Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Abduction of Carlie Brucia

Most Unseemly

Few of the players in the Carlie Brucia murder drama emerged as sympathetic figures.

John Smith, the snitch and brother of the killer, also admitted to a long battle with drug addiction. Even Connie Arnold, whose house Carlie was walking home from when abducted, has since been arrested for trying to buy cocaine in her neighborhood.

But perhaps most unseemly was Susan Schorpen, the victim's mother.

Carlie's mother, Susan Schorpen
Carlie's mother, Susan Schorpen

She had had a troubled life even before the murder, including a drug arrest in 1995, when Carlie was 3, and a domestic violence collar in 1999.

Just months before the girl was killed, Schorpen was reported missing by her husband, Steven Kansler. When she finally turned up, she told authorities she had had a relapse of her drug problem.

Things only got worse after the murderbeginning with gaudy gaffes.

Schorpen showed up at a somber Valentine's Day 2004 memorial service for daughteran event attended by hundreds of Sarasotansin a white stretch limousine.

Memorial service for Carlie
Memorial service for Carlie

She then neglected to attend the first week of Smith's trial. When she did briefly show up, she said she did so to deny that she had known Joe Smith through drug circlesa rumor that had been going around Sarasota.

She had two film producers at her sideshe met them at a Sarasota hotel karaoke nightand treated the brief court appearance as a marketing tool for their movie project.

Schorpen was also showing off a new figure; she said she lost 70 pounds after her daughter was killed.

She was asked by reporters to talk about Carlie but brushed them off.

"You'll have to watch the movie," she said.

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