The Abduction of Carlie Brucia
"It's Joe Smith"
Kansler, the stepfather, was off the hook, and Manatee authorities finally got busy with an Amber Alert Monday evening.
The eerie video cliprare graphic evidence of an abduction of an adolescent girlsoon was being shown on news programs across America.
The abductor, wearing a mechanic's uniform complete with a name tag, had heavily tattooed arms. He appeared to be about 5-foot-8 with a sturdy build and dark hair.
NASA and the FBI helped enhance the images, and investigators asked the public for tips.
They got 800 of them, including several with precisely the same message, according to police investigative notes.
"The person's name is Joe Smith," said one tipster, a friend who said he recognized Smith from the haircut and his gait.
A second "stated emphatically that (the) guy on video was definitely Joe Smith."
A third, a woman, said she was "100 percent sure (the) suspect is Joe Smith."
(It later came to light that the callers included Smith's former business partner, a former employer and a housemate.)
Police visited Smith's former home and spoke with his estranged wife, Luz Castrillon. She directed detectives to the place where he was staying. Police found drug paraphernalia there and arrested Smith as a probation violator.
Smith didn't have much to say.
But his hosts, Jeff and Naomi Pincus, were able to fill in a few blanks.
Jeff Pincus said Smith borrowed their yellow Buick station wagon on Sunday afternoon, a couple of hours before the Super Bowl. He said he would be back in 15 minutes. But he didn't show up until Monday morning, 16 hours later.
Pincus had checked the mileage before Smith left and when he returned. His pal had driven the car 382 miles.
And how did Smith seem when he finally returned home?
"Like he had a good night sleep or he's real happy," Pincus told detectives. "He just looked like he had a wonderful night."
Nothing in particular seemed to weigh on him.
Later that same day, Smith had paid a cordial visit to his wife and their three young daughters.
Castrillon said he seemed normalthe same old Joe.