Tracy Hoban, who was hit by a car June 3 in Pasco County, was thought to be missing before finally being identified last week.
By MATTIAS KAREN
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 22, 2000
Tarpon Springs resident Tracy Lynn Hoban, who was discovered in a coma in a Tampa hospital last week after mysteriously disappearing two weeks earlier, died Wednesday morning.
Hoban, 35, who was hit by a car June 3 at a Pasco County intersection, died around 5:30 a.m. at St. Joseph's Hospital, hospital spokeswoman Joelle Wiley said. Hoban reportedly got out of her boyfriend's truck during an argument shortly before the accident.
The Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating the accident, said Cpl. R.J. Kraus, the chief investigator on the case. Kraus said the Hillsborough County medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death. Authorities said last week that they suspected that Hoban, a mother of two, might have received some of her injuries before the accident.
Michelle Proctor, Hoban's niece, said Hoban had suffered severe head injuries and never regained consciousness.
"Other than her head, you wouldn't even have known (she was injured)," Proctor said.
Proctor said Hoban was hooked up to a respirator until earlier this week.
"She was breathing good on her own, so they took her off," she said.
Hoban lay unidentified in the hospital until June 15, when a Pasco County sheriff's deputy connected her description with a missing persons report. Until then, Tarpon Springs police had suspected Hoban may have been murdered.
The same day that she was identified, authorities searched the house of 42-year-old Ed Bunch, Hoban's live-in boyfriend, at 133 Hope St. The search took place two days after a bail bondsman found blood stains on a sheet in the house and on a comforter in the garage and told police.
According to Bunch, Hoban was unharmed when she stepped out of his truck on U.S. 41 on June 3 and never came back. He reported her missing June 5.
After Hoban was found, Tarpon Springs police and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office closed their investigations. Kraus said the blood found in the house, which Bunch said was from his dog, Bear, is currently being analyzed. Pending the result of that analysis and the medical examiner's report, a criminal investigation could be reopened, Kraus said.
"There could be several angles coming out of it," he said. "We're not sure yet."
Kraus would not say what other objects could possibly have caused Hoban's injuries. Proctor said neither the hospitalnor Highway Patrol had informed family members of any suspicions.
"We're still in the dark," she said.
Bunch, who said earlier this week that the investigation had been very straining, burst into tears when he was told of Hoban's death Wednesday. He said he had not visited Hoban in the hospital because he feared her family was holding him responsible for the accident.
"I didn't want to cause any problems," he said. "There's enough problems already."
Hoban, an Alabama native, was a longtime Tampa resident before moving in with Bunch. She worked for Efficiency Heating and Cooling in Tampa. Her 9-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter live with her ex-husband in Washington state.