Murder on my mind column–56Caylee Anthony Case

Isabel Segre, Staff Writer

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On July 15, 2008, the Orange County Sheriff’s office receives a frantic call from Cindy Anthony where she says: “I found out my granddaughter has been taken, she has been missing for a month.” Her granddaughter was two-year-old Caylee Anthony, who at the time of this call had been missing for an astonishing 31 days. But what led up to this frightening call on this fateful day?

Caylee was born on August 9, 2005, to a 19-year-old Casey Anthony. Casey was known as a party girl, and her parents, George and Cindy Anthony, hoped that the birth of her daughter would tame the wild teen. Despite her parents hopes, Casey’s lifestyle was stagnant, which led to George and Cindy being Caylee’s primary caretakers. According to CNN, on June 16 of 2008, fed up with Casey’s lack of responsibility as a mother, Cindy got into an explosive argument with her daughter, which led Casey to storm out of her parents’ home, where she lived at the time, with Caylee in tow. This was the last time anyone would see Caylee alive.

What followed was a living nightmare for George and Cindy; for the next month they attempted to contact Casey in efforts to see their granddaughter, but Casey was always equipped with an excuse. Casey claimed that her daughter was with Zenaida “Zanny” Fernandez-Gonzalez, who came to be known as “Zanny the Nanny.” A few weeks later, on July 13th, George received a letter saying that Casey’s car was in a tow yard. When he went to retrieve the car, he noticed all of Caylee’s toys were left in it, and there was an overwhelming smell coming from the trunk. In a panic, George and Cindy begin searching for their daughter, and find her at her boyfriend’s house with Caylee. After a confrontation, Casey broke down and admitted that she had left her daughter with Zanny the Nanny, and that she had kidnapped Caylee. Shortly after, Cindy placed a few calls with the Orange County Sheriff’s office to report Caylee as a missing person, in one of them stating that “I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.”

The next day, Casey is arrested for child neglect for failing to report her daughter missing for 31 days, but she sticks to her claim that Zanny the Nanny has kidnapped Caylee despite none of her friends or family knowing the nanny. The police noticed many discrepancies in her testimony, such as faking a job at Universal Studios and going as far as to walk around the park aimlessly with officers until finally admitting she was not employed there. Cadaver dogs picked up the scent of decomposing human remains in the back of Casey’s car, and forensic air tests confirmed this finding. On October 24th she was indicted on charges of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and four counts of providing false information to police. On December 11th, a meter reader working near the Anthony home found a bag containing human remains, which were later identified as belonging to Caylee. 

The trial started in the spring of 2011, and it was a media circus. Tickets to sit in court during the trial were being sold, and many passionate haters of Casey flew from across the world to riot outside the courtroom. George and Cindy notably stood by their daughter during the trial, although Casey gave testimony that her father had allegedly molested her during her childhood. On July 7th, Casey was acquitted on all charges except for providing false information to the police. This verdict was met with public outrage and protest.

Nowadays, Casey Anthony has been coined the “most hated mom in America,” and rarely leaves her South Florida home in fear of scrutiny, even over ten years after the 2008 murder of her daughter, Caylee. According to a CBS poll, over two thirds of Americans believe that Casey murdered her daughter. However, due to the lack of legal justice, Caylee’s murder is still considered unsolved.