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UPDATED: Orthodonist disappearance investigation
ESCAMBIA COUNTY --
More and more patients are coming forward about a Pensacola dentist who suddenly closed his practice. Last week, we told you about Dr. Thomas Rollins, who closed his office on Nine-mile road a few months ago and told his patients to see another orthodontist. The problem is, some of his patients have already paid him in full for treatment. He's nowhere to be found and the Escambia County Sheriff's Office has opened an investigation.
These victims are now organizing themselves on Facebook. The group is called "Ex-patients of Rollins Orthodontics." At least 35 people have joined.
"You would have never known something behind the scenes was going on," said Larissa Piazza.
It's been a frustrating time for many patients. Larissa Piazza says her two sons started seeing Dr. Rollins last January.
Her oldest son did not get braces right away because he needed spacers to widen his teeth, but little by little, she was paying for his treatment.
"We were making monthly payments. So in total, we were up to about $3200 when we found out he basically just left," she said.
Since Dr. Rollins left, her son was behind on several appointments, he was in pain since the spacers were still on.
She started seeing another orthodontist, but basically has to start from scratch.
"To think that money is gone now, that's $3200 that, if I could get back, I'd apply to their current orthodontics," she added.
For another patient., Jennifer Doan paid in full for her braces. It came out to more than $4,000.
A working college student, she paid all of it on her own.
Now that she's seeing another orthodontist., she's worried about how much treatment is left. and how much she'll have to pay.
"I was like working hard for that money and paying him. Now that I think about it, it's all gone," she added.
If you think you're a victim of Dr. Rollins, you're asked to contact the Sheriff's Office investigator David Ingram at 436-9701.