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Florida plastic surgeon charged with murder after attorney goes missing: "Our greatest fears were realized"

Florida surgeon charged with murder in attorney's disappearance
Florida surgeon charged with murder in attorney's disappearance 00:30

A Tampa-area plastic surgeon has been charged with murder, accused of killing a lawyer missing since last week from a firm that represents former co-workers the doctor has been suing in a business dispute.

Largo police arrested Dr. Tomasz Kosowski on a first-degree murder charge on Saturday in the disappearance of Steven Cozzi, who was last seen Tuesday at Blanchard Law, the firm where he worked.

Steve Cozzi St. Petersburg Bar Association

Police said Sunday that while Cozzi's body has not been found, they have evidence that he was killed by Kosowski.

They said Cozzi's wallet, phone and keys were found in the law office along with a significant amount of blood in the bathroom. They say a suspicious person and car were seen at the office, leading them to Kosowski. A search of the doctor's Tarpon Springs home found evidence that led to his arrest, police said. They did not elaborate.

Kosowski, 44, who goes by "Dr. K," was being held without bail on Sunday at the Pinellas County Jail. Court and jail records do not indicate if he has hired an attorney.

Blanchard Law has been representing Kosowski's former employer and co-workers in a lawsuit he filed against them four years ago and is ongoing. Jake Blanchard, the firm's principal partner, did not immediately respond Sunday to an email and phone message seeking comment.

Attorney Missing Doctor Charged
This photo provided by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office shows Dr. Tomasz Kosowski, who was arrested on a first-degree murder charge, March 25, 2023, by Largo Police, in Florida.  / AP

In the lawsuit, Kosowski said he began working for Laufer Institute of Plastic Surgery in 2016, mostly doing breast reconstruction surgery. He said the woman Laufer Institute assigned to do his insurance billing didn't file claims and lied to his patients, costing him tens of thousands of dollars and resulting in negative reviews of him to be posted online.

"Dr. K's promising young career has essentially been obliterated" by the woman's actions, Kosowski lawsuit says. "Through no fault of his own, his career was put directly in jeopardy and his reputation has been deeply tarnished."

He left Laufer Institute in 2018 and had set up his own practice. Laufer Institute did not immediately return a call seeking comment Sunday.

Kosowski's neighbors told CBS affiliate WTSP-TV that he was a nice guy and said he was very conversational when he went to community functions. They said they were shocked by the news.

Michael Montgomery, who says he is Cozzi's husband, posted a message on Facebook Sunday, saying Cozzi was "stolen" from us.

"Today, our greatest fears were realized," he wrote. "My husband and best friend was stolen from us."

In a subsequent post, Montgomery wrote: "We are going to get Justice."

The St. Petersburg Bar Association also posted on Facebook about Cozzi.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those close to Steve — both personally and professionally," they wrote.

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