Dana Marie Rossi – Dana to her family and friends and ‘Dana Marie’ to her mother when she’s angry – is a 34 year old Special Agent with the United States Customs and Border Protection Service. She’s about 5’6″, and a bit on the thin side but fit (when not recovering from certain wounds…). She has long brown hair she often wears in a ponytail to keep it out of her face.
Dana grew up in Western Pennsylvania where her parents and her brothers still live. One of her brothers is a local cop in her hometown. She joined the Army out of high school, did a four year tour as a military police officer (where she served time overseas during the first Gulf War) and then moved on to college after that where she got a degree in law enforcement. While she was in college, she met Nate, a native of Chicago. They married after their college graduation and settled back in his hometown.
While on the waiting list for a slot in the Chicago Police Academy, Dana took a job working private security and investigations for a small Chicago based firm. She found she liked the work and that she excelled at it. After a couple of years with the company, she took an offer to work with a much larger firm doing investigations primarily and she withdrew from the applicant pool for the police department.
Dana began having strong feelings for another woman that she worked with that was in a committed same sex relationship. As she reflected back on her life, she came to the realization that she’d always had those sorts of feelings for certain women she’d become close to. At the age of 29, and after many long talks with Nate, who she lived with more like a close friend than as a husband, they split amicably. They had no children.
Dana came out and began trying to date women after her marriage dissolved. She met Terri, her first real female love interest, and after a short time they moved in together. Dana quickly found that Terri was not all that she seemed at first and that she was also controlling and domineering. She began to look for a way out of the relationship but, as she was spending a lot of time on the road with her investigations job, it wasn’t easy to extricate herself quickly. It was nearly a year before she was able to break away. Terri controlled everything and left Dana with only a bag of clothes and toiletries she was able to get out with by feigning like she was going on another work trip.
Once Terri found out that Dana had set up a new bank account and that she wasn’t coming back, she began to contact all of ‘their’ friends and turn them against Dana. She also started to harass her via phone and email and she began calling Dana’s employer non-stop. Eventually Dana’s employer got fed up with Terri’s antics and, when Dana couldn’t convince her to stop, she was fired.
Dana couldn’t afford to stay in Chicago with no job and a blackball against her name in the security industry. She went home to her family in Pennsylvania (PA) to stay while she figured out her next move. While back in PA, she ran into an old high school friend who was working for the Customs service. After hearing about Dana’s background, he convinced her that she should apply for an investigative position with them.
Dana applied and, after several rounds of interviews where the whole sordid Terri story came out, she was hired on and moved directly into Special Investigations. She was assigned to the very real Chicago Field Office to work for a bunch of very fictitious people that only exist in this author’s mind. She didn’t bother to establish residency again in Chicago as her job had her living life on the road most of the time.
Special Agent Rossi ended up in Ohio when the smuggling case that’s detailed in the first book in the Morelville Mysteries Series, ‘Relic’ drew her there. She had a desk in the very real Cleveland Port Office for a time. The Port Office is also populated by people who are only figments of this authors imagination. She shared a small apartment with another made up by me Customs employee, Cheryl, who was assigned to the very real Ashtabula, Ohio Port Office. By the time she became the lead on the Ohio based investigation, Dana had been with the Customs service for three years.
The only reason Dana wound up in Morelville in the first place and meets Sheriff Melissa Crane is because she had an informant that lived in the area. She had no way of knowing that the tiny village might end up becoming the center of her universe…at least for a while.