- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2004

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The FBI joined the search yesterday for an 11-year-old whose apparent abduction was videotaped by a carwash surveillance camera, and the girl’s parents pleaded for her safe return.

“Please release Carlie. Please give me my baby,” begged Carlie Brucia’s mother, Susan Schorpen.

The sixth-grader was seen on videotape being led away by a man as she took a shortcut behind a closed carwash on her way home from a friend’s house Sunday night.

The sheriff’s department is working with the FBI, state law-enforcement authorities and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children to find the girl. More than 100 calls from the public have come in, and an unidentified company offered a $25,000 reward for information.

“Carlie, if you can see and hear this, please know we will stop at nothing,” sheriff’s Maj. Kevin Gooding said at a news conference, telling the girl to run and get help if she could. “We won’t stop until we find you. Please, Carlie, don’t give up.”

The surveillance tape showed a white man in his late 20s or early 30s approach Carlie. The blond, blue-eyed girl did not appear to know him.

The man, who was wearing a mechanic’s shirt with a name patch on one breast, spoke to her for a few seconds, then grabbed her by the arm and led her away. Her parents said they did not recognize the man.

Maj. Gooding said efforts were being made to enhance the images from the tape in hopes of finding more clues.

The girl’s father, Joe Brucia, implored anyone who might have seen anything to come forward.

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children began distributing 16,000 fliers with Carlie’s picture throughout the region, and a national hot line was set up — 1-888/382-6237— to gather information.

The family’s modest home is on the edge of a busy, commercial section of the city, about a mile from the house where Carlie was visiting her friend.

“Carlie is not the type of child who would just go off,” said family friend Chessie Huber, whose 6-year-old son is a playmate of Carlie’s little brother. “She’s a very responsible child.”

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