NAVARRE, Fla. (WKRG) — Friends of 37-year-old Cassie Carli, the Navarre mother found dead in a shallow grave in Alabama after a week-long search, plan to fortify her legacy by starting The Cassie Carli Foundation.
Sam Graves, one of Cassie’s best friends, told WKRG News 5 she is working through the legal process Monday of starting the foundation aimed at protecting women and men during custody exchanges and from domestic violence.
Cassie had met her ex-boyfriend Marcus Spanevelo at Navarre Beach on Sunday to drop off her daughter Saylor. Cassie was never heard from or seen alive again. Spanevelo is the suspect in Carli’s disappearance and death.
“The mission statement of The Cassie Carli Foundation is going to be this: Rescuing women from the grips of domestic violence and keeping them safe,” Graves said Monday. “We’ll (focus) on three different areas: prevention, protection and support.”
Graves said in the prevention category, the foundation will offer an extra set of eyes during custody exchanges.
“I will go sit in the parking lot,” Graves said. “No one has to see me. But, I will be there in the shadows in the event that something goes sideways. I will be there in the shadows to immediately call 911.”
The foundation also plans to focus on educating domestic violence victims, Graves said.
“The education on the statistics of ‘this can happen to you’ and education of how to escape a situation,” she said. “We will offer legal assistance … to work with victims in gaining protection orders. Working with them through custody battles.”
Graves adds the foundation plans to provide secure housing for women who “don’t have anywhere else to go and are afraid to leave their abuser.”
“For support, we will offer counseling for both the victim and children if children are involved,” she said.
There’s also a push by Graves to pass “Cassie’s Law.”
“I’m hoping to push through legislation ‘Cassie’s Law,’” Graves said. “If a parent goes missing during a custody exchange, the parent not missing is prohibited from maintaining custody until the other person is found or that person is 100% cleared through law enforcement.”
Graves said she will miss Cassie — she already misses her laugh. Graves hopes the foundation will keep Cassie’s legacy and victims of domestic violence alive.
“The world lost the best kind of friend to have,” she said. “Cassie was a fighter.”
You can donate here.
The investigation into Cassie’s disappearance is ongoing. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday, according to Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson.