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The body of a Florida woman who disappeared was found dead in Alabama after authorities arrested her ex in Tennessee.
Cassie Catherine Carli of Navarre Beach vanished shortly after a custody exchange with Marcus Spanevelo, the father of her 4-year-old daughter, on March 27, as previously reported. During a live press conference on Sunday, authorities with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office said the 37-year-mother was found dead in a shallow grave inside a barn on Saturday evening.
“We discovered her body while executing a search warrant in Alabama,” said Sheriff Bob Johnson. “It’s not the ending we wanted, obviously, but we’re hoping it will provide a little closure for the family.”
Authorities confirmed it was Carli based on a tattoo found on the body. They didn't reveal how they determined the location of Carli’s body but said that Spanavelo “does have a connection to the property” where it was found.
The news came one day after authorities announced the arrest of Spanevelo in Tennessee on charges of tampering with evidence, giving false information concerning a missing persons investigation and destruction of evidence. Authorities said they enlisted the help of multiple agencies, including the Tennessee Highway Patrol, to arrest Spanevelo during a traffic stop.
The sheriff’s office said there are no other suspects in the investigation, adding that they believed Spanevelo had been “acting like a dirtbag.”
“He was totally uncooperative,” said Johnson. “He never cooperated at all with us, and that goes a long way. You think about it, it’s your baby’s mother, and she’s missing, and you’re not going to cooperate with authorities? That’s kind of tell-tale.”
Authorities said at the press conference that the tampering with evidence charge stemmed from Spanevelo allegedly taking Carli’s phone; he “basically got rid of it,” they said.
The phone was later recovered.
Johnson applauded the Major Crimes Unit for issuing multiple search warrants and traveling over 1,500 miles across several states in the week-long search for Cassie Carli.
Carli was reported missing one day after meeting with Spanevelo to exchange their daughter at a beach as part of a prearranged custody agreement.
Suspicion of foul play grew when authorities recovered Carli’s car on March 29 with her purse — but not her phone — still inside.
“What we found concerning was, inside the car, was Cassie’s purse,” Johnson previously stated. “Most women don’t leave their purse behind when they go somewhere. …I’ve been married 32 years, and I’ll tell you, my wife goes nowhere without her purse.”
On March 30, the sheriff’s office announced that the couple’s child was found safe. According to Sunday’s press release, she was discovered in Tennessee and has since been placed in the care of family members.
Sheriff Johnson said Spanevelo could face more charges after the postmortem examination of Carli, which was scheduled to take place in Alabama on Monday morning. They expect to determine the cause of death at that time.
“We definitely have a great case,” Johnson continued. “I think once the autopsy is done and you see the charges filed, you’ll understand. I think we have a great case, and he’s either going to spend the rest of his life in prison, or he’s going to get the needle. Hopefully, the needle.”
Spanevelo remains in Tennessee, awaiting extradition.
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