Real Name: Lawrence Costine
Nicknames: Larry Costine
Location: Lakeland, Florida
Date: May 3, 1992
Details: Larry Costine was a rancher who owned a stretch of land near Lakeland, Florida handed down over several generations. He lived with his uncle Earlow on the ranch, and later started seeing Melissa Jo Sermons before his divorce to his wife was finalized, keeping the relationship secret for the time. When she failed to return to her home, Earlow checked with him at his trailer and found Larry dead with multiple gunshot wounds to his head and back. The authorities immediately focused on his girlfriend, Melissa Jo Sermons, after her ex-boyfriend proved to have an alibi.
Suspects: Police believe Melissa Jo Sermons to be the only person who could have got close enough to Larry to kill him. She has been seen several times since the murder, particularly in Florida, Texas and Kansas, possibly working as a truck driver. Larry's father believes she has snuck home several times to visit her mother and sisters. However, her supporters believe that Melissa was abducted and murdered and that Melissa's ex-boyfriend was involved.
Extra Notes: This segment ran for the first time on November 24, 1993
Results: Unresolved. Melissa Jo Sermons and Larry Costine are now believed to have been killed by Joe and Danny Cerezo of DeLand Florida. Danny Cerezo was Melissa's ex-boyfriend. According to Joe Cerezo, Melissa is buried somewhere in the Green Swamp of central Florida. Neither of the men were charged in the crime due to the uncooperation of the Polk County State Attorney's office. Joe Cerezo died in November of 2008, but before his death, he confessed to the crime adding that it was his brother, Danny, who shot the first shot. Danny Cerezo suffers from throat cancer but still goes about his daily business as a forest ranger for the Florida Forest Service.
In 2014, Danny Cerezo was indicted for lying to a Florida grand jury in relation to this case.
- Larry's case on Unsolved.com
- Article on Larry & Melissa Jo's case
- Danny Cerezo Indicted on Perjury Charges
- Larry Costine at Find a Grave