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Abducted Florida Girl Found

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

News 4 will update you as news releases

Governor says Carlie Brucia's accused killer shouldn't have been free February 10th

Florida's governor says Carlie Brucia's accused killer shouldn't have been "on the streets," saying he may call for a review of probation laws.

Carlie was the eleven-year-old whose abduction was caught on
videotape.

Governor Jeb Bush says he's looking at the possibility of tightening probation laws, noting that suspect Joseph P. Smith was a "repeat offender who served time and who violated parole on at least two occasions."

Meanwhile, investigators are still looking for the girl's pink backpack and are still taking tips from the public.

Two memorial services are planned for this week, including one at the church where Carlie's body was found.

Attorney seeks gag order in case of Florida girl's slaying February 10th

The lawyer for the man accused of kidnapping and killing a Florida girl is seeking a gag order in the case.

Joseph Smith's public defender says the "unprecedented worldwide and local media coverage" will make a fair trial impossible.

Investigators say Smith is the man seen on a car wash surveillance camera video leading eleven-year-old Carlie Brucia away. The girl was found dead several days later on some nearby church property.

An attorney for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune plans to file a memorandum opposing the gag order -- and to make arguments against it at a hearing this week.

Prosecutors say "it's not impossible" to find jurors who won't be swayed by media coverage.

Father speaks out February 9th

The father of Carlie Brucia says he thinks police "acted responsibly" in the search for his daughter.

The eleven-year-old Sarasota, Florida, girl was found dead last week, several days after a security camera captured her abduction. A suspect remains in custody. Police believe he's the man seen leading the girl away on the videotape.

Joe Brucia told reporters today he doesn't agree with critics who say police should have started an Amber Alert for his daughter. He says he doesn't think it would have helped -- and that if it's used too many times, people won't take it seriously.

An Amber Alert is a way of alerting the public to new child kidnapping cases through the media and other avenues.

Brucia also says he thinks a fund being established in response to the tragedy shouldn't be named the Brucia Family Fund. He says the fund isn't really for the family, and that if possible, he'd like to rename it the Carlie Brucia Rescue Fund. He says he thinks that would make his daughter happy.

Authorities, grieving relatives question why murder suspect wasn't in jail February 9th

The videotaped abduction and subsequent murder of a Florida girl is prompting questions about Florida's justice system.

The man accused of killing Carlie Brucia (BROO'-shee-ah) had a lengthy criminal record, but spent relatively little time behind bars.

Police have charged Joseph Smith, who had been on probation for the better part of the last decade.

His convictions include assault against a woman, weapons charges, drug possession and numerous fraud counts. Despite more than a dozen convictions, the longest time Smith served in prison was less than 14 months.

Brucia's father is demanding answers and wants Governor Jeb Bush
to launch an investigation.

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist says his office is already reviewing whether the state's probation laws should be toughened.

Body of missing Sarasota girl found; mechanic charged February 6th 2:41 PM

The man charged with the murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia (BROO'-shee-ah) has been moved to the Manatee County jail.

Dave Bristow, spokesman with Manatee County sheriff's office, says Joseph Smith is being isolated from the general public.

Authorities in Sarasota, meanwhile, say they are still looking for Carlie's missing pink backpack.

The girl's body has been removed from a church parking lot in Sarasota. Crime scene technicians pulled the body from under some thick underbrush this morning.

Investigators aren't saying how they believe she died.

According to a law enforcement source, they found the body after
negotiations with Smith, who is charged with her murder. He waived
his first appearance in court, which had been scheduled for tomorrow.

He's been in custody since Tuesday on other charges.

The girl's abduction Sunday was captured by a surveillance camera at a car wash, not far from the church.

Body of missing Sarasota girl found; mechanic charged February 6th 11:00 AM

The body of an 11-year-old girl whose abduction was captured by a surveillance camera was found in a church parking lot early this morning.

A mechanic has been charged with the murder of Carlie Brucia. Thirty-seven-year-old Joseph P- Smith could receive a death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder.

Sarasota County sheriff's officials said Carlie Brucia's body was found about 1 a-m at a church a few miles from the car wash where she was abducted. Investigators found the body after negotiations with suspect Joseph Smith, a law enforcement source close to the investigation said on condition of anonymity.

Authorities say Smith is believed to be the tattooed man in a mechanic's shirt who was seen in a car wash surveillance video leading Carlie away by the arm Sunday evening.

Later in the morning, crime scene technicians dressed in white coveralls pulled the body from under some think underbrush near the
church parking lot. The covered body was placed on a stretcher and
taken away by a white van. Investigators have not said how they
believe she died.

Body of missing Sarasota, Florida girl found February 6th 9:24 AM

Mourners have been gathering in prayer circles in Sarasota, Florida -- after the discovery of an eleven-year-old girl's body.

The kidnapping of Carlie Brucia was captured Sunday by a car wash security camera. A suspect in her death remains jailed. Authorities haven't confirmed where the body was found, but a source says it was in a church parking lot not far from the car wash.

Friends of the girl's family have gathered outside the Central Church of Christ, which is near a hay field and some woods. The church is ringed by yellow crime scene tape, and police detectives could be seen examining the area.

The church's minister says a Bible study group met there on Wednesday night -- but nobody noticed a body because it was dark.
The minister says "we all feel helpless when things like this happen."

Carlie's stepfather and some friends came to the edge of the church property, kneeling in a prayer circle near the crime scene tape. Outside the girl's home, others joined hands and bowed their heads in prayer. The house is decorated with banners reading,"We love you, Carlie."

Father thanks searchers <>i>February 6th 7:52 AM

The father of eleven-year-old Carlie Brucia has thanked everyone for their efforts to find his daughter.

He spoke at a news conference after Florida police announced his daughter's body had been found. Joseph Smith -- an unemployed mechanic -- remains in custody in her abduction and murder.

The rest of the girl's family is in seclusion. A private investigator says there's nothing anyone can do to make the family feel better -- and that it's going to hurt for a "long, long time."

One of the girl's friends cried after hearing about her death, saying she remembered her classmate's smile. Friends say Carlie was a beautiful girl who loved actress Jennifer Lopez, going to the mall and greeting friends with hugs.

Joseph Smith will pay "the ultimate price" February 6th 6:41AM

(Sarasota, Florida-AP) -- A Florida law enforcement official
says Joseph Smith will pay "the ultimate price" in the death of
eleven-year-old Carlie Brucia (BROO'-shee-ah).
Officials say they've found the body of the Sarasota girl, whose
abduction was caught by a security camera. They aren't saying where
the body was found, saying it's still an active crime scene.
Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill says Smith is under arrest
in the girl's abduction and murder. Smith has been held without
bail since Tuesday on an alleged probation violation.
Authorities say the 37-year-old Smith is believed to be the
tattooed man in a mechanic's shirt who was seen on the tape leading
the girl away Sunday evening. Smith has a long arrest record.
Family and friends had been keeping vigil outside Carlie's
house, which was decorated with banners and posters reading, "We
love you, Carlie." Earlier, her parents had tearfully pleaded for
her safe return.
The sheriff choked back tears as he announced the girl's death
this morning. Regarding Smith, another sheriff's official said,
"We now stand ready to complete our obligation, and assure you
that he will pay the ultimate price for what he did to her."

More details on the death of an eleven-year-old Sarasota, Florida girl February 6th 6:31 AM

Authorities say Carlie Brucia has been found dead. Joseph Smith is under arrest in her abduction and murder. Officials believe he's the man seen on a car wash security camera tape leading the girl away on Sunday.

The Sarasota County sheriff isn't saying where the girl's body was found. But another law enforcement source says the body was found early this morning at a church parking lot -- not far from the car wash.

The source says investigators found the body after negotiations with Smith, who was previously said not to be cooperating.


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