Friends and relatives of Angela Tramonte say they were apprehensive about the Massachusetts woman’s trip to visit a man she had met on social media. Now, after Angela was found dead on a hiking trail less than 24 hours after she arrived in Arizona, grieving loved ones are trying to put the pieces together.
The 31-year-old Saugus woman traveled to Phoenix last Thursday to meet Phoenix Police Officer Dario Dizdar, two months after they began chatting online — and over her mother’s objections.
“Her mother said, ‘I don’t want you to go,'” Tramonte’s aunt Jeanette Comeau said on Thursday. But Tramonte was fiercely independent and an experienced traveler. And she was eager to meet Dizdar, who she believed she may have had a future with.
“Angela was a young, beautiful, 31-year-old woman looking for love. She wanted to get married and to have children,” Comeau said. “Unfortunately this guy lured her to Phoenix.”
“It didn’t matter if we were worried or not, she was going,” friend Stacey Gerardi said. “She was always traveling independently. She was a traveler.”
Another friend said Dizdar’s job as a police officer was reassuring to Tramonte, and her friends.
“‘I feel safe because he’s a cop,'” Angela said, according to Sarina Viola.
Tramonte’s relatives and friends who spoke to CrimeOnline all believe that whatever happened, Angela might still be alive today if she hadn’t been left alone on Camelback Mountain — her very first time hiking.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the pair went to the popular hiking spot on Friday morning. Dizdar later told police that Angela had felt overheated as they were ascending the mountain and wanted to turn back. He reportedly said Tramonte told him to take photos from the top of the trail for her Instagram, and that they agreed to meet back where they had parked.
Dizdar also told police that neither he or Tramonte brought water on the hike, though temperatures were over 100 degrees that day.
It does not appear that Tramonte ever made it back to the car. At about 1 p.m., Dizdar — who was off duty — called 911 to say that Tramonte was not at their meeting point. Hours later, investigators discovered Tramonte’s body off-trail, and adjacent to a residence. She was beyond resuscitation, police officials said.
Investigators reportedly believe that Tramonte may have been trying to find help at the home closest to where she was found dead. Tramonte had her cell phone, but it is not yet known if car keys or other possessions were found with her body.
Friends and family want to know why Tramonte didn’t stay on the trail. They believe the outgoing woman would have no hesitation asking for water or other aid from anyone she saw, if she was able to. Her friends, who say Tramonte would always text back right away, are also questioning why they didn’t get any calls or messages after she got to the mountain.
Gerardi said Tramonte’s last messages to friends were earlier Friday morning, around breakfast; before she arrived for the hike. And her friends say they have reason to believe Tramonte did have cell phone service while on the mountain.
“She would be complaining” on her phone about Dizdar letting her hike back down alone, Comeau said.
“Angela never would have said to him, oh you continue and I will leave.”
Both Comeau and Gerardi are skeptical of Dizdar’s reported claim that Tramonte asked him to take photos for her Instagram account.
“Honestly, if she wasn’t in the picture, she wouldn’t have posted it,” Comeau said. Gerardi and Viola concurred: “We called her the selfie queen.”
Gerardi and Viola said two posts appeared in Tramonte’s private Instagram account on Friday morning, showing scenery from the hike, but Tramonte wasn’t in them. CrimeOnline has not independently verified the contents of Tramonte’s Instagram posts.
“We don’t 100 percent know if it was her who posted it,” Gerardi said.
Multiple sources who knew Tramonte say they don’t believe the apartment where Tramonte spent Thursday night with Dizdar is where he actually lives — though Tramonte believed he did, they said.
Police have said there is no evidence of foul play, and that Dizder has been cooperating with the ongoing investigation. Tramonte’s cause of death is pending a completed autopsy, though investigators have said they believe she died of heat exhaustion and/or dehydration.
“This could have been prevented,” Gerardi said. “As a first responder you don’t leave anyone behind, in distress.”
CrimeOnline is working to confirm a number of details, including the circumstances that led to the discovery of Tramonte’s body. A spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department did not return a request for comment in time for the article deadline.
Anyone with further information is urged to contact CrimeOnline reporter Ellen Killoran at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Signal at 347-462-7208.
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