A body found floating in an ocean inlet may be that of a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., mother who went missing the day before she was to appear at a hearing to obtain a extended restraining order against her husband, police said.
Josephine Frenna, 51, was reported missing Thursday by Pietro, her 13-year-old son.
"When he came home from school he discovered all of her personal property there, but she wasn't there," Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Frank Sousa told ABCNews.com.
Police launched an investigation after discovering that Frenna had an active domestic violence order against her husband, Gerardo Di Marco, and was due in court for a hearing Friday to extend the restraining order.
Frenna's husband was questioned that day and released. "They found him at a nearby motel that day," Sousa said.
Sousa said Di Marco is not at this time considered a suspect and has been cooperating with law enforcement.
An autopsy will be performed today on the female body found Sunday in the ocean in St. Lucie County, about an hour north of Fort Lauderdale. The results are due back this afternoon.
"It could be her," Sousa said of the body, which was found by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Before the body was found, there had been no leads in Frenna's disappearance.
Caryn Carvo, a partner at the law firm Carvo & Emery, where Frenna was a client, said Frenna got the injunction in July, barring contact between her and DiMarco. The hearing Friday was to consider extending the order beyond the original 30 days.
Marc Shelowitz, Di Marco's attorney, said his client did "absolutely not" have anything to do with his estranged wife's disappearance. And he doesn't believe the body found in St. Lucie is that of Frenna.
Shelowitz said he wasn't at liberty to discuss his client's theory on what happened to Frenna, but "he is convinced she will show up alive and well."
Di Marco's first concern right now, he said, is their son, whom he visits several days a week for a few hours at a time per court-ordered visitation rights. Shelowitz said Di Marco hadn't seen his wife since the restraining order was issued.
Carvo said she couldn't disclose much of the domestic violence history between the couple, citing client confidentiality, but said the allegations included Frenna being thrown off a balcony, Di Marco allegedly taking an ax to the door after Frenna had locked him out and other alleged threats to her physical safety.
Frenna was due in Carvo's office at 10 a.m. Thursday but never showed up.
"It is the first time anything like this had happened to us with any client," she said. "It's an eye-opener."
Shelowitz said the allegations Carvo named, which were in the petition for the injunction and have been reported in the local media, were exaggerated compared to the testimony given during the court hearing in July.
In the search for the missing mother, police checked hospitals, jails and airlines. They canvassed the neighborhood and checked with friends, family and acquaintances. Nothing had been disturbed in the house, and there was no physical evidence of foul play.
Carvo said the couple were married Sept. 5, 1993, in Montreal where Frenna and Pietro lived until recently.
"Her primary focus was her child," Carvo said. "She would never leave her child unattended like that."
Anyone with information about Frenna's disappearance may call the Fort Lauderdale Police Department at 954-828-5700 or the Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.