Mary Teresa Kushto

Mary, circa 1998; Christopher Below

  • Missing Since 05/05/1998
  • Missing From St. Cloud, Florida
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 08/18/1954 (69)
  • Age 43 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'6, 120 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A white blouse, blue jeans and black boots.
  • Medical Conditions Mary has a history of drug and alcohol addiction, but she was clean and sober at the time of her disappearance.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Mary has a tattoo of a parrot on her right shoulder blade, and her ears are pierced. Her previous married name is Flaherty.

Details of Disappearance

Mary was last seen at Cindy's Lounge in the 1000 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in St. Cloud, Florida at approximately 1:30 a.m. on May 5, 1998. She got into an argument with her boyfriend, left the lounge and has never been heard from again.

Her husband, Guy "Tuck" Kushto Jr., reported her missing on May 29, when he went to Cindy's Lounge and told the bartender his wife was missing and "had probably been raped or is somewhere dead."

Guy is a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan and admitted he had mistreated Mary. By the time of her disappearance, she had left him, was seeing another man and moved in with friends at a motel near Alligator Lake. Guy passed a lie-detector test and was cleared of involvement in Mary's disappearance.

Investigators suspect Christopher J. Below was possibly involved in Mary's case. A photograph of him is posted with this case summary. He is a suspect in several murders and disappearances of young brunette women, including Shaylene Farrell, Kristina Porco and Heather Teague. Below pleaded guilty to attempted involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting of his mistress, Kathern Fetzer, whose body was never found. He is currently incarcerated in an Ohio prison.

Below is known to have been in St. Cloud at the same time that Mary disappeared. It should be emphasized that he has not been charged in connection with any case other than Fetzer's and only conjecture links him to Mary's case.

Mary left behind her parents, her children and her first husband in Pennsylvania. She usually called them at least once every three weeks. Her family realized there was something wrong when she didn't call home during the week of her son's senior prom and high school graduation.

Foul play is suspected in Mary's case due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • St. Cloud Police Department 407-891-6700

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated March 31, 2018; middle name added, distinguishing characteristics updated.