In 2000, he lost four limbs to bacterial meningitis at 16-years-old. As of Wednesday, 30-year-old Sean Petrozzino is being sought for the murder of his parents.
The bodies of Nancy and Michael Petrozzino, both in their mid-60s, were discovered Tuesday at 10:55 a.m. after Andover Elementary School, where Nancy was a teacher, noted her obvious absence and asked authorities to check on her. Both were found dead in the home. They had been married for 41 years. Nancy, herself, had been a teacher for 40 of those years. Father, Michael Petrozzino, worked as a Walt Disney World cast member.
Now, you might think it would be difficult for a quadruple amputee to murder his parents, much less make an escape, and while local authorities are not currently considering him a suspect, local sheriff’s spokesperson Jane Watrel states that he is still the only person of interest on their list, so it appears it is not an impossible scenario to consider.
Petrozzino grew up in South Florida, where the loss of four of his limbs launched him into the headlines as he endured dozens of surgeries combatting the illness that nearly took his life. Petrozzino’s charming perspective through it all made him Florida’s darling for a time. The once talented clarinetist maintained a demeanor of strength, courage, and positive hope through his ordeal, even as he lost both his hands, feet, and parts of his limbs, prompting generous donations to pour, including a voice-command laptop, a specially equipped van and wheelchair ramps around his home.
According to Petrozzino’s mother-in-law, Cathleen Horne, Sean was always a calm and peaceful kid. She stated:
I’ve known Sean since he was 16 years old. This just seems bizarre. It seems like a bad dream.
During Petrozzino’s original debut in Florida headlines for meningitis, the South Florida Sun Sentinel referred to him as “perky, silly, polite and philosophical beyond his 16 years.”
Petrozzino was also quoted in at least one article back then as saying:
Lots of important things in life just happen by chance. You know someone and get a job that makes you millions of dollars. Or you get a disease. There doesn’t seem to be any reason some things happen.
I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. As much as I feel bad about what happened, I feel good that my family and all my friends stood by me.”
And according to the Orlando Sentinel, Petrozzino continued that optimism and fresh perspective into his adulthood with posts on social media such as, “First quad amputee to climb Kilimanjaro. Circa 2024…”
Fast-forward 14 years and Petrozzino, while, again, not technically considered a suspect in the murders (only being referred to as the sole person of interest) is now being referred to as “dangerous” and “gun-toting.”
As a result of the murders, the Andover Elementary Parent Teacher Association’s Facebook page communicated that extra security was being provided at the school. Parents are being encouraged to speak with their children about the matter and grief counselors are being brought in, as well. The Andover PTA page stated:
Principal [Angela] Zambaus and staff are trying to keep the day as normal as possible, to help everyone cope with the sudden loss of one who is loved and admired by all. The wonderful memories of Mrs. Petrozzino will live on forever!!
Currently, Florida authorities are searching for Sean Petrozzino, on the lookout for his father’s missing red Toyota Camry, license plate 112VZY. According to local deputies, Petrozzino may be en route to Jupiter or Coral Springs in South Florida, wearing prosthetic legs.
Sheriff Department spokesperson Watrel stated:
We want him to get in here and talk to us so we can find out what happened, since he was apparently living with his parents.
Surveillance video has been released recently of Petrozzino near a Wells Fargo ATM in the Orlando area Tuesday.
Please note for identification purposes, the physical characteristics of his hands.
Both are missing due to his bout with meningitis years ago. Watrel also added that Petrzzino has a gun.
If you’re wondering whether a quadruple amputee missing both hands and feet can fire a gun, the answer is yes. According to chief executive officer of ABC Prosthetics and Orthotics in Orlando, Jerry L. Saunders, there are special devices that allow people without hands to fire guns.
As for motive, perhaps it should be stated one more time that, according to local police, Petrozzino is not currently a suspect; however, according to mother-in-law Horne, Petrozzino had recently separated from his wife, whom he’d been living with in Georgia for the last year, and had moved back in with his parents in Florida.
Prior to moving to Georgia, Petrozzino and his wife had lived in east Orange County, near Valencia College. That home is currently unoccupied and under foreclosure. Their old neighbor, Primitivo Vasquez, has lived in his home for 25 year and knew Sean and his wife well, stating that they largely kept to themselves. Occasionally, Vasquez said, he’s see Petrozzino walkl his dog. He stated:
I never had a reason to worry about him. I cannot imagine him doing something like this; I don’t think he would be able to.
Vasquez also said Petrozzino’s former Florida home has been empty over the last year, since Petrozzino moved out, adding that no one has visited the home in that time, either.
Local authorities are asking for anyone with information about Petrozzino and/or his parents’ murders to contact Crimeline at 800-423-8477.