SARASOTA — Today marks the 10-year anniversary of one of the most notorious murders in Sarasota County history.
On Feb. 1, 2004, Super Bowl Sunday, 11-year-old Carlie Brucia was abducted by Joseph Smith on her way home from a friend’s house. The abduction was caught on a surveillance camera from the Evie’s Car Wash on Bee Ridge Road. Smith would later rape and kill Brucia, strangling her and leaving her body in a field behind a church. Smith, now 47, was convicted of Brucia’s murder and remains on death row. The area in which her body was found is now a garden at Central Church of Christ on Proctor Road in Sarasota. “Because she has been an inspiration to me of what happened here, I now recognize there are a lot of vulnerable children in our community,” said Rod Myers, the minister at the church. “It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years.” Joy Most is now 21 years old and was one of Brucia’s best friends growing up. “Me and my mom burst out crying when we found out,” Most said. “I miss her and I’m always thinking about her.” Also thinking about her all the time is Brucia’s stepfather, Steven Kansler. “I’ll always have my memories of her. No one will take that away. You live one day at a time,” he said. What angers Kansler is that Smith remains on death row. “When he is executed and I get to go up there and watch them, that will be my closure. I’ll feel she has been set free. Right now I feel like she is floating around up there and stuck in limbo,” Kansler said. A candlelight vigil in Carlie’s honor is set for 6:30 tonight at Central Church of Christ.
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