Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Caylee Anthony

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 Her half-million dollar bond was revoked.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.

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