NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. – Cassie Carli, a Florida mother who disappeared one week ago after meeting the father of their 4-year-old daughter, was found dead in a shallow grave in Alabama on Saturday evening, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson said Sunday.
Her ex-boyfriend, Marcus Spanevelo, was arrested Saturday in Tennessee and charged with tampering with evidence, destruction of evidence, and giving false information concerning a missing person investigation.
Spanevelo could face additional charges after an autopsy is completed Monday, which will reveal the cause of death.
"The nice thing about this is that they're holding him as they're building their case, so they don't have to worry about chasing this guy throughout the United States," Joe Giacalone, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Fox News Digital on Sunday.
Johnson said Sunday that Spanevelo has been "totally uncooperative" with the investigation.
"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," Johnson said at Sunday's press conference. "Since we've been dealing with him, he's been acting like a dirtbag. I don't see that changing."
Carli met Spanevelo on March 27 in the parking lot of a restaurant called Juana’s Pagodas in Navarre Beach to pick up her four-year-old daughter, Saylor, from Spanevelo's custody.
She never returned to the home that she shares with her father and police found her car in the Juana’s Pagodas parking lot.
Investigators made contact with Spanevelo in Birmingham, Alabama, earlier in the week before he was arrested in Lebanon, Tennessee on Saturday morning.
Carli's remains were found Saturday evening in a shallow grave in a barn in Springville, Alabama, about 30 miles northeast of Birmingham.
Raeann Carli, Cassie's younger sister released a video statement following the announcement.
Raeann Carli said that the family always had a "red flag" on Spanevelo.
"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," Raeann told Fox News Digital.
"She wanted to remind us, ‘[If] something happened to me, it’s him.’"
Spanevelo did not return multiple requests for comment this week before he was arrested.
Carli's family and loved ones are holding a vigil at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday in the back of the parking lot at Juana's Pagodas in Navarre Beach, where she was last seen.
The investigation into Carli's disappearance and death spanned three states and involved several law enforcement agencies from the state to federal level.
"I think we have a great case, and he's either going to spend the rest of his life in prison or he's going to get the needle," Johnson said Sunday. "Hopefully the needle."