TAMPA (WFLA) — The family of missing Florida mother Cassie Carli, whose body was recently found buried in an Alabama barn, said they are humbled by the community’s response to her death.
Over the weekend, authorities said Carli’s body was found in a shallow grave nearly one week after she was last seen in Navarre, Florida when she was supposed to pick up her daughter Saylor from her ex-boyfriend Marcus Spanevelo during a custody exchange.
When authorities searched the barn, they found signs of Cassie’s body under a patch of dirt that looked disturbed. Her body was initially identified via a tattoo on her right foot, according to the St. Clair County coroner.
“We are just so humbled by the community’s response to helping find Cassie. So impressed with law enforcement and their efforts in bringing Cassie home,” Carli’s sister, Raeann, told WFLA’s J.B. Biunno.
An autopsy was scheduled to take place Monday in Huntsville, Alabama where Carli’s cause of death is expected to be determined. Spanevelo was arrested in Tennessee on charges of tampering with evidence, giving false information concerning a missing persons investigation, and destruction of evidence. He could also receive additional charges depending on the autopsy’s findings.
Carli’s family previously told WFLA 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 her brother, Anthony Carli. “She’s always said, if anything happens to me, it’s him.”
The announcement of Carli’s death brought about new questions on the whereabouts of Saylor.
Authorities said the 4-year-old was taken by Alabama Child Services and checked on by the Tennesse Department of Children and Families after she and Spanevelo were located in Birmingham.
Saylor’s family is still waiting to receive custody of the girl.
“I really wish we had [more to share] but the process is so difficult seeing as [Spanevelo] crossed all those state lines, but we are still waiting on that phone call to pick her up,” Raeann said. “We have so much love and gifts to shower her with.”
Raeann told WFLA about her future plans to celebrate the life of her sister, Cassie.
“I am personally excited to organize the most beautiful memorial for her. Cassie’s story will never be forgotten!”
Friends of the 37-year-old mother plan to fortify her legacy by starting The Cassie Carli Foundation, aimed at protecting women and men during custody exchanges and from domestic violence.