Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Mystery shrouds 1992 murder

NOTE: Two photos, Photo mug, Two boxes

Diana Vicari’s mother can’t imagine the unknown person who dismembered her daughter and left her arms in a dumpster.

“My name is Kathy Pashos, and my daughter Diana Vicari’s severed arms were found in a dumpster.’

Horrifying words for a mother to utter. But for Kathy, they are reality.

Kathy has repeated the words more times than she can remember.

“Sometimes I can’t believe I’m saying it,’ she says. “But if this is what needs to be said to get Tucson to listen, sometimes we have to harden ourselves to the truth.’

Diana, Kathy’s third-born child, was last seen alive in the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 1992. She was looking for friends in the parking lot of the Tucson Convention Center, where a rock concert was being held.

The following afternoon, a homeless woman looking for cans found Diana’s bloody, severed arms protruding from a plastic garbage bag in a dumpster just north of downtown. The rest of Diana’s body has not been found, and no arrests have been made.

Kathy has a difficult time imagining the kind of person who dismembered her daughter.

“It’s not my fellow man who did this,’ Kathy says. “It’s someone who’s sick. Someone who’s not one of us. He doesn’t think. He doesn’t feel.’

Kathy will always remember the moment that she knew something horrible had happened to her 19-year-old daughter.

She was driving down Broadway, looking for any sign of Diana, who had been missing for more than a day.

“I was praying and thinking, `Help me find Diana.’ But I knew already in my heart it was something very bad.’

She thought of stories she had seen on television of people whose children had been murdered.

“At one point I thought, `God, am I going to be one of those people?’ ‘

Kathy had become concerned a day earlier, when she received a call from Bazil’s Restaurant. Diana, a very dependable employee, hadn’t shown up for work.

Diana, who shared an apartment with another young woman, was moving home so she could afford to attend college full time. She was moving, so her phone had been disconnected.

Kathy called a few of Diana’s friends, but no one had seen her. She thought perhaps Diana, who had two jobs, had been confused about her work schedule.

But when Diana failed to show up for work at eegee’s on Saturday, Kathy knew something was wrong.

She called the police, hospitals, Diana’s friends – anyone who might have word on her daughter’s whereabouts.

Kathy drove to every spot in the city she could think of where Diana might have gone.

The searching stopped when Kathy called her daughter, Debbie, who was at home, waiting for word.

“She said, `They just had a bulletin on TV. Two arms were found in a dumpster. Mom, I know these are Diana’s arms.’ ‘

Later that evening, Kathy was shown a ring that was found on one of the fingers. It was a ring Diana had been given by her father, one she always wore.

Three days would pass before Kathy could eat or sleep.


Diana’s gruesome murder sent waves of terror throughout Tucson.

One woman says the horror touched her soul.

Several months after the murder, a woman who says she is psychic claims she began receiving messages from Diana.

The woman says she repeatedly witnessed scenes of Diana’s murder. She had visions of the young woman being dismembered in a small room off a kitchen.

She became terrified, she says, when the killer turned and looked into her eyes.

“I saw the blackness in his eyes – the blackness of his soul.’

The woman had visions of Diana’s body in an oil drum, she told the Tucson Citizen. She believes she knows where the body was stored at one point.

Diana, the woman says, doesn’t care whether her killer is caught. She just wants her family to know she’s at peace.

“Now she just wants her body left at rest,’ the woman says.

The woman, who spent many hours talking with Kathy, says she must back off from the situation.

“The stuff I saw was really horrifying,’ says the woman, asking that her name not be used. “I saw it again and again and again.’

The woman believes Diana was acquainted with one of the three men who know about or were involved in her killing. And she believes that one day, the man who killed and dismembered her will confess.

For months after the murder, Kathy couldn’t go to the dumpster where Diana’s arms were found.

But eventually, she felt the need to go, and she went with the psychic.

“It was very healing for me,’ Kathy says. “There had been fear, dread. When I did finally go there, in all actuality, it was just a place.’

Kathy believes she will see her daughter again.

Since the murder, she has become involved in a group that meets monthly to talk about life after death. Many in the group have had near-death experiences.

Kathy also has become involved in a Bible study group, and she listens to relaxation tapes at home.

“When it first happened, I didn’t think I could survive,’ Kathy says. “Somehow you do. And knowing I’ll see her again makes it easier.’


Diana’s sister, Debbie Vicari, holds her newborn son close as she reads the scrawled words that cover the wall.

The graffiti, in the alley at the corner of Ferro Avenue and Seventh Street, are a spray-painted tribute to Diana.

“We love you, Diane’ and “We will be together again’ are written a few feet from where Diana’s arms were found.

As Debbie, Kathy and a few friends share memories of Diana in the alley, the heavy beat from a bass guitar rattles the ground beneath their feet. A rock band practices at a nearby warehouse that is rented out as a soundstage.

The pounding music in the background is appropriate. Diana loved music. Pearl Jam was her favorite.

Diana inherited a love of music from her father, Tom Vicari. She took her first piano lesson at age 5.

When she was 8, Diana made her first trip to Sea World.

“Since then, she wanted to be a marine biologist,’ Kathy says.

Diana was a friendly, easy-going young woman, her mother says.

“Diana listened to people,’ Kathy says. “She always helped them with their problems. Everybody felt they were her best friend.’

Debbie, 26, doesn’t come to the alley as often as she used to.

“Sometimes I hate to come here,’ she says. “But this is all there really is. Without a body being laid to rest, there’s no place to go.’

Diana’s arms remain in police custody. The family hopes that someday, they might be able to bury Diana’s entire body.

“At least burying her would bring us more closure,’ Kathy says.

Photos by YONI POZNER/Tucson Citizen

PHOTO ONE: Kathy Pashos, 45, relaxes with her daughter’s cat, Gremlin, in her home. The relaxation tape was given to her by her counselor. The tape helps her get through moments when the thought of her daughter’s murder is too much to handle.

PHOTO TWO: Debbie Vicari hugs her late sister’s friend, Scott Swaggerty, as they share a moment together near the dumpster where Diana Vicari’s severed arms were found. Swaggerty wrote, “We love you Diane,’ in big, bold letters on the wall.


Age: 19.

Last seen: Shortly after midnight, Oct. 23, 1992.

Diana Vicari’s arms were found in a downtown-area dumpster the following afternoon. Two days later, her car was found parked in the 1200 block of West La Osa Street.

Diana graduated from Tuller School and was attending Pima Community College. She hoped to become a marine biologist.

“Diana had a ready smile and a quick wit. She faced life with joyand enthusiasm. She was a true friend. Her motto was `Trust is my middle name.’ She was a team player, and always spoke up for what she thought was right. She loved children and animals. Diana left an ache in our hearts and a hole in our souls. We will always miss her.’

- Diana’s mom, Kathy Pashos


Police are investigating new leads in the murder of Diana Vicari. While detectives will not disclose details, they ask that anyone with information call 791-4487 or 88-CRIME.

A reward of up to $10,000 is offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case. Of that, $2,500 is offered by the Pima County attorney’s 88-CRIME anonymous tipster program. An additional $7,500 is offered by the Vicari family.

Anyone with information who wishes to collect the reward must call 88-CRIME (882-7463).

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service