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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Authorities Say Body of Carlie Brucia Found

Aired February 6, 2004 - 08:03   ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Again, tragic news earlier today out of Florida regarding the fate of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.
Susan Candiotti, live in Sarasota, breaking this news to us about 90 minutes ago.

Again, Susan, good morning there.

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

Yes, the family has been certainly trying to remain hopeful, while bracing themselves for the worst possible news. Well, now that worst possible news has happened.

Carlie's mother was seen at her front door just a little while ago, receiving hugs and comfort from family and friends. Those colorful signs that we have seen hanging from the house were taken down overnight, the signs that said, "Carlie we miss you. We wish you were here."

She also spoke to reporters a little while ago and told them, Carlie will always be my baby.

We can tell you that the police have now publicly confirmed that the body of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, who disappeared on Sunday night, has indeed been discovered not far from here, as we understand it, according to sources, off I-75 near a church.

And the man who was seen in the surveillance tape with her, a man who police had identified as the key suspect in the girl's disappearance, has indeed now been charged in her death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF BILL BALKWILL, SARASOTA COUNTY, FLORIDA: Joseph Smith is under arrest for the abduction and murder of Carlie. On behalf of the entire law enforcement team, citizens who volunteered, our sympathy goes out to the entire family of Carlie. This community has come together to find a young girl.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: The family had learned only yesterday from police, according to a family spokesperson, that authorities had made a DNA link between Carlie and the station wagon in which authorities said she had been abducted. Now, again, what led to the discovery of her body where it is, we don't know. We also do not know whether Joseph Smith, who has now been charged in the case, a mechanic who lives in this area, 37 years old, we do not know whether he is now cooperating with authorities. He hasn't been talking up until now. And those are questions we plan on asking authorities when they hold another news conference a little while from now -- Bill.

HEMMER: Susan, thank you -- Susan Candiotti in Sarasota. We'll hear that briefing live when it begins. We'll take you back there live in Florida. Stay tune for more on that.

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