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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Sources: Carlie Brucia's Body Found

Aired February 6, 2004 - 07:00   ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We start on a very tough note today in Florida. Out of Florida moments ago, there was sad news in the case of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.
Susan Candiotti on this story from Sarasota.

Susan -- good morning there.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill.

It is a tragic ending to a nightmarish story. We don't know yet what led authorities to the area in question. However, two law enforcement sources tell CNN that the body of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia has been found.

As we understand it, the discovery was made overnight, that a crime scene has been established, and that law enforcement officers have been there for several hours.

Our understanding, according to sources, is that the location is somewhere off Interstate I-75 in the area of Sarasota. The body, we are told, is located behind a church.

We are under the -- have the understanding that the family of Carlie Brucia has, indeed, been notified.

At this time, we know of no link between this crime scene and a man who has been identified as a suspect in her disappearance, a man police identify as Joseph Smith. He is in custody on an unrelated probation violation.

Smith has been identified as the man that you have seen time and again now over the past several days in a surveillance video that was attached to this carwash where I am standing. Carlie Brucia had been cutting through this carwash on her way home from a friend's house on Sunday night when she disappeared. You will remember that her family notified police immediately, but it was not until they found this surveillance video in the next day or so that they issued an Amber Alert.

We can also tell you that we have confirmed through a family spokesperson that there has been a DNA link between Carlie Brucia and the station wagon in which police say she was abducted. They have shown videotape -- pictures of this station wagon also several times over the past few days, trying to ask for the public's help, anyone who might have seen this station wagon since Sunday night when she disappeared and Tuesday when Joseph Smith was taken into custody. A news conference is set to begin in a very short time, when we expect to learn more details -- Bill.

HEMMER: Twenty-four hours ago, Susan, the sheriff was emphatic that Joseph Smith was not cooperating, not answering any questions from police. Is that still his posture?

CANDIOTTI: Well, we haven't been able to discover that yet. But naturally, that's the question: What was it that led authorities to that area? Did he possibly, Joseph Smith, have a change of heart and cooperate? But remember, he has not been charged in connection with this crime, although police believe he is the main suspect. But, of course, that's one of the first questions we'll want to know.

HEMMER: Susan, thanks. Again, as Susan mentioned, police there in Sarasota do plan a briefing in Florida. We'll have it for you when it begins. It may start in about five minutes from now, so keep it here and we will get to that momentarily.

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