Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Visiting the Garden of Joy

While visiting Sarasota Baptist Church today to work on a story about their July 5 musical program, "Freedom: A Salute to American Liberty," I noticed that Central Church of Christ was just down the street at 6221 Proctor Road.

Afterward, as I headed back to our newsroom, I stopped at Central Church of Christ to visit "The Garden of Joy."

The garden is a memorial to Carlie Brucia, an 11-year-old girl who in 2004 was abducted from a public street in Sarasota and murdered. Her body was dumped behind the church. The tragedy touched a responsive chord in the public because of Carlie's sweetness and innocence and the fact that a surveillance camera captured the shocking crime.

I had never been to the garden before. What I found was a beautiful and wistful garden, a place where any child might enjoy playing. All alone in the garden, I said a little prayer for Carlie and her family. I left with a lump in my throat, still saddened by this senseless crime five years later.

Ironically, when I returned to the newsroom, there was a message on my answering machine from the "Keeping Kids Safe Project," who are planning a child safety program in Bradenton July 18-19. We'll keep you posted on that event.

If you've never been to the Garden of Joy, and you're in the neighborhood of I-75 and Bee Ridge Road some day, go south on Cattleman Road from Bee Ridge to Proctor and go east. Central Church of Christ is located just east of the I-75 overpass.


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