Mom Who Went Missing After Heading to Toddler Custody Exchange Found Dead

A Florida woman was found dead in a shallow grave on Saturday night, almost a week after she went missing while headed to a toddler custody swap.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson made the announcement, confirming that authorities discovered Cassie Carli's body while executing a search warrant on a property in Alabama, a local ABC affiliate reported. He also confirmed that the property has ties to Carli's ex-boyfriend Marcus Spanevelo, who was arrested in connection with her disappearance on Friday.

"It's not the ending that we wanted obviously, but we're hoping to provide a little closure to the family," Johnson said during a press conference following the discovery.

florida mother found dead custody swap
The body of Florida mother Cassie Carli was found in a shallow grave in Alabama on Saturday, a week after she went missing on her way to a toddler custody swap. Above, a representational image of a crime scene. Larry W. Smith/Getty Images

Authorities were able to confirm that the body was Carli using a tattoo. The body is scheduled to undergo an autopsy on Monday.

Carli, 37, was last seen alive on March 27 in Navarre Beach, Florida, when she went to meet Spanevelo for a custody exchange of their 4-year-old daughter, Saylor. Following this meeting, Carli seemed to go missing, with police locating her vehicle in town on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, police spoke with Spanevelo in Birmingham, Alabama, at which time they were able to confirm that Saylor was safe and unharmed. He was later arrested on charges related to his ex-girlfriend's disappearance in Tennessee, being taken into custody by the state's Bureau of Investigations and Highway Patrol. He remains in custody in Maury County, Tennessee, but Johnson expects that he will be extradited soon.

"He was totally uncooperative. He never cooperated with us," Johnson explained, according to the ABC affiliate. "And that goes a long way. It's your baby's mother and she's missing—and you're not going to cooperate with authorities? That's pretty tell-tale."

Johnson's loved ones told local station WKRG News that Carli's father received odd text messages that did not sound like her on the night she went missing. They now believe them to be part of Spanevelo's attempt to cover up her disappearance. Police now believe that he destroyed Carli's phone after those messages were sent.

Spanevelo currently faces charges of tampering with evidence, giving false information concerning a missing persons investigation, and destruction of evidence, with more possible charges pending the results of Monday's autopsy.

"I think we have a great case," Johnson added, according to the local ABC affiliate. "And I think he's going to either spend the rest of his life in prison or get the needle."