A sixth grader at McIntosh Middle School in Sarasota, Florida, her abduction was caught on a surveillance camera at a car wash and caught international attention. An Amber alert was issued and an intense search commenced that would include the FBI and a $25,000 cash reward for her return.
Her body was discovered near a church parking lot a few miles from the car wash after an informant led police there.
Six days later, a man named Joseph Smith, a father of three and car mechanic with a long list of arrests for drug-related charges and one for kidnapping and false imprisonment, was arrested. He eventually revealed where he had hidden Carlie’s body, behind a nearby church. Carlie had been violently raped for hours and then strangled to death. Joseph Smith was sentenced to death. The man’s death sentence was overturned in 2018. He is awaiting a resentencing hearing.
Susan Nancy Schorpen