Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Caylee Anthony

Missing

Caylee (right) with her mother Casey Anthony
Caylee (right) with her mother Casey
Anthony
ORLANDO, Fla. — Casey Anthony waited at least a month before reporting that her daughter Caylee, 2, was missing. And even then, it wasn’t Casey who called the Sheriff’s Office to report that the toddler had been abducted. It was Casey’s mother, Cynthia Anthony.
At 8:44 p.m. on July 15, 2008, Cindy Anthony called Orange County 911. After initially reporting that she wanted her 22-year-old daughter arrested for stealing her car, Cindy told the dispatcher, “I have a 3-year-old that’s missing for a month.” Caylee was then three weeks shy of her third birthday.
The dispatcher sounded shocked when she asked if Cindy had reported the missing baby.
“I’m trying to do that now, ma’am,” Cindy said. She explained to the dispatcher that her daughter had stolen her car and some money and had disappeared four weeks ago. “She’s been missing for a month,” Cindy said. “I found her, but I can’t find my granddaughter.”
Caylee (center) with her grandparents George and Cynthia Anthony.
Caylee (center) with her grandparents
George and Cynthia Anthony.
The dispatcher said she was sending a sheriff’s unit to the Anthony’s house on Hopespring Drive, just outside the city limits of Orlando.
An hour later, Cindy called 911 again. This time she sounded panicked. “There’s something wrong,” she told the dispatcher. “I found my daughter’s car today. It smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.” Cindy said she had not seen her granddaughter since the middle of June.
The dispatcher asked to speak to Caylee’s mother. Casey got on the line. “My daughter’s been missing for 31 days,” she said. “I know who has her. I’ve tried to contact her.” Casey told the dispatcher she got a call from Caylee earlier that day, but the call only lasted a minute before someone hung up the phone. When she tried to call the number back, Casey said, it was out of service.
Casey claimed her nanny, a woman she identified as Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, whom she said had been babysitting Caylee for nearly two years, had kidnapped the little girl.
“Why are you calling now?” the incredulous dispatcher asked. “Why didn’t you call 31 days ago?”
“I’ve been looking for her and going through other resources to try to find her, which was stupid,” Casey said.
From the beginning, something about the story didn’t sound right. A young mother waiting an entire month to report that her daughter, not quite 3 years old, had been kidnapped? Soon, though, the story would take an even more sinister turn and would capture the attention of the nation.

A Bizarre Story

After Orange County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Anthony house, Casey spun them a truly strange tale. She claimed to have last seen Caylee on June 9, sometime between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., when she dropped her off at the home of her nanny, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, who lived in Apartment 210 of the Sawgrass Apartments on South Conway Road.
Casey Anthony
Casey Anthony
Zenaida had been babysitting Caylee for nearly two years, according to Casey, and for the last few months she had been dropping Caylee off at the Sawgrass apartment. Before that, Casey had taken her daughter to Zenaida’s mother’s condominium near Michigan Avenue and South Conway Road; and prior to that, to another apartment Zenaida had lived in on North Hillside Drive.
Casey told the detectives she had met Zenaida through a friend named Jeff Hopkins, who used to work with her at Universal Studios. Zenaida used to watch Hopkins’ son, Zachary. In fact, when Zenaida had first started babysitting Caylee, Casey used to drop her off at Jeff Hopkins’ apartment, where Zenaida was also caring for Jeff’s son.
On June 9, after dropping Caylee off with her nanny, Casey went to her office at Universal Studios, where she worked as an event planner. When she returned to Zenaida’s apartment around 5:00 p.m. no one was home. She said she called Zenaida’s cell phone, but the number was out of service.
After waiting around for two hours, Casey went to her new boyfriend’s apartment, which she described as “one of the few places I felt at home.” She lived there for the next month, she said, and spent that time looking for her daughter and avoiding her parents. She said she did not tell her boyfriend that her daughter was missing.

Suspicious Statement

Late on the night of July 15, five weeks after the alleged kidnapping, Casey Anthony finally gave investigators a written statement describing the events surrounding her daughter’s disappearance.
Caylee Anthony
Caylee Anthony
In her statement, Casey said that on June 12 — three days after Caylee disappeared — the primary suspect, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, called her, yet in her written statement to police Casey didn’t provide any details. “I received a quick call from Zenaida,” was all she wrote about that conversation.
Also in her statement, Casey admitted to police that she had been lying to her friends and family and stealing from some of them for the last four weeks — in an effort, she claimed, to find Caylee. Casey explained that she had spent the last month cruising malls and parks, “any place I could remember Zenaida taking Caylee.” Casey also said she went to popular bars and restaurants “and tried to find any information about Caylee or Zenaida.”
When asked if she had told anyone about her daughter’s abduction, Casey said she had told two former co-workers at Universal Studios, Jeff Hopkins and Juliette Lewis, both of whom had worked in the event planning department with her. She said she had talked to Jeff several times on the phone in the last few weeks to try to learn more about Zenaida.
Missing poster
Missing poster
That very day, she said, she had gotten a phone call from Caylee. The call had been short and had come from a blocked number.
Casey’s story seemed implausible, but not impossible. Perhaps in a state of desperation and panic, she had tried to find her daughter herself. Perhaps, as she said, she was afraid something even more terrible would happen to Caylee if Zenaida found out Casey had called the police or the media.
Soon, however, detectives would learn that everything Casey had told them was a lie — everything.

Unraveled

Movie poster: The Usual Suspects
Movie poster: The Usual Suspects
In the 1995 film The Usual Suspects, actor Kevin Spacey’s character, Verbal Kint, under interrogation by police, spins an elaborate tale about a shadowy Turkish criminal mastermind and murderer named Keyser Soze, whom few have ever seen and whose very existence is doubted by many. At the end of the film, the investigators discover that Kint’s story was largely a highly-detailed fabrication, made up almost entirely, and seemingly on the spot, from cues he spotted around the office in which he had been questioned.
Casey Anthony’s story about Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez turned out to be every bit as convoluted — and every bit as contrived — as Verbal Kint’s tale about Keyser Soze.
Sometime after midnight on July 16, Detective Yuri Melich asked Casey for Zenaida’s telephone number, the woman who had been taking care of Casey’s daughter for nearly two years. Casey said she didn’t have the number. Melich asked for the phone numbers for Jeff Hopkins and Juliette Lewis, the two former co-workers from Universal with whom Casey had discussed her daughter’s kidnapping. Casey said she didn’t have those numbers either.
According to Casey, she had lost one of her two cell phones nine days earlier. The phone she lost held numbers the detective was looking for. Neither Jeff nor Juliette lived in Orlando any longer, Casey said. Jeff was upstate in Jacksonville, and Juliette had moved to New York.

The Universal Connection

Early on the morning of July 16, Orange County Sheriff’s Detective Yuri Melich drove Casey to the three residences where she said she had dropped Caylee off to Zenaida — the Sawgrass apartment, the apartment on North Hillside, and the condo complex near Michigan and South Conway. The detective couldn’t find anyone who knew Zenaida, nor was there any record of her having ever lived at any of the locations.
The manager at the Sawgrass Apartments said apartment No. 210 — the apartment where Casey claimed she had been dropping Caylee off for the last three or four months — had been vacant since February.
Logo: Universal Studios
Logo: Universal Studios
Detective Melich dropped Casey off at her parents’ house and then went to Universal Studios.
There, Melich discovered that Casey had been fired in April 2006. Jeffrey Hopkins had also worked there, but he left in 2002, and no one named Juliette Lewis had ever worked at Universal. Casey had also claimed that Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez had been a seasonal employee, but the company could find no record of any past or present employee by that name.
Melich called Casey from Universal and put her on speakerphone so company representatives could hear what she said. The detective again asked about her employment at Universal. Casey said she had her own office, but she couldn’t remember the building number or describe the exact location. She gave Melich her office telephone number, including her extension, but the company representatives said the extension wasn’t valid. Casey claimed her supervisor was named Tom Manley, but there was no Tom Manley at Universal. When Melich asked if she had a company ID, Casey said she had lost it.
Melich had a pair of deputies drive Casey to Universal Studios. When Casey arrived, the park’s security personnel wouldn’t let her on the property because she didn’t have an employee ID and no one there knew her. Melich had to escort her through the security checkpoint.
Once on the property, Melich asked Casey to take him to her office. Casey led Melich and the other deputies into a building and down a hallway. According to Melich’s report, “She walked with purpose and acted like she knew where she was going.”
Acted was the key word. Casey Anthony’s performance was exactly that — an act. Halfway down the hall, she stopped, turned to Melich and admitted to him that she did not work at Universal Studios. She had been lying, she said.
Just how much Casey Anthony had been lying and exactly what she had been lying about was what Detective Melich had to find out.

Lies

Map of Florida with Orlando locator
Map of Florida with Orlando locator
ORLANDO, Fla. — On July 15, 2008, 22-year-old Casey Anthony reluctantly reported to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that her daughter Caylee, just three weeks from her third birthday, had been missing for more than a month.
When sheriff’s detectives questioned her about Caylee’s disappearance, Casey spun a fantastic tale. She claimed she had dropped her daughter off with her long-time babysitter, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, at Zenaida’s apartment on South Conway Road on June 9. Casey said she then went to her office at Universal Studios, where she worked as an event planner. That evening when she returned to the babysitter’s apartment, Zenaida and Caylee were gone. Casey even told detectives that she received a short telephone call from Zenaida three days later, but Zenaida wouldn’t tell Casey where her baby was. Casey also claimed to have gotten a call from Caylee herself earlier that day, July 15, but Caylee did not give any clue as to her whereabouts or what had happened to her.
What Detective Yuri Melich discovered, though, was that no one named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez had ever lived at the apartment complex on South Conway. In fact, the apartment Casey claimed was Zenaida’s, where she said she had dropped her daughter off for months, had been vacant and under renovation since February. Melich also found out that Casey didn’t work at Universal Studios. She had at one time, but she’d been fired more than two years before.
And as for the two Universal Studios co-workers, the only two people Casey said she had told about her daughter’s abduction, she couldn’t tell Melich how to contact them. According to Universal executives, one had left the company in 2002, and the other had never worked there.
Nearly everything Casey Anthony had told the investigators had been a lie.

“Coming Clean”

Casey Anthony was certainly not acting like someone who was trying to help the police find her daughter. In fact, her lies were leading detectives astray, forcing them to spend hours chasing down false leads. After wandering around Universal Studios, looking for her office, Casey finally admitted to Detective Melich that she had no office. She didn’t even work at Universal.
Casey Anthony
Casey Anthony
Melich borrowed a conference room, and he and two other Orange County detectives sat down with Casey Anthony for a second interview. If Melich was hoping that Casey was now finally going to tell him the truth, he was disappointed again. Even when confronted with her ridiculous lies, Casey refused to give in. She maintained that she had dropped Caylee off with Zenaida on June 9, even though Melich told her he had spoken with the manager and no one named Zenaida lived in the complex, even though he told her that apartment 210 had been empty for several months.
Casey admitted that not all of what she had told the detectives was true, but she was adamant that not everything had been a lie. Some of it was true, she said. She claimed she was doing everything she could to help them find Caylee. “I’m scared,” she said. “I don’t know where my daughter is. The last person that I saw her with is Zenaida.”
The detectives demanded to know why Casey had led them to Universal Studios, a place she hadn’t worked in more than two years. How was that supposed to help them find her daughter?
“Honestly, I wanted to come and try to talk to security,” Casey said. “Maybe pass around a picture of Caylee.”
As the interview dragged on, a frustrated detective asked Casey, “I want you to tell me how lying to us is going to help us find your daughter.”
“It’s not going to,” Casey finally admitted.

Getting Nowhere

The three detectives who sat down with Casey Anthony in the conference room at Universal Studios on the afternoon of July 16 had more than 30 years combined experience in criminal investigation. They were experienced interviewers, but no appeal they made seemed to get through to the 22-year-old mother. She continued to tell lie after lie, seemingly unconcerned that her daughter’s life might hang in the balance.
Caylee Anthony
Caylee Anthony
“If the main thing you want to do is find your daughter,” one detective demanded, “and you don’t think lying to us is gonna help us find her, why would you do that?”
“Because I’m scared,” Casey said. “I know I’m running out of options. It’s been a month.”
“What are you scared of,” another detective asked.
“I’m scared of not seeing my daughter ever again.”
“I want you to tell me how lying to us is going to solve that problem and help find your daughter quicker?”
“It’s not,” Casey said.
“Then why would you do that?”
“See, I don’t know,” Casey said. “I’m telling you that I just dropped her off and that was the last time I seen her.”
The exchange was incredible. Casey telling three veteran detectives that she wanted to find her daughter, admitting that lying to them was going to hinder their efforts to do just that, and then in the next breath continuing to lie, steadfastly maintaining that she last saw her daughter when she dropped her off with what detectives knew was a nonexistent nanny.
The harder the detectives pressed Casey for the truth, the more she repeated her inoperative nanny story. Asked again why she had led them to Universal, she said she knew it was a place Caylee liked to go. “I’m coming back to places that are familiar to me, that I know are familiar to her,” Casey said.
“How old is she?” one detective asked.
“She’s almost three.”
“What do you think, she’s gonna take a cab here?” the detective said.
By the end of the interview, the detectives had gotten nowhere.

The Nanny and the Boyfriend

Following his second interview with Casey Anthony, Orange County Sheriff’s Detective Yuri Melich wrote in his report: “It should be noted that at no time … did (Casey Anthony) show any obvious emotion as to the loss of her child. She did not cry or give any indication that she was legitimately worried about her child’s safety. She remained stoic and monotone during a majority of our contacts.”
Sawgrass Apartments
Sawgrass Apartments
A couple of hours later, detectives tracked down the real Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez. On June 17, she had visited the Sawgrass Apartments, looking for an apartment for her and her two daughters. She filled out a guest card, but ended up not renting at Sawgrass. After looking at photos of Casey and Caylee, Fernandez-Gonzalez told the detectives she had never seen either of them. She also said she had never worked as a nanny or babysitter.
Investigators speculated that since Casey had a friend who lived in the Sawgrass apartment complex, she may have seen the guest card and recalled Zenaida’s name when she had to come up with someone to finger as a suspect.
Detectives also talked to Casey’s current boyfriend, Anthony Lazzaro.
Lazzaro said he had met Casey in May and the two had been dating since early June. She had been staying at his apartment since June 10. He first learned that Caylee was missing when Orange County deputies knocked on his door in the early morning hours of July 16. Lazzaro said he last saw Caylee on June 2, when Casey brought her over to play in the pool. During the five weeks Casey had been living with him, she never mentioned that her daughter was missing, Lazzaro said. Whenever he asked about Caylee, Casey said she was with her nanny.

The Arrest

In addition to Casey’s boyfriend, investigators with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office talked to several of Casey’s friends. The investigators were particularly interested in Casey’s activities between June 9 and July 15, when she claimed to have been desperately trying to find her daughter.
Amy Huizenga, a close friend of Casey’s, said Casey picked her up at the airport at 2:30 p.m. on July 15 and gave her a ride home. That was just two and a half hours after Casey claimed to have received a brief telephone call from her missing daughter. Huizenga said Casey didn’t mention anything about Caylee having been kidnapped or that she was even missing.
Caylee Anthony
Caylee Anthony
Jesse Grund, a former police officer who was once engaged to Casey, described his ex-fiancĂ©e as a “habitual liar.” On June 24, when Grund lost his job with the Orlando Police Department, he called Casey to tell her about it. She tried to cheer him up and told him she was free the following weekend if he wanted to get together and do something. During their conversation, Grund said, he thought he heard Caylee acting up in the background, and he heard Casey yell at her to get off of a table.
On Friday, June 27, Casey called Grund and asked him if he wanted to go with her to Fusion, a popular nightclub. She was still trying to cheer him up after the loss of his job with the Police Department. Grund told detectives he asked who was watching Caylee, since he knew Casey had had a falling out with her mother. Casey told him Caylee was at the beach with her nanny.
The date of that call is significant. It was three days after Grund’s career with the Orlando Police Department ended, a date he was likely to remember, and 18 days after Casey said her daughter had been kidnapped. Yet, instead of asking her ex-fiancĂ©, with whom she remained close, and who was a former police officer, for help finding her daughter, she asked him to go clubbing.
At 4:30 p.m. on July 16, detectives arrested Casey Anthony for child neglect, filing false official statements, and obstructing a criminal investigation. Without a body, they were hesitant to charge her with murder.
Detective Yuri Melich, the lead investigator, ended his first report with this:
“As of this writing, this agency has fielded and followed up on hundreds of tips. None of these tips have helped corroborate any of [Casey Anthony's] claims. None of [Casey Anthony's] statements regarding Caylee’s disappearance have been confirmed whatsoever. To date, almost all of her statements regarding this have been proven false. Caylee Anthony remains missing.”

Detectives Fear the Worst

ORLANDO, Fla. — On July 16, 2008, the day after Casey Anthony reported that her daughter, Caylee — just three weeks from her third birthday — had been kidnapped, Orange County sheriff’s detectives arrested Casey for child neglect, making false statements to law enforcement officers and obstructing a criminal investigation.
Casey claimed she last saw her daughter on June 9 — she was certain about the date — when she allegedly dropped Caylee off at her nanny’s apartment before going to her office at Universal Studios, where, she said, she worked as an event planner. When she returned to the apartment around 5:00 p.m., neither her daughter nor the nanny were there. For the next five weeks, Casey claimed, she conducted her own investigation into Caylee’s disappearance.
Entrance, Universal Studios
Entrance, Universal Studios
As Detective Yuri Melich discovered upon the most cursory examination, though, Casey’s story was a complete fabrication.
Casey didn’t work at Universal Studios. The company had fired her more than two years before. The two co-workers she claimed to have told about her daughter’s disappearance didn’t work there either. One had left Universal in 2002 and the other had never worked there.
Even more ominously, the apartment on South Conway Road where Casey said she’d been dropping her daughter off for months proved to be empty and to have been under renovation since February. And as for the nanny, whose name Casey said was Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez and who Casey claimed had been watching Caylee for nearly two years, she proved to have only the slimmest of connections to the Anthonys.
Detective Melich did find a woman by that name who had once stopped at the South Conway address to look at an apartment for her and her two daughters, but she said she had never met Casey or Caylee and had never worked as a nanny. When Melich showed Casey a picture of the woman, Casey said she didn’t recognize her.
Having unraveled all of Casey’s lies, the detectives feared the worst. They feared that little Caylee Anthony was dead.

Jailhouse Phone Call

A little past 11:00 p.m. on the day she was arrested, Casey called her parents’ house from jail. The call was recorded. She was angry that her mother had been talking to reporters—Casey had seen the news broadcasts on television while sitting in jail. Casey’s mom, Cindy Anthony, told Casey that she wouldn’t be in jail if she hadn’t lied to the detectives, and she begged her daughter to tell them where Caylee was.
Caylee Anthony
Caylee Anthony
“I have no clue where Caylee is,” Casey said. “If I knew where Caylee was, do you think any of this would be happening? No.”
Casey asked everyone who got on the phone with her during that call to give her the telephone number of Tony Lazzaro, her new boyfriend. She seemed much more interested in getting in touch with Tony than in finding out how the search for her missing daughter was going. Lazzaro later confirmed for detectives that Casey had been staying with him since June 10, but he said she never mentioned that her daughter was missing.
When Casey’s friend, Kristina Chester, got on the line, Casey was quick to criticize the investigators. “They only way they’re going to find Caylee is if they actually listen to what I’m saying. I’m trying to help them, and they’re not letting me help them.”
Even in the face of insurmountable evidence that her story about Caylee’s disappearance was one colossal lie, Casey refused to give in, maintaining that her mysterious nanny had kidnapped her daughter on June 9. “She was the last person to have her,” Casey told her friend during the phone call from jail. “That was the last time I saw Caylee.”
But Casey had the date wrong. Someone had seen Caylee almost a week after she “disappeared” on June 9.

Father’s Day

In both her handwritten statement and throughout hours of recorded interviews with sheriff’s detectives, Casey Anthony had adamantly maintained that she had last seen her daughter Caylee on June 9 when she had dropped her off at her nanny’s apartment. She even claimed she had received a telephone call from the nanny three days later, on June 12, but the nanny would not tell her where her daughter was.
What the detectives discovered, though, was that Caylee had not disappeared on June 9. In fact, she had been safe and happy on Father’s Day, June 15, when her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, took her to Mount Dora, an Orlando nursing home, to visit her great-grandfather Alex Plesea, Cindy’s father.
Caylee Anthony, video still June 15
Caylee Anthony, video still June 15
During the visit, someone shot a video of Caylee sitting at a table, trying to read out loud from a children’s book. The video shows a cute, playful little girl in a blue dress, with her brown hair pulled into a ponytail. Next to the book sits a pink sippy cup. The images may well be the last ever taken of Caylee Anthony.
After leaving the nursing home, Cindy and Caylee also went to visit Cindy’s mother, Shirley Plesea. They had dinner with her at her house. Later that night, Cindy and Caylee returned to the Anthony home on Hopespring Drive. According to Casey’s parents, Casey and Caylee spent the night there.
The next afternoon, at 12:50 p.m., Casey’s father, George, saw Casey and Caylee leave for the day. He recalled Caylee wearing a denim skirt and a pink top, with white tennis shoes. She was carrying a little backpack with images of monkeys on it. She had on a pair of white-rimmed sunglasses and her hair was pulled into a ponytail. George told detectives he was sure of the time because he was watching one of his favorite programs on the Food Network.
“That was the last time I saw my granddaughter,” Mr. Anthony said.

More Sightings

The Anthonys weren’t the only ones who saw Caylee after June 9, the day her mother, Casey, swore her nearly 3-year-old daughter had disappeared.
Valencia College sign
Valencia College sign
Ricardo Morales, who had dated Casey from February to April 2008, told detectives that Casey and Caylee had spent the night of June 9 at his apartment; he and Casey had sex that night. The last time Morales saw Caylee was the morning of June 10 when he was leaving for work. Casey and Caylee were on his couch. His story was corroborated by Amy Huizenga, a friend of Casey’s who later moved in with Morales.
Morales said the entire time he and Casey dated she told him she worked as an event planner at Universal Studios and that she was a student at Valencia Community College, where she was pursuing a degree in event planning. In fact, not only did Casey not work at Universal at that time, officials at Valencia told detectives she had never been a student there.

Strange Behavior

For a woman whose daughter had disappeared and was still missing, Casey Anthony’s behavior following the alleged June 9 abduction of Caylee struck detectives as strange.
Fusion logo
Fusion logo
On the night of June 20, Casey was photographed partying at Fusion, the popular nightspot where her latest boyfriend, Tony Lazzaro, worked as a DJ. In the photos, Casey is seen smiling, apparently having a good time, not what detectives expected from a young mother whose baby had been missing for nearly two weeks.
Then on the night of June 27, Casey’s white Pontiac Sunfire ran out of gas, and she abandoned it in a parking lot on Colonial Drive. Three days later, the tow truck driver who hauled the car away said that when he had opened the Pontiac’s door he had smelled a foul odor inside the car. It was the same odor, he said, he had smelled when he had towed a car in which a man’s body had sat decomposing for a few days after he committed suicide.
Casey never made any effort to pick up her car.
Detectives found out that on July 2 Casey had gone to Cast Iron Tattoos and had the words “Bella Vita,” — Italian for “beautiful life” — tattooed on her left shoulder blade. On July 15, Casey returned to the tattoo shop and made an appointment to get another tattoo on July 19. Again, not exactly the behavior the detectives expected from the mother of a missing child.
Tony Lazzaro had gone back home to New York for a visit from June 30 to July 5. Casey had spent most of that time with her friend Amy Huizenga. She never mentioned that her daughter was missing.

A Charge of Murder

On July 17, two days after Casey reported Caylee missing, a police cadaver dog alerted to the odor of a decomposing human body coming from the trunk of Casey’s Pontiac. Investigators also found human hair in the trunk, similar, they said, to Caylee’s hair. And they found what they described as a “questionable” stain, meaning it was possibly caused by blood or other human bodily fluids.
At a bond hearing on July 22 for the obstruction charges against Casey, sheriff’s detectives said they were treating Caylee’s disappearance as a homicide investigation, and they named Casey as a “person of interest.”
Judge Stan Strickland
Judge Stan Strickland
Judge Stan Strickland, noting Casey’s lack of cooperation with investigators, set her bond at half a million dollars. “She hasn’t been any help in this investigation,” the judge said. “Not a bit of useful information has been provided by Ms. Anthony as to the whereabouts of her daughter, and I would point out that the truth and Ms. Anthony are strangers.”
Over the next several weeks, a host of shady characters injected themselves into the tragedy of Caylee Anthony’s disappearance, most with questionable, some with clearly selfish, motives.
During that time, Casey bounced in and out of jail. A bondsman from Clearwater, Fla., posted her bond and got her out. Then she was arrested for stealing checks from a friend and cashing them using a fake ID, incidents that occurred after Caylee disappeared but before Casey was first arrested. Her half-million dollar bond was revoked. Then someone posted it again. Not long after that, police arrested Casey for more check-related theft charges. On September 16, Casey got out of jail for the third time.
Meanwhile, detectives continued to search for Caylee, although they announced there was a “strong probability” that the little girl, whose third birthday was August 9, was dead.
Casey Anthony's Car
Casey Anthony’s Car
Lab results showed air samples taken from the trunk of Casey’s car indicated it had once held a decomposing human body.
Preliminary FBI lab reports also showed the presence of chloroform in the trunk, a chemical compound that can be used to render a person unconscious. Investigators discovered that someone using a computer in Casey Anthony’s home had searched Web sites for information on how to make chloroform three months before Caylee was last seen.
On October 14, 2008, a Florida grand jury indicted Casey Anthony for first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, aggravated child abuse, and four counts of lying to investigators.
Caylee Anthony has not been found, and her mother, Casey Anthony, remains in jail.

Sheriffs Office: “We Got Her”

Caylee Anthony
Caylee Anthony
December 11, 2008: Body discovered in Orlando may be Caylee Anthony
ORLANDO, Fla. — A utility worker discovered a body this morning that the Sheriff’s Office thinks may be that of Caylee Anthony, 2, who disappeared in June.
Tim Miller, president of Texas EquuSearch, said today that an Orange County sheriff’s deputy told him, “We got her,” meaning they had found Caylee Anthony.
Miller has led and coordinated extensive searches for Caylee since last summer.
Sheriff’s officials will only confirm that the skeletal remains of a little girl was found this morning near South Chickasaw Trail and Suburban Drive, approximately one-quarter mile from the Anthony home on Hopespring Drive.
The remains were found in a black plastic trash bag. Earlier in the investigation, sheriff’s detectives found a black plastic trash bag in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s white Pontiac.
It was also in that trunk that forensic investigators took air samples that indicated the trunk had held a decomposing human body. Investigators also found traces of the knockout drug chloroform in the trunk.
Caylee Anthony was last seen in June, two months before her third birthday. Her mother, Casey Anthony, waited more than a month to report her missing and then spun a fantastic tale about her daughter being kidnapped by her nanny. Detectives quickly proved that Casey Anthony’s story was almost completed fabricated.
A grand jury has since indicted Casey Anthony for first-degree murder.
Casey’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony have maintained that their daughter had nothing to do with Caylee’s disappearance.

DNA Results are in

Caylee Anthony
Caylee Anthony
ORLANDO, Fla. — Authorities involved in the investigation into the disappearance of Caylee Anthony confirmed Friday that the skeletal remains found last week are those of the missing 2-year-old.
On Dec. 11, a utility meter reader stumbled across a plastic trash bag that contained a small human skull with duct tape wrapped around it and hair still attached. Investigators, including FBI forensic specialists, spent the next eight days working the scene of the discovery, which was less than one-quarter mile from the Anthony home, where Caylee and her mother, Casey, lived with Casey’s parents.
Caylee, was last seen alive on June 16, but her mother did not report her missing until a month later, and even then she continuously lied to investigators about everything from the date she last saw Caylee to where she dropped her off.
In October, a grand jury indicted Casey Anthony, 22, for first-degree murder even though Caylee’s body had not been found.
In recent days, a controversy erupted over the grisly discovery when the Sheriff’s Office revealed that the utility worker had twice called in tips about the location where the remains were found. The first tip was in August. Investigators are questioning the worker again but have been clear that he is not a suspect.

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