SARASOTA (FOX 13) - Thirteen years after the chilling abduction and murder that gripped the nation, Carlie Brucia’s mother has died. Susan Schorpen, 47, passed away Monday, according to a spokesperson for the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Schorpen became a regular figure on TV after the abduction of 11-year-old Carlie was caught on videotape back in 2004. For days, she pleaded for the safe return of her daughter as law enforcement throughout the state looked for the man in a work uniform seen leading the girl away.
The footage led investigators to Joseph Smith, who later confessed to kidnapping, raping, and murdering Carlie, then leaving her body behind a church. He remains in prison awaiting execution.
“I’d like to know why he chose my daughter and why he had to kill her,” Schorpen said after Smith’s 2005 conviction. “I’m sure she’d let him know that she was only 11 years old. How could he go through with it?”
After her daughter’s death, Schorpen found herself in legal trouble, with multiple arrests though the years, including drug and prostitution charges.
Schorpen's cause of death was not immediately available but authorities do not suspect foul play.
VIDEO: Smith convicted of Carlie Brucia's murder (Ray Collins reports; November 17, 2005)