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Sheriff: Susan Schorpen "ultimately died of a heroin overdose"

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) -- One week after Susan Schorpen died at a hospital in Winter Haven, the Polk County Sheriff's Office now says she "ultimately died of a heroin overdose."

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday while discussing the recent arrests of 17 suspects in a drug trafficking investigation. The Polk County Medical Examiner's Office is still conducting an autopsy on Schorpen, including a toxicology.

The Sheriff's Office says her family recently found items among her possessions that they were concerned about, and gave them to law enforcement. Those items have now been turned over to the medical examiner as part of the investigation.

Schorpen was the mother of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, who went missing from a car wash on Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota in 2004. Brucia's body was found in a wooded area off Proctor Road days later. 

Joseph Smith, of Sarasota, was convicted of abducting, raping, and murdering Brucia, and is now on death row.

In the years following Brucia's death, Schorpen was arrested several times for drugs and prostitution. She died April 12 at the age of 47.