Gail Ann Russell

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Above Images: Russell, circa 1995

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: September 4, 1995 from Bayonet Point, Florida
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: February 11, 1965
  • Age: 30 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'5 - 5'8, 135 - 145 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Russell has scars on her left wrist and abdomen. She wore contact lenses in 1995, but did not have them on at the time of her disappearance. Some agencies spell her last name "Russel."
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: Blue jeans, a blue or yellow t-shirt, white socks, white sneakers and a gold wedding ring with a small imbedded diamond.
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    Details of Disappearance

    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 afterwards and when he woke up later in the morning, Russell was gone. She has never been heard from again. 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 persons 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 belongs. 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. 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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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    800-854-2862

    OR
    727-844-7781

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    Source Information
    Pasco County Sheriff's Office
    The Tampa Tribune
    NamUs
    The St. Petersburg Times

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    Updated 5 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated April 21, 2012; details of disappearance updated.

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