NEWS: Missing Florida girl found dead


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TarpleyG
February 6, 2004, 09:36 AM
Only gun-related in the sense that I'd like to screw my .45 into this *********'s ear and pull the trigger. What a shame. And this guy is out of a prison because......???

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4146010/

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Missing Florida girl found dead
Carlie Brucia, 11, was last seen alive Sunday

Chris O'Meara / AP
Steven Kansler, center, Carlie Brucia's stepfather, shakes hands with a friend outside the family home Thursday in Sarasota, Fla. FREE VIDEO

Feb. 6: Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill chokes back tears Friday in announcing the discovery of Carlie Brucia's body.
Today show

BREAKING NEWS
MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 8:20 a.m. ET Feb. 06, 2004SARASOTA, Fla. - The body of an 11-year-old girl whose abduction was captured by a surveillance camera, has been found in a church parking lot and a mechanic has been charged with her murder, officials said Friday.

Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill refused to say where Carlie Brucia’s body was found, but a law enforcement source said it was found between 12:45 a.m. and 1 a.m. Friday outside a church not far from the car wash where she was taken.

“Our prayers on behalf of everybody here in Sarasota County go out to the family,” Balkwill said.

He said Joseph P. Smith, 37, has been charged with her murder. He is believed to be the tattooed man in a mechanic’s shirt who was seen in a car wash surveillance video leading Brucia away by the arm Sunday evening, authorities said.

Investigators found the body after negotiations with Smith, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Earlier, authorities had said he was not cooperating.

“We now stand ready to complete our obligation, and assure you that he will pay the ultimate price for what he did to her,” Capt. Jeff Bell said.

Smith was taken into custody earlier in the week on a probation violation charge unrelated to the disappearance of Brucia, whose apparent abduction Sunday was captured by a car wash surveillance camera. A telephone tip led authorities to link him to the video.

Smith was earlier held without bond for violating his probation on a cocaine possession conviction.

Lengthy arrest record
Smith has been arrested at least 13 times in Florida since 1993, according to state records. He was arrested in 1997 in Manatee County on kidnapping and false imprisonment charges, but was acquitted a year later.

Smith served 17 months in prison for heroin possession and prescription drug fraud and was released in 2003. He was arrested eight days later on the cocaine possession charge and was placed on probation for three years.

In 1998, he was acquitted of kidnapping and false imprisonment of a 20-year-old woman. She told deputies that “he got on top of me and told me to shut up or he would cut me.”

Smith called it a misunderstanding.

“He testified he believed the woman was going to try to harm herself by throwing herself into traffic,” said prosecutor Brian Iten, who said the acquittal surprised him. “He said she misinterpreted his actions because of his tattoos.”

Suspect's neighbors ‘stunned’
Ron and Linda Thompson, neighbors of Smith, said they were shocked that he was linked to the disappearance, but conceded that the videotape looks like him.

“We haven’t known any side of Joe that would indicate that he’s capable of this,” Linda Thompson said on NBC’s “Today” Wednesday. “He’s always great with his kids. ... We’re stunned.”

Ron Thompson said he knew Smith had a prescription drug problem stemming from a back injury.

Another neighbor, Ernest Riley, told the Miami Herald that Smith had a "troubled past," but was "in the process of trying to turn his life around."

He said Smith is a loving father whose care extended to neighborhood children. He said Smith put up a sign in front of his house that read, "caution, children playing."

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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HunterGatherer
February 7, 2004, 09:09 AM
Already quite a few responses to this tragedy here:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=63576

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