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Cassie Carli's ex charged with kidnapping

Originally reporting by Benjamin Johnson, Pensacola News Journal; and Rebekah Jones, MY NWFL

Cassie Carli's ex-boyfriend has been indicted on kidnapping charges related to her March 2021 murder.

We've followed this story closely for the last 10 months and there's been no shortage of outrage over how the case has been handled.

Carli went missing after meeting 35-year old Marcus Spanevelo to exchange custody of their young daughter.

Carli previously reported her fear of Spanevelo to Santa Rosa County Sherriff deputies, but was turned away. She told her brother she was afraid he was going to harm her.

The night she disappeared, she met Spanevelo in a well-lit, crowded place to protect herself. She let her father know when and where they were meeting, and to check in with her after to make sure she was ok.

She did everything right.

A search party this author participated in began checking abandoned buildings, flying drones over the bay, and searching ditches for signs of Carli in the following days.

Her four-year-old daughter went missing, as well.

Six days after she went missing, Carli's body was discovered in a shallow grave on a property "connected with" her ex in Alabama.

Her daughter was returned to Carli's family after being found in the ex's custody safe and alive.

Benjamin Johnson spoke to the St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell, who told the Pensacola News Journal in October that he could not determine Carli's cause or manner of death.

"Undetermined means undetermined," he told the News Journal.

Carli's ex was arrested in Tennessee shortly after her body was found, but he was not charged with her murder.

Bizarrely, he was extradited back to Florida and charged with tampering with evidence, destruction of evidence and giving false information concerning a missing persons investigation.

But Santa Rosa County let Spanevelo go.

Then in December 2022, Spanevelo was charged with "abuse of a corpse" in St. Clair County, Alabama, where Carli's body was found.

Now, a federal grand jury has indicted Cassie Carli's former boyfriend with the kidnapping that resulted in her death.

On Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted Marcus Spanevelo on kidnapping charges, alleging that he “knowingly used a means, facility, and instrumentality of interstate and foreign commerce, including, but not limited to, a cellphone and a GMC motor vehicle, which offense resulted in the death of C.C.C.”

"The defendant willfully transported (Carli) in interstate commerce across a state boundary from the State of Florida to the State of Alabama," according to the indictment, "and the defendant knowingly used a means, facility, and instrumentality of interstate foreign commerce ... which resulted in the death of (Carli)."

Still, the federal indictment sheds little new light on what events led to Carli's death, and Spanevelo has not been charged with murder in the case.

Cassie Carli and her daughter deserve justice, but with no justice in sight and no concrete answers as to what, exactly, happened, justice in this case continues to be denied.

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