TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The body of missing Florida mother Cassie Carli was found in a shallow grave Saturday at an Alabama barn, according to deputies.
Carli’s body was found during a search warrant nearly one week after she went missing, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office said during a Sunday press conference. When authorities searched the barn, they found signs of a body under a patch of dirt that was disrupted.
The Department of Forensic Sciences was called in to uncover Carli’s body. The St. Clair County coroner later said her body was initially identified by a tattoo on her right foot.
Carli was last seen on March 27 in the parking lot of Juana’s Pagodas, a beach bar and restaurant in Navarre, Florida, where she was supposed to pick up her daughter Saylor from her ex-boyfriend Marcus Spanevelo during a custody exchange.
Authorities found Carli’s car in that same parking lot, but she was still missing. Her purse was left behind in the car.
“There were things in the purse … we don’t think she would just up and leave,” Sheriff Bob Johnson said during a press conference earlier in the week. “Usually you don’t go four days without hearing from them, or them using a credit card, cell phone … so yeah, we’re concerned.”
Both Spanevelo and Saylor were found the following day in Birmingham, Alabama, with Saylor being returned to her mother’s family.
Several days later, Spanevelo was arrested in Tennessee on charges of tampering with evidence, giving false information concerning a missing persons investigation, and destruction of evidence.
Carli’s family told WFXR’s sister station, WFLA, on Friday that the missing mother was concerned about Spanevelo as they worked through custody problems.
“Cassie’s been telling me for the last two years that [Marcus] has been threatening her,” said Carli’s brother, Anthony. “She’s always said, if anything happens to me, it’s him.”
Johnson said he personally delivered the news of Carli’s death to her family, saying, “It gives them some closure that they know where she is at now, but it’s their daughter. It’s terrible.”
Deputies said an autopsy is scheduled to take place Monday in Huntsville, Alabama where Carli’s cause of death is expected to be determined. The State Attorney’s Office said additional charges will be filed against Spanevelo, pending the autopsy results, reports the Pensacola News Journal.
“Once the autopsy is done and you see the charges filed you’ll understand,” Johnson said. “I think [Spanevelo] is going to spend the rest of his life in prison or he’s going to get the needle. Hopefully the needle.”