Washington DC Injury Lawyers
A then-unknown Casey Anthony had all eyes on her after her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony went missing in 2008 in Orlando, Florida. Casey’s own mother Cindy Anthony was the first to report the disappearance of the little girl, who was last seen on June 16, 2008.
On July 15, 2008, Cindy reported her granddaughter missing in a 911 call. The grandmother explained that she had not seen Caylee for 31 days and that her daughter’s car smelled like a dead body had been in it it. During the phone call, Cindy said to the dispatcher, “There is something wrong. I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.” Cindy also noted that her daughter had changed her story several times as to the little girl’s whereabouts, eventually telling her parents she hadn’t seen Caylee for weeks.
When eventually questioned by authorities, Casey told detectives that her daughter had been kidnapped by a nanny, Zenaida “Zanny” Fernandez-Gonzalez on June 9, but that she’d been too frightened to go to the police. Eventually Zanny was found and questioned. Police determined that she’d never met Casey, Caylee or anyone in the Anthony family.
On Oct. 14, 2008, a grand jury indicted Casey on charges of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and four counts of providing false information to police. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and was later arrested.
Caylee’s skeletal remains were eventually found with a blanket inside a trash bag in a wooded area near the Anthony’s house on Dec. 11, 2008.
Many thought the case would be a slam-dunk after officials released more than 700 pages of documents related to the investigation in October 2009. The findings included records of Google searches of the terms “neck breaking” and “how to make chloroform” on the family computer, which Casey had access to.
The six-week trial, which was dubbed “The Social Media Trial of the Century” by Time magazine, began in May 2011 and ended in July 2011. During the trial, which was presided over by Judge Belvin Perry, the prosecution sought the death penalty and alleged that the young mother killed her daughter in order to rid herself of the responsibilities of being a parent. The prosecution argued that Casey gave her daughter chloroform and duct taped her mouth closed.
The cause of death was hotly disputed during the trial because the medical examiner ruled Casey’s death a homicide, but officially listed it as “death by undetermined means.”
Casey’s attorney Jose Baez claimed that Caylee had accidentally drowned accidentally in her parents’ swimming pool on June 16, 2008, and that her father George Anthony disposed of the body.
Casey’s lawyers also argued that Casey lied to police about what happened because of her dysfunctional past, which in part was caused by allegations of sexual abuse by her father, which the defense never gave evidence of. During the trial, the defense also did not give evidence supporting their argument of how Caylee died, but said that the prosecution’s evidence was “fantasy forensics.”
In a shocking turn of events, the Florida jury found Casey not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child, but guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer on July 5, 2011.
Casey was given credit for time served and was released less than two weeks later on July 17, 2011. Two of Casey’s misdemeanor convictions were overturned in a Florida appears court on Jan. 25, 2013.