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    Man missing since Jan. 1 found dead by Orlando lake

    By KELLEY BENHAM and LISA GREENE
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 6, 2003

    Peter Georgiou was the last surviving son of a well-known Tarpon Springs fishing family.

    His older brother drowned at age 17, and his younger brother died at age 26 from an illness.

    Now the family is mourning again.

    Georgiou, 42, was found dead Saturday afternoon in Orlando, said his sister, Joy Georgiou Sakelson. He had been missing since New Year's Day.

    "There were three sons, and now all are gone," said U.S. Rep. Mike Bilirakis, a family friend. "That's what's so horrible."

    A passerby found a body behind the Parliament House Resort on Orange Blossom Trail, said Lt. Bob Strobridge of the Orlando Police Department.

    The body was partially submerged in Rock Lake. Police don't know how Georgiou died, but detectives are investigating.

    His head was in the water, and his clothing -- except for his shirt -- was dry. Strobridge said it didn't appear that Georgiou had drowned and drifted ashore.

    Georgiou's truck and cell phone were found Thursday in Allen County, Ky.

    "It was driven up here by someone who knew Mr. Georgiou," said Deputy Chad Keen of the Allen County Police.

    Keen said the man claimed that Georgiou had sold him the truck. Keen would not identify the man, who has not been charged with a crime, and said it was too soon to say whether he was a suspect in Georgiou's death.

    "Until they get an autopsy report, it could go either way," Keen said.

    Georgiou lived in Holiday and worked with his father, John Georgiou, at his Tarpon Springs charter fishing and gift shop business, Dolphin Deep Sea Fishing.

    Georgiou went to Orlando Tuesday morning to go to Universal Studios, Sakelson said. He called his family at 8 a.m. Wednesday and said he would be home early Wednesday evening.

    His family never spoke to him again.

    "My parents are golden," Sakelson said. "They didn't deserve this. I can't imagine what they have gone through."

    Sakelson is left the only surviving child of John Georgiou and Sophia Georgelas. George Georgiou, the oldest brother, drowned while shelling near Anclote Island. Another brother, John, died of an illness in 1993.

    "It's just horrible. It's just a bad world," Sakelson said. "If they just wanted the truck, they could have let him go. He wasn't a fighter. They didn't need to hurt him."

    Sakelson, who gave birth to her second child seven weeks ago, said her brother "loved his nephews," and was quiet and good-hearted.

    "Everyone who met him liked him," she said. "He was a good person."

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