Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Caylee Anthony

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.

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