CASSIE Carli's sister claims she shared a disturbing double date with her slain sibling's "abusive" ex-boyfriend – who has been pictured smiling in jail after being booked on evidence tampering charges.
Cassie, 37, was found dead in a shallow grave inside a barn in Springville, Alabama on April 2, around 300 miles away from where she was last seen alive in Navarre Beach, Florida, on March 27.
On the evening of her disappearance, Cassie had left her home to meet her ex-boyfriend Marcus Spanevelo – the father of her four-year-old daughter Saylor – for a child custody exchange in the parking lot of a nearby restaurant.
But Cassie never returned home with Saylor, prompting her father to report her missing the following day.
Spanevelo, 34, was arrested on the morning of April 2 in Lebanon, Tennessee, and charged with evidence tampering, destruction of evidence, and supplying false information about a missing person in relation to Cassie's disappearance. Cassie's body was found hours later.
An autopsy was conducted on Cassie's remains on April 4, but the findings have not yet been released publicly pending the completion of a toxicology report, which can take several months.
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In the meantime, Spanevelo was officially booked into the Santa Rosa County jail late on Sunday night after being extradited back to Florida from Tennessee.
Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said Spanevelo’s current charges of evidence tampering stem from investigators allegedly finding that he took Carli's phone and "got rid of it."
More charges are expected to be filed against Spanevelo. He has not yet been charged with murder, though Johnson has alluded the charge is pending and will likely be filed after the autopsy is returned.
Spanevelo was pictured grinning in his mugshot on Easter Sunday.
In an interview with The US Sun, Cassie's younger sister, Raeanne Carli, called Spanevelo an "abusive narcissist" of whom her sibling had grown increasingly frightened in the months preceding her death.
She also said she hopes her sister's ex "gets the needle" should he be charged and found guilty of her murder, ordering officials to sentence him to 37 years – the length of Cassie's life – before ending his.
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'DISTURBING' DOUBLE DATE
Raeanne said she had her own reservations about Spanevelo when she met him for the first time at the beginning of his brief relationship with Cassie in 2018.
"We met with my fiance, Cassie and him. We did a little double date," Raeanne said. "And from almost the first moment I met him, I was honestly left so shocked by his behavior and how his temper could just flare up."
Raeanne claims that almost immediately after the four sat down at the bar, Spanevelo started shouting and being extremely rude to the bartender for making his drink wrong.
According to her recollection of the evening, Spanevelo allegedly called the female worker a "dummy" and "slung" the drink back towards her, angrily demanding she make him another.
"He told her specifically how to make it I was highly embarrassed at first and just shocked that my sister would even be with someone like this," Raeanne said.
"I shot a look towards her, but she tried to calm the situation by saying he had ODC and has some other issues that sometimes cause him to have outbursts and things like that."
Raeanne and Spanevelo's relations failed to improve after the disastrous double date, despite her efforts to put the outburst behind them, she said.
While they never met in person again, Raeanne claims he took an instant dislike to her because she had battled addiction more than 10 years before they met.
"I think he had formed an opinion about me before he even met me because he was always just off-putting towards me," she said,
"I have some stuff in my past I've done wrong. I struggled with addiction and I've overcome that. And I've turned my life around and but he's still judged me and saw me as that person even though he never knew me at that point in my life."
Raeanne alleges that Spanevelo even attempted to turn Cassie against her, insisting that their daughter shouldn't be allowed to spend time with her because she wasn't a good role model.
"Being a narcissist, he just wanted to isolate Cassie away from the family," she claimed. "He'd tell her, 'Your family doesn't love you. They're all messed up. I love you. I know what's best for you, listen to me.'
"But [Cassie] loved her family and she wasn't going to do that," Raeanne added. "So that's when she knew she wasn't going to stay with him."
'TOO MANY RED FLAGS'
Cassie and Spanevelo met in 2018 and had only been dating for around two months when Cassie fell pregnant.
While still in the early stages of their relationship, Raeanne said her sister was determined to make things work with Spanevelo, but around five months into her pregnancy, she couldn't bear to be with him any longer.
"There were just too many red flags," Raeanne claimed. "She would tell us, 'he's controlling me; he's trying to manipulate me; I don't want to be with him.'
"But even after she broke up with him, she was hopeful that maybe they could figure out a way to co-parent together and stay civilized."
Any hopes of civility Cassie had were quickly extinguished, according to Raeanne, who alleges that Spanevelo became increasingly volatile and "emotionally abusive" towards her sister.
The bereaved sibling alleges that after Cassie gave birth to Saylor, Spanevelo attempted to plant recording devices in her apartment, tracked her phone, and tried to monitor her movements and to who she was speaking.
"I think he thought that if he could hear her doing anything she may not suppose to be doing in then he'd try to use it against her and try to make false reports to [Child Protective Services] to get Saylor taken away from her."
'EXTREME EMOTIONAL ABUSE'
Cassie and Spanevelo were for years locked in a bitter custody dispute over their daughter. In August last year, Raeanne launched a GoFundMe page to help Cassie with her mounting legal fees.
A post on the fundraiser, written by Cassie, referred to Spanevelo as a "master manipulator", an abuser, and a narcissist.
"During my pregnancy, this man’s abusive control and manipulation escalated. But having battled infertility in my first marriage, I desperately wanted a family. So, I justified his erratic behavior as long as I could," she wrote.
After breaking up with Spanevelo, Cassie wrote that he "filed dozens of false police reports" and called child protective services "so many times, I nearly came to know most of the staff by name."
Elaborating on her slain sister's claims, Raeanne alleged that Spanevelo was both verbally and emotionally abusive to Cassie throughout her pregnancy and after Saylor's birth.
"The verbal abuse was particularly bad," Raeanne said. "He would body shame her when she was pregnant, and just everything she did wasn't right or good enough for him.
"He called her stupid, said she didn't know anything, that she was going to be the worst mother ever – just anything to put her down and make her feel inferior to him.
"The emotional abuse was just extreme. So extreme," she further alleged.
Raeanne believes Spanevelo may have been "infatuated" with her sister and her death may have been the result of "one of those, 'if I can't have you, then nobody can' type of things", she alleged.
At the time of her death, Raeanne said her sister was happy and in a good place, having just landed a new job at a local military base.
Raeanne claims that Spanevelo attempted to win back Cassie several times after their break-up but her sibling was not interested in revisiting a romantic relationship with him.
"My sister was finally in the best place before her passing and she got that job, which she really enjoyed," Raeanne said, before speculating: "And it could be that he thought, 'Wow, she's never ever going to want me or let me have my way so I've got to do something about it.'"
Raeanne claims Cassie grew increasingly frightened of Spanevelo in the weeks leading up to her death.
So much so that Cassie once issued her sister an ominous warning, allegedly telling her, "If something should happen to me, it was him."
"He was never physical with her or put his hands on her, but he knew she feared him and I think he used that against her," Raeanne said. "But he would also be kind to her sometime and try to get her to bring her to guard down."
Raeanne likened Spanevelo's alleged volatility to a rollercoaster, claiming his moods were "just up and down and unpredictable".
"She would be on alert because of it," Raeanne said. "Because there were times when he would erupt and be in certain moods on certain weeks.
"Cassie would say he was being crazy and would sometimes ask my dad to come to a child swap with her, telling him 'please bring your gun', because he has a concealed carry."
'GIVE HIM THE NEEDLE'
Following Spanevelo's arrest earlier this month, Raeanne said she hopes Spanevelo "gets the needle" should he be charged and found guilty of Cassie's murder.
"I want him to get the needle too, but honestly I would want him to sit in jail for at least 37 years – as long as my sister lived – and then get the needle.
"I want him to sit in jail and see my sister's face every time he tries to sleep, and to think about his daughter and know what he did every day and let it eat him alive."
Her comments followed similar remarks made by Sheriff Johnson, who called Spanevelo a “dirtbag” and voiced his hope the 34-year-old gets the death penalty at trial.
“I think we have a great case and I think he’s either going to spend the rest of his life in jail or get the needle – hopefully, the needle,” Johnson said during a press conference earlier this month.
Johnson said Spanevelo had ties to the Alabama property where Cassie's body was found, but would not specify how.
When asked if Spanevelo had been cooperative with authorities, Johnson responded: "Absolutely not."
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"Think about it, it's your baby's mother and she's missing, and you're not going to cooperate with authorities. That's kind of telltale," he said.
"Since we've been dealing with him, he's been acting like a dirtbag. I don't see that changing."
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