NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. – The family of missing Florida woman Cassie Carli said they still don’t know the whereabouts of the young mother’s cell phone, as the concerned loved ones said there were "red flags" about her daughter’s father.
Raeann Carli, 32, said she does not believe her older sister sent the final text messages that came from the phone. When asked on Friday whether the police had located Carli’s cell phone, Raeann said no.
"She wanted to remind us, ‘[If] something happened to me, it’s him.’"
"We still are trying to locate Cassie’s cell phone. Her purse was found inside of the vehicle, but we still cannot locate the cell phone," she responded. "The most important thing we’re looking for is her phone. We do know that was not in there."
Carli, 37, was last seen on Sunday evening, while meeting her daughter’s father in the parking lot of a beachside restaurant, Juana’s Pagoda, not far from her home in Navarre. Investigators later recovered her vehicle, with her purse inside, and confirmed the couple’s 4-year-old daughter is safe. But Carli remains missing, and loved ones, community members and police are still desperately searching.
The younger Carli – who previously told Fox News Digital that Cassie felt "extremely" unsafe around her daughter’s father, Marcus Spanevelo – further explained on Friday that her sister had previously warned them about the man.
"Just in general, with her relationship with him, it has always been, she has had some fear of him. He’s always controlling, and tried to be manipulative, and she had some fear of him in the past. And what he’s capable of, or planning maliciously towards her."
She added: "We always had a red flag on him. Always. And her, as well. She wanted to remind us, ‘[If] something happened to me, it’s him.’"
Raeann said Cassie always kept close contact with their father, whom she lived with, and the rest of the family, and was "never one to just disappear." But on Sunday evening, she told her dad she was running out to pick up her four-year-old daughter, Saylor, from the child’s father’s custody and never returned, Carli said during a phone call with Fox News Digital on Thursday.
Raeann previously said Cassie usually tried to meet Spanevelo at public locations – typically a Walmart parking lot – but that he had recently been changing the meet-up spots.
Before she left for Juana’s on Sunday, she poked her head into her father’s bedroom at the home they share.
"When it came time to pick Saylor up, my dad was in his room about to rest and she just kind of popped in, 'Hey, dad, I'll be right back. I'm just running to grab Saylor,’" Raeann said. "She walked out the door like she would be right back."
Cassie’s father then went to sleep, but awoke hours later to discover his daughter had not yet returned.
"Cassie,I’m trying to call you.What’s going on?" he wrote, in a series of text messages provided to Fox News Digital. His first message was sent at 9:40 p.m. Sunday. He then sent a second message that stated: "I’m freaking out case call me as soon as you get this message."
A response came shortly thereafter, and stated: "I’m sorry, car was acting up, and I broke my phone. Marcus is working on it. I will stay at his place tonight. He is paying me some money to do some stuff around his house."
A later message from Cassie’s phone stated, "Let me see if he can get this fixed and I’ll call you."
Cassie’s father then went to sleep for the night. After hearing nothing from his daughter the next morning, he contacted Spanevelo, and then the sheriff’s office.
The family is now doubting that those messages even came from Cassie, with Raeann explaining that the messages are "not how Cassie would talk or speak."
"We totally do not believe that was Cassie responding in those messages," Carli said. "She would never, ever take up any offers from him like that – to stay with him or help him or anything, first of all, without telling us or considering with us. So, that’s not like her at all."
On Thursday, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said investigators located Spanevelo more than four hours and over 260 miles away in Birmingham, Alabama, where they questioned him and were able to check in on the couple’s daughter.
Johnson said the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office’s entire Major Crimes Unit, which consists of at least 10 detectives, is working the case. He said investigators believe Spanevelo was "the last one to see her that we're aware of."
"We are intent on speaking with him again," Johnson said. He would not discuss Spanevelo’s recollection of events.
Spanevelo has not been charged with a crime, nor has he been named a suspect or a person of interest. He did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request seeking comment and information.
The search has now expanded outside the state of Florida and to include the FBI.
Johnson would not divulge specific search areas and said investigators now have Carli’s vehicle in their custody.
"When we look at this, we consider her missing endangered. We don’t know what happened to her…we just know that the way she has gone missing concerns us greatly," Johnson said. "We don’t have enough evidence to determine if she’s alive or if she’s deceased."
Sgt. Rich Aloy, a spokesperson for the department, said the investigation was still "extremely active." He would not answer questions on Friday regarding Spanevelo, including how police tracked him to Birmingham and whether he has been cooperative.
He also would not say whether the second interview had happened yet, and would not speak about witnesses, surveillance footage or tips the department has received.
He would not speak about the whereabouts of Carli’s cell phone.
"The cell phone," he said, "is a piece of evidence we’re just not ready to discuss at this time. But that may come out shortly."
As for the ongoing search for Carli, Aloy asked that anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 850-437-STOP.