Springville, AL – The body of a Florida woman who disappeared after going to Navarre Beach for a child custody exchange was found buried in a barn in rural Alabama on Saturday, according to police.
Cassie Carli, 37, was buried in a shallow grave approximately 275 miles north of her home in Navarre, Florida, WPTV reported.
She was last seen alive on March 27.
Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said Carli’s body was discovered the evening of April 2 while police were executing a search warrant, WPTV reported.
Investigators confirmed Carli’s identity by a tattoo, according to CNN.
Her cause of death was not immediately released and an autopsy was scheduled to take place on Monday.
Carli was planning to meet up with her four-year-old daughter’s father near Juana’s Grill on Navarre Beach in Florida at 7 p.m. on March 27, Carli’s friend, Sam Porter, told WEAR last week.
Porter said Carli’s father received a text from Carli’s phone about three hours later saying she was having vehicle problems and that her phone battery was low.
She was never heard from again.
According to Porter, Carli’s ex told Carli’s father that he had dropped her off at Porter’s home, but Porter said that never happened, WEAR reported.
Carli’s family and friends reported her missing on March 28.
Police located her vehicle near a “boat overflow ramp” close to the restaurant the following day, CNN reported.
Her purse was inside, but she was nowhere to be found, police said.
The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office (SRSO) issued a “missing/endangered” person alert for Carli that afternoon.
***MISSING*** The Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office is attempting to locate a missing and endangered 37-year-old woman. Cassie Carli was last seen on Navarre Beach, FL on March 27th, 2022. pic.twitter.com/KxIzn3eMCp
— The AWARE Foundation (@aware_the) March 29, 2022
SRSO Sergeant Rich Aloy confirmed on March 30 that investigators determined Carli’s daughter, Saylor, was safe, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
“We had an indicator that led us to believe the entire time that she wasn’t in danger and that’s the track that we were going on, but we wanted to see for ourselves,” Sgt. Aloy told reporters.
“Investigators physically went out and put eyes on the child to make sure that she was safe,” he added. “We wanted to verify that with eyes on the kid, so that’s what we did.”
The little girl was located with her father in Birmingham, Alabama, and was turned over to Alabama Child Services, according to the New York Post.
Sheriff Johnson confirmed on Sunday that Marcus Spanevelo, Saylor’s father, was arrested in Lebanon, Tennessee on April 2, WPTV reported.
“He was totally uncooperative,” Sheriff Johnson told reporters, according to CNN. “He never cooperated at all with us…It’s your baby’s mother and she’s missing and you’re not going to cooperate with authorities – that’s kind of tell-tale.”
He said the suspect has “been acting like a dirtbag,” according to The Birmingham News.
Spanevelo has been charged with providing false information to law enforcement, destruction of evidence, and tampering with evidence, WPTV reported.
“He took her phone and basically got rid of it,” Sheriff Johnson said, according to The Birmingham News.
He added that the device has since been recovered.
Additional charges may be filed against Spanevelo after the autopsy is completed.
“I think either he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison or he’s going to get the needle,’’ Sheriff Johnson said, according to The Birmingham News. “Hopefully the needle.”
Police have not specified what led them to search the Alabama barn, but Sheriff Johnson said the property was connected to Spanevelo “in a roundabout way,” according to CNN.
Investigators said they believe Spanevelo acted alone.
The sheriff praised the Major Crimes Unit for their dedication and thoroughness over the course of the investigation, CNN reported.
“They went over 1,500 miles in this investigation, multiple search warrants on cars, phones, houses, properties…I just cannot speak highly enough about them,” Sheriff Johnson said. “We hate it that Cassie has passed away but it’s good to get closure for the family.”
Cassie Carli has been found deceased.
Her body was buried in a shallow grave in Alabama! Such a coward move!
RIP angel! Our hearts are broken!!! 💔 pic.twitter.com/iL4Tx4glJG
— Rose (@901Lulu) April 3, 2022
Sheriff Johnson said he personally notified Carli’s family about her death on Sunday.
“It gives them some closure that they know where’s she’s at now,” he said. “But still, it’s their daughter…daughter and sister and it is terrible.”
Saylor is safe and with her family, Sheriff Johnson said on Sunday.