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Autopsy ‘Undetermined’ on Florida Mother’s Cause and Manner of Death as Ex-Boyfriend Heads to Trial in Her Disappearance

Cassie Carli (left) and Marcus Spanevelo.

Cassie Carli (left) and Marcus Spanevelo

The cause and manner of death of Florida mother Cassie Carli, 37, are “undetermined,” a county coroner told Law&Crime on Monday.

Speaking to Law&Crime in a brief phone interview, St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell declined to answer more questions about the autopsy because of the ongoing case.

This happens the same day as her ex-boyfriend Marcus Spanevelo, 35, was scheduled for jury selection in his trial for allegedly hindering the investigation into her brief disappearance. Carli went missing on March 27 when she was supposed to be meeting him for a custody exchange over their young daughter. The meeting location was Juana’s Pagodas restaurant in Santa Rosa County, Florida.

Carli’s family said her number sent strange texts, in which the author – purportedly her – claimed to have car trouble and that Spanevelo was paying her to “do some stuff around his house.” Relatives said her phone was missing from her purse, which was found in her abandoned car at the restaurant.

Investigators found her dead just days later in Alabama, the state where Marcus Spanevelo lived and worked. Carli’s body was found in a shallow grave in a barn on property in the city of Springville, which authorities said was linked to Spanevelo. Spanevelo lived in the Birmingham area. He was arrested in Tennessee.

He has only been charged, however, with tampering with evidence and false information to law enforcement during an investigation. There was also a related misdemeanor count of refusing to give a DNA sample, but that was dropped after he presented a swab.

Spanevelo’s defense filed on Thursday to omit testimony regarding allegations of “possible kidnapping, murder, manslaughter, improper disposal of human remains” or other crimes.

“There is no legitimate reason why the witnesses would be unable to testify that there was an active missing person or felony criminal investigation, as stated in the Information, without elaborating on the uncharged crimes listed above,” Assistant Public Defender Nicholas M. Thomas wrote.

Jury selection is now scheduled for next Monday, Oct. 17.

Spanevelo’s aunt maintained his innocence in a WEAR report from April. Neiva Spanevelo called the investigation suspicious and asserted someone set up her nephew.

“Just think about it,” she said.

She described him as a kind man who worked hard and took care of his daughter.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson rejected the innocence claim in April.

“He’s going to get his day in court,” he said, according to WEAR. “But I can tell you this: The evidence that we have is overwhelming.”

[Images via Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office]

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