Details of Disappearance Rossi was last seen at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 29, 1982. He lived in Boca Raton, at the time, and had spent the Christmas holiday at his mother's home in New Jersey.
On December 28, his family drove him to the airport at approximately 9:00 a.m. so he could fly to the Bahamas. He waved goodbye from inside the terminal, and this was the last time they saw him. On January 1, 1983, his sister tried to call him in the Bahamas to wish him a Happy New Year, but he didn't answer the phone.
On January 2, Rossi's family got a call from his girlfriend, saying he'd been piloting a plane off the coast of the Bahamas when he crashed it and died. His family only knew the girlfriend by her first name, and never heard from her again. The plane crash story was never confirmed, Rossi's body was never recovered, and the private plane he owned and supposedly crashed had been resold at least three times since the years since Rossi's disappearance. His family was also unable to recover any of Rossie's belongings after his supposed death. They no longer believe he died in a plane crash.
Rossi was involved in NASCAR in the 1950s through the early 1970s, and was noted for his excellent skills as an engine builder and auto mechanic. After a close friend was killed in a crash, he became interested in improving auto safety and developed an improved driver restraint system for stock cars and won an award as a result.
However, by the mid-1970s, Rossi was having financial problems and had become disenchanted with NASCAR, and there were rumors that he was involved with drugs. His family believes his disappearance could be drug-related.
His case remains unsolved.
- Pennsylvania State Police
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 14, 2021; details of disappearance updated.