McIntosh Middle School rededicates Carlie Brucia Butterfly Garden

ABC7 News at 11pm
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 11:21 PM EDT

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Students from Suncoast Technical College restored the Butterfly Memorial Garden for the late Carlie Brucia.

“It really was the right thing to do, we see the butterflies flying and that was the whole reason we did what we did and we’re so proud of it,” said Rob Wolf, a plumbing instructor for Suncoast Technical College.

Carlie was an 11-year-old girl who was kidnapped back in 2004 while walking near a car wash on Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota. Carlie was raped and brutally murdered. Joseph Smith had been convicted of her murder. He had died in prison last year. One of Carlie’s teachers at McIntosh Middle School remembering her.

“She was just a goofy little 6th grade girl who wanted to wear a sun visor in the gym,” said Schelly Shaughnessy, a 6th grade teacher at McIntosh Middle School. She said she could wear it outside, just funny little things I remember about her.”

From all the plants and flowers to all the incredible landscaping, many say this is a beautiful way to remember a life cut way too short.

Carlie Brucia’s dad Joseph flew in from New York to be on hand for this special day.

“It means a lot, it means everything,” said Joseph Brucia. “Carlie’s a beautiful girl and she needs to have this legacy with this beautiful garden which it currently is.”

The group of students led by their instructor took this on as a special project, using a lot of their time and money to help revitalize the memorial, bringing it back to life. It was a way for them to help keep Carlie Brucia’s memory alive.

“I’m glad we got to revamp it, it didn’t look too good in the beginning,” said Josh Anatra, a student at Suncoast Technical College. “I really like how the seats came out, planting all the plants, mulching and I just mowed the lawn, it’s beautiful.”

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