NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Neglected, vandalized memorial garden for 11-year-old girl needs help being cleaned up

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Posted at 8:00 PM, Feb 20, 2020

SARASOTA, Fla. — At one time, dozens of volunteers came every week to care for the memorial garden for 11-year-old Carlie Brucia behind Central Church of Christ in Sarasota.

But in recent years it's been neglected and vandalized.

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"I was horrified, I couldn’t believe that it looked so bad," said Cheri Langworthy, a close family friend.

The dying garden marks a deadly place.

Surveillance video from 2004 shows the last time Carlie Brucia was ever seen alive. The man in the video, Joseph Smith, is shown grabbing Brucia's arm and leading her away.

Smith was convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing Brucia.

"That is actually where her body was found, where that stone is," said Langworthy, while pointing at a memorial stone.

Langworthy says she fears the memory of Brucia is dying with the garden.

"Somebody vandalized this beautiful fountain," said Langworthy.

Langworthy and her husband, along with Brucia's cousin, have been working for weeks trying to restore the garden, but they need more help.

They’re asking for volunteers to come out to the garden to help clean it up.

It's happening on Saturday morning behind Central Church of Christ, at 6221 Proctor Rd, Sarasota, FL 34241.