How Did Carlie Brucia’s Mother Die?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘See No Evil: Come Home Carlie’ examines the 2004 kidnapping, rape, and murder case of 11-year-old Carlie Jane Brucia in Sarasota, Florida, along with its grim aftermath. The young girl was walking home after finishing up a sleepover at her friend’s house on February 1, when Joseph Peter Smith, a stranger, managed to convince her to accompany him and led her away. Thus began the start of a case whose heinousness shook the country to its core. Of course, the people who were most affected by it were Carlie’s family, especially her mother.

Who Was Carlie Brucia’s Mother?

In 2004, Carlie Brucia lived with her mother, Susan Schorpen, and her stepfather, Steven Kansler, in a good home in Sarasota. They were a seemingly happy family until February 1 rolled around and turned their whole lives upside down. When Carlie didn’t return home, Susan knew that something must have gone terribly wrong. “I knew something was wrong,” Susan revealed to People Magazine at the time. “In my heart, in my mind, I knew.” In the days that followed, the mother made several emotional pleas in the media for her daughter’s safe return. Unfortunately, though, all she received was news that broke her heart.

Talking about losing Carlie so unexpectedly, Susan told People that she’d never be the same again. “She was my life, my beautiful girl,” she added. “I can’t get past what happened to her. No one should go through what my family has been through.” Yet, to deal with the loss in a more productive way, Susan tried to immerse herself in the world of children’s rights advocacy. But sadly, her emotional trauma and her battle with substance abuse interfered with her progress on quite a few occasions. After all, despite quietly attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, Susan was arrested several times on drug-related charges.

How Did Carlie Brucia’s Mother Die?

At 47-years-old, Susan Schorpen was found dead on April 10, 2017, in Polk County, Florida, from a heroin overdose. The County’s Medical Examiner’s Office conducted several toxicology tests to determine her official cause of death. As per a few reports, Susan’s life was filled with one devastating news after another. After Carlie’s murder, her brother passed away in a tragic car accident, Then, her father, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, died. And as if all that wasn’t enough, Susan’s then 11-year-old son was gravely injured after being hit by a drunk driver.

As a Predator Patrol volunteer, though, Susan tried her best to make light of every situation that came at her. “Susan had a good soul, a kind heart and loved everyone,” said child advocate Judy Cornett in an interview with People. “She really was a nice person and fun to be around… She is now another Angel up in Heaven looking over her loved ones. She leaves behind a solid group of friends who loved her and always stood next to her through her life journey. We can now hold hands and know she is in a better place. She now has peace that she is with her baby girl, Carlie.”

Even one of Susan’s friends from Narcotics Anonymous, Casie Baldwin, spoke up about the mother to the media after her unexpected death. She revealed that although Susan never talked about her private life during the confidential meetings, she always attended and offered a kind word or gesture to anyone else who needed it. “The fact she was there showed me she was trying to work through her demons,” Casie said. “She was always very sweet and kind. Never mean; she was just a sweet lady.”

Read More: Where Is Carlie Brucia’s Father Now?