.

Russell has never been heard from again.

Gail Ann Russell, SOURCE: Pasco County Sheriff’s Office

Podolski stated that $245 in cash disappeared from the residence that night; the couple had planned to use the money to pay bills.

Podolski claims he called the police to report Russell’s disappearance at 1:00 p.m. the same day she vanished, but was told he had to wait 48 hours, so he did not report her missing until 7:27 p.m. two days later. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office does not have a record of his phone call, however, nor do they have a policy of waiting two days to take a missing person report.

Russell’s family told authorities that it was uncharacteristic of her to abandon her children and not share any travel plans with loved ones. She left behind her contact lenses, driver’s license, and other belongings.

Podolski, who was the father of her two sons, had asked her to marry him. He claimed she said yes and they were planning on a February 1996 wedding, but Russell’s mother said her daughter was planning to leave Podolski and take their children.

Russell’s family describes the couple’s relationship as troubled, and they openly accused Podolski of murder after her disappearance. He admitted that he had problems with drugs and alcohol in 1995, but said Russell also had substance abuse issues.

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She and Podolski had a violent, drunken argument in July 1995 and he was arrested, but the charges against him were dropped after Russell recanted her story, and she was charged with filing a false police report. Podolski said they were not having any problems by the time of her September 1995 disappearance.

Russell is considered endangered, but the circumstances surrounding her disappearance are unclear. Podolski died of a drug overdose in 2008. He was never charged in connection with Russell’s case but is still considered a suspect. Her disappearance remains unsolved.

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If you have information regarding this case, please contact :
Pasco Sheriff’s Office
8700 Citizen’s Drive
New Port Richey, FL 34654
(727) 847-5878