PELL CITY, Ala. (WFLA) — Medical examiners in Alabama have completed the autopsy of Cassie Carli, however rather than provide answers, the final autopsy report leads to even bigger questions as to how the Florida mother died.
The final autopsy report lists both Carli’s cause of death and manner of death as “undetermined,” the St. Clair County Coroner’s Office told WFLA.com on Monday.
The cause of death was believed to be the only obstacle preventing Santa Rosa prosecutors in Florida from charging Marcus Spanevelo, Carli’s ex-boyfriend and father to their young daughter, with murder. Between the coroner and the ADFS laboratory work conducted over a six-month period in Huntsville, forensic teams in Alabama could not determine how Carli died.
However, the surprising ruling on Carli’s manner of death as “undetermined” rather than definitively establishing it as a homicide now yields massive questions on the case and whether investigators can prove Spanevelo is connected to Carli’s death.
St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell says while state examiners couldn’t categorize the manner of death as a homicide, it doesn’t mean Carli wasn’t the victim of murder.
“Undetermined means undetermined,” said Russell over the phone to WFLA.com.
Spanevelo, who remains in jail, faces charges of tampering with evidence, giving false information concerning a missing persons investigation, and destruction of evidence connected to allegedly disposing of Carli’s phone.
Following Spanevelo’s arrest in April, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson expressed high confidence that Spanevelo was responsible for Carli’s death.
“I think he’s either going to spend the rest of his life in prison, or he’s going to get the needle,” Johnson said of Spanevelo. “Hopefully, the needle.”
The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office has not yet responded to WFLA.com’s requests for comment.
Carli went missing after meeting Spanevelo for a custody exchange of their 4-year-old daughter on March 27 in Navarre — spurring a massive search effort by law enforcement, local volunteers and Carli’s family and friends. A week later, the 37-year-old’s remains were discovered in Alabama.
Spanevelo was tracked down and apprehended in Tennessee before eventually being extradited back to Florida. Since then, he has remained in the Santa Rosa County Jail.
“[Spanevelo] was totally uncooperative. He never cooperated with us, and that goes a long way,” Johnson said on April 3. “It’s your baby’s mother, and she’s missing, and you’re not going to cooperate with authorities? That’s kind of tell-tale.”
Spanevelo’s trial was scheduled to begin this week before being suddenly postponed on Monday. The trial, beginning with jury selection, is now slated to begin Oct. 17.