Authorities say the mother of an 11-year-old Florida girl who was killed after being abducted in 2004 has died of a heroin overdose.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Thursday that Susan Schorpen's death is one of eight fatal overdoses being investigated in the central Florida county. The victims were named during a press conference announcing the arrest of 17 people on charges of trafficking heroin and Fentanyl.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports the 47-year-old woman died April 10.
Schorpen's pleas for the return of her daughter, Carlie Brucia, after she was kidnapped by Joseph P. Smith from a car wash captivated the nation during a six-day search in February 2004. The girl's body was found in the woods behind a church less than three miles from where she was abducted.
Smith is attempting to have his death sentence vacated. He was convicted of first-degree murder, sexual battery, and abduction.