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The Good Social Worker
June 6, 2011 permalink
Fixcas has carried many reports of social workers mis-using public funds for personal gain. But what about the other kind of social worker? The one who does not mis-appropriate funds and even blows the whistle on those that do? Enclosed is the story of one such worker in Florida, Tracey Bagwell.
10 years later, DCF caseworker Tracey Bagwell's slaying remembered
Woman was killed outside church
It's been 10 years since a popular caseworker for the Department of Children and Families was stabbed to death inside of her car parked late at night outside a Merritt Island church.
Tracey Bagwell was only 36 when investigators said she was lured to the spot by a co-worker who had forged her signature in an elaborate scam to bilk thousands of dollars from needy foster children. Homicide agents speculated Bagwell had found out what her co-worker, 50-year-old Candice Fiore was up to, prompting Fiore to stab her more than 30 times.
Law enforcement officials who worked the case still remember it very vividly.
"As a first responder, the crime scene was very impacting," said Cmdr. Doug Waller of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. "Many of those involved in the investigation were very familiar with Tracey Bagwell and the Bagwell family who are very prominent members of the Merritt Island community. As a public servant, Bagwell was a very positive role model, always helping those in times of need."
With no immediate leads in the case, investigators found Bagwell's pager was missing from her body.
They dialed the number and a call back was traced to Fiore's home where incriminating evidence was found.
"When the page was returned, it ultimately led to a search warrant of the suspect's residence and car where significant evidence was recovered," Waller said.
Fiore, who suffered cuts on her hands during the attack, denied involvement in the crime to investigators about eight hours after the murder.
Family members found her dead the following morning after falling from the second floor balcony of her mother's condominium.
Police ruled the fall a suicide and closed the case after identifying Fiore as the murderer. But retired agent and profiler for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tom Davis said he wasn't convinced it was a suicide. He argued the killer died as a results of an accidental fall.
"This type of incident leaves behind two victim families, one the family of the murder victim and the other the family of the offender," he said.
Blood found on a pair of Fiore's tennis shoes and Bagwell's pager confirmed Fiore was the murderer, investigators concluded.
Source: Florida Today