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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Police Sources: Body of Carlie Brucia Found

Aired February 6, 2004 - 06:43   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to tell you more on the breaking news this morning. As we have been telling you, 11-year-old Carlie Brucia's body has been found in Sarasota.
Let's head live back to Sarasota, Florida now and Susan Candiotti. She is live at the car wash where the girl was abducted.

What more can you tell us -- Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well just remind everyone that the family, of course, received two pieces of stunning information in the last 12 hours or so. First of all, they were informed yesterday that there was a DNA link to their daughter, 11- year-old Carlie Brucia, and the station wagon in which police have said she was abducted. Police have never before revealed exactly what that link was and we don't know precisely what type of DNA evidence they found inside the station wagon.

And now, this additional, horrible, tragic news and that is that two law enforcement sources tell us that a body believed to be that of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia has indeed been discovered in an area off I- 75, Interstate 75 near Sarasota. We are told that the body is located somewhere behind a church. A crime scene has been established there, as we understand it, according to sources. Law enforcement officers have been there for several hours.

We can tell you that we have been told that the family has indeed, we have confirmed it with two sources, that the family was told of all of this by the sheriff's office here in Sarasota County.

You will recall what was particularly unusual about this case is that the abduction appears to have been captured on a surveillance camera. The little girl went missing Sunday night. That's when her parents called the authorities. But they said that they didn't really know for sure whether she was missing or a runaway until the very next day when someone at this car wash discovered that they had apparently captured this kidnapping on a surveillance camera.

That videotape was widely circulated, and it didn't take long before someone identified this man from the surveillance camera. In fact, I talked with a woman at the house where the main suspect had been living, and she told me that she was the one that called authorities. And furthermore, she said she felt very uncomfortable about it. But authorities had told her -- quote -- "you are a hero for what you have done."

COSTELLO: Susan, expound on that... CANDIOTTI: Now, of course that -- yes.

COSTELLO: Can you expound on that, why did she feel uncomfortable about turning him in?

CANDIOTTI: She worried that perhaps people would look at her askew as if to say didn't you know that this person may have been involved in this matter. She felt as though there might be adverse reaction to the fact that he had been living in her house.

We must emphasize that this suspect, who has been identified by police as Joseph Smith, has not been charged in connection with this case. When authorities went over to that home on Tuesday afternoon, they had suspicions about him. But we are told by police they found some cocaine in his possession and therefore charged him on a probation violation while they continued to try to gather evidence in this matter.

They have been trying to speak with him ever since. They emphasized that he has not been cooperating with them. He is represented by the Public Defender's Office and all those attorneys would tell us is that they have been visiting their client on several occasions and would say nothing more -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Yes, and police say he is being -- he is not being cooperative at all. So is it safe to assume that he didn't give them information leading to Carlie Brucia's body? Do we know how police happened to come upon it?

CANDIOTTI: No, and that's a key question, of course, that we want to ask the authorities just as soon as we can. We have not been able to establish that information as yet. Again, is it possible that he had a change of heart. Did someone simply in that area notice the remains? Questions, of course, that we will be asking at this press conference that is scheduled to begin a little after 7:00 this morning -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Thank you very much, Susan, we'll get back to you.

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