The woman, Cassie Carli, 37, was last seen Sunday, March 27, in a parking lot behind the Juana’s Pagodas restaurant in the Navarre Beach neighborhood of Pensacola Beach, Fla., according to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office. She was scheduled to meet Marcus Spanevelo, her former boyfriend, at the restaurant to exchange custody of their daughter.
Carli’s family received bizarre text messages from Carli’s phone after that planned exchange, according to local news reports from Mobile, Ala. CBS affiliate WKRG. The messages alleged that Carli was suffering from simultaneous car trouble and phone trouble but that Spanevelo was offering to assist with the alleged predicaments. Carli’s family immediately suspected that nefarious deeds were afoot because Carli did not trust Spanevelo and would not have sought help from him, relatives told the television station.
“I’m sorry, car was acting up,” a text to relatives reportedly stated. “Marcus is working on it. I will stay at his place tonight. He is paying me money to do some stuff around his house.”
According to previous reports by Law&Crime, law enforcement initially found Spanevelo and the couple’s 4-year-old daughter in Birmingham, Ala. Spanevelo reportedly worked in that state.
Child welfare workers took the girl into their care and later returned her to Carli’s family, Huntsville CBS affiliate WHNT subsequently reported.
The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office later announced that Spanevelo was nabbed by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in Lebanon, Tenn. He was jailed in that jurisdiction on charges of tampering with evidence, giving false information concerning a missing persons investigation, and destruction of evidence. Jail records suggest he was booked into the Maury County, Tenn. Jail on on Friday, April 1, at 11:09 p.m., but Florida authorities didn’t announce his arrest until Saturday, April 2. Other Tennessee records indicate he was briefly in the custody of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.
Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said the only word Spanevelo uttered when he was arrested was “lawyer,” Law&Crime previously noted.
Birmingham, Ala. is four hours north of the Navarre Beach, Fla. neighborhood where Carli was last seen. Lebanon, Tenn., is another three hours north of Birmingham; it is situated about 30 minutes due east of Nashville.
Not long after Spanevelo was arrested, authorities found Carli dead in a shallow grave in a barn on property in Springville, Ala., that was linked to Spanevelo, Sheriff Johnson announced on Sunday, April 3.
Citing comments from Johnson, FOX News reported that Carli’s “body appeared to be intact” and that “there were no obvious signs of trauma.”
He initially fought attempts by the constabulary to return him to Florida.
“Not at this moment,” Spanevelo said at a previous hearing when asked if he would agree to be sent back to Florida without a court fight, FOX News reported. “There are some things that need to be resolved before I’m willing to go that route.”
Either those plans changed or the defendant concluded those “things” by Wednesday morning at at 8:30 a.m. hearing before Judge Bobby Sands.
A rudimentary Maury County, Tenn. court database lists Spanevelo as a “fugitive from justice” and has no future court dates noted beyond the one which occurred Wednesday, April 13.
Jail records in Florida do not yet show Spanevelo as an inmate there; the sheriff told FOX News that it was unclear precisely when the defendant would be taken south.
A criminal docket bearing Spanevelo’s name is not yet on file in Santa Rosa County, Fla., according to an online court database. The area prosecutor’s office did not after more than an hour return a Law&Crime phone call seeking information on where the case stands.
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