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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Press Conference on Carlie Brucia Case

Aired February 6, 2004 - 07:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Straight away to Florida right now. The sheriff is back at the microphone, Bill Balkwill. We have heard from him almost every day now in the case of the missing 11-year-old girl, Carlie Brucia. The news from Florida just about 50 minutes ago, a body was found, located behind a church in the Sarasota area right off Interstate 75. They have a man in custody described as not being cooperative.
Here's the sheriff.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SHERIFF BILL BALKWILL, SARASOTA COUNTY: The body of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia has been found. Joseph Smith is under arrest for the abduction and murder of Carlie.

On behalf of the entire law enforcement team, citizens who volunteered, our sympathy goes out to the entire family of Carlie. This community has come together to find a young girl.

I will caution all of you about rumors. We will continue to update you of our investigation of what we are doing.

Our prayers on behalf of everybody here in Sarasota County go out to the family. And I thank you once again for being patient with us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Sheriff.

We will not be releasing the exact location of Carlie at this time, because it is an active investigation, and we do not want the media or the public descending upon that location until we have an opportunity to complete our forensic work.

I stand before you this morning, shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, to say we have fulfilled another portion of our obligation. We have found Carlie and the person responsible for her murder.

We now stand ready to complete our obligation and assure you that he will pay the ultimate price for what he did to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not be entertaining questions this morning at this particular time. There will be another briefing in one hour, at ten minutes after 8:00. Please respect the family. Please respect the active crime scene and the forensics we are gathering.

We will see you in one hour.

QUESTION: The family has been notified?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

HEMMER: There is official word now, the sad news on 11-year-old Carlie Brucia. Again, the word coming to us about an hour ago.

This follows recent reporting, at least overnight anyway, a family member indicating that DNA evidence had been found in this station wagon that we have talked on and off throughout the past week.

There is a man in custody right now described as 37-year-old Joseph Smith, a long record of law and a criminal history in the state of Florida, apparently still not cooperating, but whether or not that has changed overnight is something that we all wait to learn.

Susan Candiotti is on the scene in Sarasota, Florida. We hope to go back to Susan in a hospital.

Again, the body of Carlie Brucia reported to be found in a church -- behind a church right off I-75. Whether or not that indicates a change in posture of Joseph Smith is something we cannot say. But obviously, law enforcement quite broken up in a tearful statement there, sympathy to the family, prayers go out to the family, the sheriff clearly broken up in Sarasota.

We will not leave this story. More when we get it out of Florida this morning here.

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