aylee Marie Anthony (August 9, 2005 – c. June 16, 2008) was an American toddler who disappeared in June 2008 and was subsequently discovered dead, attracting national attention. Her mother, Casey Anthony, was indicted on October 14, 2008, and is in jail with jury selection for her trial starting on May 10, 2011. Casey, her lawyers, and her family maintain that she did not harm her child and that she is innocent of all charges.
On Friday, October 24, 2008, a forensic report by Dr. Arpad Vass of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee stated that results from an air sampling procedure (called LIBS) performed in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car showed chemical compounds "consistent with a decompositional event" based on the presence of five "key" chemical compounds out of over 400 possible chemical compounds that Dr. Vass's research group considers typical of decomposition. (Human decomposition was not specified.) Whether or not the decomposition is human is still unknown but was indicated as a possibility. The process has not been affirmed by a Daubert Test in the courts. Dr. Vass's group also stated there was the presence of chloroform in the car trunk. In evidence hearings in March and April 2011, Dr. Ken Furton, a biochemist and nuclear chemist who has done extensive research in the field of chromatoscopy of decompositional chemicals for the FBI, National Science Foundation, and Department of Defense, pointed out with examples from various studies that there is no consensus in the field on what chemicals are typical of human decomposition. Dr. Furton stated that all five of the chemical compounds cited by Dr. Vass's study were consistent with the decomposition of household trash that was in the car trunk while the car was in a tow lot (including a used pizza box, a cheese wrapper, stained paper towels, shoe cleaning solution, sodas, and other items.) The defense argued that one of the "control" samples used in the Oak Ridge Laboratory's air sampling experiment (of carpet from another car not related to the case) also showed the presence of chloroform.
DNA samples could not confirm whether the source was alive or dead. The only DNA testing by the FBI was limited to 752 base pairs out of 16,569 base pairs (less than 5% of the mitochondrial genome sequence). Traces of chloroform were also found in Casey Anthony's car trunk and evidence was found that someone had searched the Internet on her computer for the use of the chemical and how to make it. No dates of the search were given and they did not establish if the searches were done by Casey. On November 26, 2008, officials released 700 pages of documents related to the Anthony investigation, which included evidence of Google searches of the terms "neck breaking," "how to make chloroform," and "death" on Casey Anthony's home computer. No dates were given as to when the searches were done or by whom. Cynthia Anthony stated to authorities that she herself had done internet searches on chlorophyll and she wondered if that could be responsible for the term chloroform appearing in the computer. Investigators also entered into evidence a photo from the computer of an ex-boyfriend of Casey Anthony (Ricardo Morales), whom Casey and Caylee had stayed with on several occasions until June 9, 2008 (along with his two roommates), that showed a joke in which a man is using a chloroform soaked rag to drug a woman. Photos from Casey Anthony's photobucket account were released in evidence, one of which showed a friend of Casey's wearing a t-shirt that said "NeckBreakers" on it, the name of a local truck club.
Caylee Anthony was first reported missing to the Orange County Sheriff's Office (Orlando, Florida, United States) on July 15, 2008, by her grandmother, Cynthia ("Cindy") Anthony. Caylee had lived in her grandparents' home with her mother Casey Anthony until June 15, 2008. According to George Anthony, Caylee's grandfather, Casey Anthony left the family home on June 16, 2008, around 1:00 pm, taking her almost 3 year old daughter Caylee with her. Cindy Anthony asked repeatedly during the month to see Caylee but Casey had stated she was too busy, with a work assignment in Tampa, and at other times that Caylee was with a nanny at theme parks or the beach.
When questioned, Casey Anthony stated the child was with a babysitter. The purported babysitter, however, was never seen by either of Casey's parents or any of her friends, boyfriends, family, or acquaintances.
When Detective Yuri Melich began to investigate Casey Anthony, he found discrepancies in what she had told law enforcement in her signed statement. Casey also claimed she had been investigating Caylee's disappearance on her own which is why she did not contact police earlier.
On August 11, 12, and 13 of 2008, tips of a suspicious object in the trees around the corner from the Anthony's street, on Suburban Drive, were called in to police by a utility worker, and after they were reported again December 11, 2008, the remains were subsequently found on the scene. On December 12, the remains were tentatively identified as Caylee. On December 15, WFTV reported that more bones were found in the wooded area near where the skull was discovered. On December 19, 2008, medical examiner Jan Garavaglia confirmed that the remains found were those of Caylee Anthony, the death being ruled a homicide and that she had been killed by undetermined means. Casey Anthony's parents hired their own private investigators to assist in the search/case.
The case attracted a large amount of mainstream media attention, and was regularly the main topic of many talk shows, including those hosted by Greta Van Susteren, Nancy Grace, Geraldo Rivera, and others. It has been featured on Fox's America's Most Wanted, NBC's Dateline, and ABC's 20/20. Grace has given Casey Anthony the label "tot mom.
Casey Anthony's parents, Cindy and George, appeared on the Today show on October 22, 2008. They maintained their belief that Caylee was alive and would be found. Larry Garrison, president of SilverCreek Entertainment, was their spokesman until he resigned in November 2008, citing that he was leaving due to "the Anthony family's erratic behavior.
Anthony told investigators that she had left 2-year-old Caylee on June 17 with a baby sitter named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez — also known as "Zanny" — at a specific Orlando apartment complex. A woman named Zenaida Gonzalez who was on the apartment records as having visited apartments on that date was questioned by police but she said she did not know Casey or Caylee Anthony. The 38-year-old Kissimmee mother of six has since sued Anthony for defamation and for damages including punitive. It was reported that Anthony would be exercising her rights under the Fifth Amendment in response to written questions in the civil case. The civil trial is set for August 29, 2011. Casey's former fiance Jesse Grund said he had trouble believing that Casey would kill Caylee. He stated "I don't believe Casey would have hurt her on purpose.
Andrea Lyon has departed the defense team for Casey Anthony. Todd Macaluso left the case due to California stating that he cannot practice law in California due to charges he used his clients' money. Brad Conway, the attorney for Casey Anthony's parents, withdrew in mid-August 2010, citing allegations in a defense motion that he got "special treatment" in reviewing records. Conway denied the defense allegations, and stated that the allegations made him a witness in the case and forced him to withdraw.