SARASOTA, Fla. - The hunt for a missing 11-year-old girl, whose videotaped abduction crystallized every parent's fear, ended another day with no sign of Carlie Jane Brucia or certain knowledge of her fate.
Sheriff's officials and the FBI asked the public yesterday to look in gullies, down dirt paths and under dense growth for any sign of Carlie's pink backpack.
The hope is that the sixth-grader's book bag will reveal clues as to what happened to her, where she is now or if she's still alive. No specific description of the backpack was available, as it was a recent gift, her mother said.
But hopes of finding the girl safe have dimmed as some friends of the family say among themselves that they don't expect to find the child safe.
A man is in custody whom authorities emphatically declare is the culprit, but he has not cooperated with detectives, said Sarasota County Sheriff Bill Balkwill. He added that he believes that the suspect, Joseph Peter Smith, acted alone.
There is evidence from a car Smith used that links him to the child, although the sheriff did not say what that evidence is.
The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.