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Florida Plastic Surgeon Charged With Lawyer's Murder After Victim Never Returned From Bathroom Break
Steven Cozzi never returned from a bathroom break at his Florida law firm, where drops of blood and the scent of cleaning products were left behind. On Saturday, plastic surgeon Tomasz Kosowski was charged with first-degree murder in connection with his disappearance.
A Florida plastic surgeon has been arrested for the murder of an attorney who disappeared after taking a bathroom break at work, where police later found blood but no body.
Steven Cozzi, 41, was last seen in his office at Blanchard Law Firm, P.A., on Belcher Road in Largo last Tuesday.
Managing partner Jake Blanchard told WFLA that he reported the attorney missing after he never returned from the bathroom. He said Cozzi, who has been his coworker and best friend for five years, left his keys, wallet and phone at his desk. A suspicious person and vehicle were seen around the building that day, he said.
Largo police said in a statement Sunday that investigators found drops of blood and smelled a "strong chemical odor" in the law firm's bathroom, and that a "subsequent forensics investigation revealed a significant amount of blood.”
Now, the building is being investigated as a crime scene, according to WFLA, with workers barred from the premises until this Wednesday.
Largo police arrested 44-year-old plastic surgeon Dr. Tomasz Kosowski for Cozzi's murder on Saturday, they wrote, after allegedly recovering evidence at his Tarpon Springs home that tied him to the suspected killing. He was booked at Pinellas County Jail on a first-degree murder charge at approximately 4:15 a.m. Sunday morning, according to jail records.
Police Department Public Information Coordinator Megan Santo confirmed to Oxygen.com that Kosowski's home was searched on Thursday, March 23, but did not specify the nature of the incriminating evidence, citing an ongoing investigation.
Blanchard Law, the firm that Cozzi worked for, has been representing the Laufer Institute for Plastic Surgery in an ongoing lawsuit waged in May of 2019 by Kosowski, according to the New York Post. The plastic surgeon worked for the company between 2016 and 2018 before opening his own practice, Xiluet Plastic Surgery, in Miami.
Kosowski is seeking more than $15,000 in damages from the institute for alleged negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of contract, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Per the civil suit, Kosowski's insurance biller neglected to provide required monthly billing statements, "intentionally and continually misrepresent[ing]" to the doctor that the claims had been properly filed. The suit alleges this cost the surgeon tens of thousands of dollars and led to a series of reputation-damaging reviews online.
“Dr. K’s promising young career [has] essentially been obliterated” by the insurance biller's negligence, the lawsuit argues. “Through no fault of his own, his career was put directly in jeopardy and his reputation has been deeply tarnished.”
“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.”
Before becoming president of his class at Dartmouth College's medical school, Kosowski received his undergraduate and masters degrees from the University of New Mexico, according to the Florida Department of Health. He also obtained a degree in business administration from Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business.
A news release announcing his position at the Laufer Institute hailed the doctor as a "national leader" in "the use of native fat for breast and buttock enhancement."
Lois Cozzi, the missing attorney's mother, said that her family is "frantic with worry and numb with fear" over her son's disappearance.
“The outpouring of love and support from people who know and care for Steven has brought some comfort,” she said in a statement to WFLA before Kosowski's arrest. “Right now, we need information and facts."