Woman's family waiting, hoping

Herald Staff WritersJuly 4, 2007 

— Bruce Fast expects to spend the July Fourth holiday waiting for word about his wife, Susan, who has been missing since late Friday night.

"We're doing the best we can," said Travis Fast, Susan's son by a previous marriage and adopted by Bruce several years ago. "Obviously, we're hoping for the best."

Bruce, 74, reported his 60-year-old wife missing from their home in the 7500 block of Bird's Eye Terrace in Tara after returning from a trip to the Bahamas.

Susan Fast took an earlier flight Friday from the Bahamas trip because she could not get a seat on her husband's flight.

Detectives with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office continued to search for the missing woman Tuesday.

"We suspect foul play, we know she did not disappear voluntarily," said Randy Warren, spokesman for the sheriff's office. "She was removed from her home against her will. Until we find evidence, we can't say it's a homicide."

As to whether Susan Fast is still alive, Sgt. Pete Rampone said he thinks it's "not looking real promising."

"It's out of character for her to be gone like this," Rampone said.

It was widely suspected that Bruce Fast's son, Thomas, who family members described as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, may be connected to her disappearance.

Thomas Fast was still in custody Tuesday on an unrelated charge of carrying a concealed weapon. Warren said no additional charges in connection with the disappearance have been filed against him.

Rampone said detectives have talked to Thomas Fast about his stepmother's disappearance, but declined to give details.

Detectives were checking out Thomas Fast's alibi, Rampone said.

"We're trying to rally the community to keep a lookout for anything out of the ordinary," said Travis Fast. "Her purse is missing."

He said people may find her driver's license or the Canon digital camera that was in the black purse.

Travis Fast said the disappearance of his mother has been really tough on his father.

"They have worked together a long time and spend a lot of hours together," he said. "It's heart-wrenching."

The sheriff's office has been keeping the family informed on the progress of the investigation "as much as they can," Travis Fast said.

He said they still have hope Susan Fast is alive, "but either way we can't just not know."

Warren said deputies will continue to scour Manatee County for her, concentrating in the East Manatee area.

"We are hoping we will gain some help from the general public. Somebody may have noticed something they think is not important," Warren said. "But any and all information could help our detectives to come to a conclusion."

Anyone with tips about the case can call the sheriff's office at 747-3011 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 866-634-8477.

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