The Doe Network:
Case File 729DFFL


Melissa Jo Sermons
Missing since May 3, 1992 from Lakeland, Polk County, Florida.
Classification: Endangered Missing

Vital Statistics

Circumstances of Disappearance
Sermons was last seen in Lakeland, Florida on May 3, 1992.

She attended a rodeo during the evening hours with Elwin Lawrence Costine Jr. (nicknamed "Larry") in Dade City, Florida.

Around 02.00, Larry and Jo went to breakfast with a friend. It is believed they arrived back at his trailer around 04:15 Sunday morning. Authorities determined that Sermons never returned to her own Lakeland residence after the date. She has never been seen again.

Both of Sermons and Costine's families filed missing persons' reports with law enforcement when they failed to locate them by the following day.

Costine was discovered deceased inside of his trailer home on Moore Road in Lakeland on May 5, 1992, two days after he and Sermons were last seen. He was a victim of homicide. One of Larry’s guns was missing, however there was no sign of a struggle or robbery. There was no trace of Sermons inside Costine's residence.

Foul play is suspected in her case. Costine's murder remains unsolved as well.

If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

Polk County Sheriff's Office
Detective Larry Roberts
Homicide Unit


Agency Case Number: 9251864

NCIC Number: M-563323141
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

Source Information:
Polk County Sheriff's Office
Unsolved Mysteries

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