Homosassa family pleads for help in search for missing father

Deputies searching for business associate

A Homosassa resident who vanished Wednesday night may be the victim of foul play, according to Pasco County investigators. Billy Shuler, 69, left home to meet with a business associate in Holiday but never returned.  

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco made a personal appeal Friday to Shuler's acquaintance, 51-year old Anthony Maresca, to come forward and speak with detectives.

"And because you are on the run and not providing people with where you are is a little suspicious," Nocco said in a news conference, addressing Maresca directly.

Shuler and Maresca had been selling coins at local flea markets, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Shuler is a well-known coin collector and dealer and also bought and sold gold and jewelry, according to his next door neighbor Marlene Mensch.

"It's just so unbelievable," Mensch said. "I think it's all anybody can do at this point is just pray that we find him and hope it's not something foul."

Investigators traced Shuler's truck to a storage facility in Holiday using the pings of his cellphone. Deputies said they found evidence of foul play inside the vehicle, but declined to elaborate on exactly what was discovered.

Surveillance cameras shot video of the area, and deputies are reviewing the tape to see if it reveals any clues to Shuler's whereabouts.

"Somebody bring him home please," an impassioned Ester Shuler said outside her home on Hemlock Court. "Not a bad bone in his body. But there's a bad bone is somebody's bad body," Shuler said.

Shuler's son Dan came into town from Ohio to be with his mother as the family awaits news on the search. With three weeks until Father's Day, Shuler said he hoped someone would come forward with information that would help bring his father home safely.

"Everybody has a father," Shuler said. "I beg, please, I want to spend Father's Day with my dad."  

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