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UNITY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A Westmoreland County woman has been missing since April and her family is now requesting that she be declared dead.

Cassandra Gross, of Latrobe, spoke to her mother on the phone around 3:30 p.m. on April 7. The 52-year-old hasn’t been seen or heard from since then.

(Photo Courtesy: Pennsylvania State Police)

KDKA’s Ross Guidotti: “When we last spoke, you told me you were resolved to what your daughter’s fate was.”
Victim’s Mother Kathe Gross: “I know my daughter’s dead.”

Now, the missing Latrobe woman’s son, Brandon Diebold, has filed a death declaration petition, citing various reasons that the court should declare his mother dead, including:

  • Numerous searches conducted without success,
  • None of Gross’ financial accounts have been touched,
  • State Police told Diebold they have a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence that his mother is dead.

Investigators are not releasing any of what that evidence might be, but her car was also found, burned, by some railroad tracks in Unity Township a few days after she disappeared, and her dog was discovered running alone along Route 30 outside of Latrobe.

The primary reason for the declaration of death centers around the missing woman’s assets. If granted, Gross’s son will have access and control of her financial assets, which include $9,000 left in a bank account and $30,000 in a 401K.

One person state police investigators have concentrated their investigative efforts on is 47-year-old Thomas Stanko. According to family, Stanko was the missing woman’s on-again, off-again boyfriend. Neighbors and family say Stanko was both physically and emotionally abusive to Gross.

Gross’ mother told KDKA-TV’s Ross Guidotti shortly after her daughter’s disappearance that she believes her daughter is dead and Stanko murdered her.

“The longer he sits there, maybe he’ll get antsy and decide to say what he did,” Kathe Gross said.

Stanko remains in jail on an unrelated matter.

Previously, Stanko said he didn’t know what happened to Gross and wants her to come home as well.