Angela Russo was missing at the time of her 25th birthday last month. Tragically, there was, and will be, no celebration — Russo’s body was found in a shallow grave at the end of May. According to KPNX-TV 12 News, Russo’s mother is now warning others about the potential danger in online dating.
“She said ‘I’ll be home tomorrow after work, I promise and I love you’ those were the last words she said to me,” Russo’s mother Diana Schalow said.
Russo is believed to have then gone on a date with Lashawn Johnson, the man police officials now believe ultimately murdered her after they found her cell phone at his apartment. Russo’s mother said her daughter was always the type to look for the good in people and believes that may have led to her trusting the online dating scene more than perhaps she should have.
“I would always tell her make good choices, good choices, ‘I will mom and I love you,’” Schalow said.
Russo isn’t alone, though. Approximately 59% of all internet users agree with the statement, “Online dating is a good way to meet people.” In today’s day of mobile technology and social media, there’s certainly a lot of truth to that notion. Still, Schalow is now on a mission to try and raise awareness over the risks that online dating can have to help prevent other families from suffering a similar tragedy.
In addition to finding Russo’s cell phone at Johnson’s apartment, investigators said the man’s live-in girlfriend directed them to the spot of the shallow grave where Russo’s body was found. Biological evidence at the apartment also suggested an attack occurred in the kitchen, which authorities ultimately believe led to her kidnapping and death.
While Johnson did not admit to guilt, he was quoted as saying that his “life was over” and that he “f***** up and made a mistake” during interrogation. Johnson is currently being held on $1 million bond for charges including second-degree murder, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, and abandoning and concealing a body.