Proposed Cassie Carli Law would create more safe exchange places across the state of Florida

Updated: Mar. 3, 2023 at 5:30 PM CST
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NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. (WALA) -Cassie Carli disappeared from Navarre Beach last year after a custody exchange with her ex-boyfriend Marcus Spanevelo. Her body found less than a week later in a shallow grave in Springville, Alabama.

Spanevelo has not been charged with killing Carli, but he is charged with abuse of a corpse. When Carli first went missing, her car was found in the parking lot behind the restaurant where she met Spanevelo to make the exchange.

“When that happened, we still went and visited that area, and I couldn’t get over how dark and secluded it was. It was just unacceptable that he was even able to make that the area to exchange in,” said Cassie Carli’s sister Raeann Carli.

Because of that, and with help from Cassie’s friends and family, State Rep. Dr. Joel Rudman came up with the Cassie Carli law.

“Some safe exchange locations in the panhandle they require a court order in order to access them. So, this law would make a default location in every county,” said Rudman.

The law would require a safe exchange location to be somewhere like a sheriff’s office or a sheriff’s substation. The location would need to be somewhere well lit that is marked with a purple light.

“Also, a location like a parking lot that is monitored 24/7 with video cameras and with footage that has to be retained for a grand total of 45 days,” added Rudman.

Instead of needing a court order to use a safe exchange location. A parent could choose to do the exchange there if they don’t feel safe doing it elsewhere without facing a penalty from family court. Rudman says the proposed law has already received support from across the state, including support from Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson.

“This will be a game changer. Beforehand you always wanted a witness there, so you have your sister come with you,” said Johnson. “Now if this law passes, you’re going to have a witness. The camera.”

Raeann says a law like this could have made all the difference for Cassie.

“I know wholeheartedly that my sister would have used those resources,” said Raeann Carli.

She says this law is the perfect way to honor her sister.

“She would want us to turn pain into power and make changes so no one has to go through what she went through,” added Carli. “I know that Cassie is elated up in heaven.”

The Cassie Carli law also says that parents can use a safe exchange location in an adjacent county if it’s as close or closer than the original location. The Florida legislative session begins on Tuesday. If approved, the bill will go into effect on July 1.