On July 15, 2008, after repeated requests to see her granddaughter Caylee (right) had been rebuffed, Cindy Anthony called 911 to report her missing. The child's mother, Casey (left), after putting Cindy off the previous month with accounts of being too busy to meet, now acknowledged that Caylee had indeed been missing for 31 days. Precipitating Cindy's call to police was the discovery that Casey's car had been impounded by police, and its trunk reeked of decay—like a dead body. A police investigation ensued in which Casey fabricated lie after lie about Caylee's whereabouts: making up a fictitious nanny and claiming employment at a site which had discharged her years ago. In October, a grand jury indicted Casey Anthony for Caylee's murder. Finally, six months later, Caylee's body was discovered in a wooded area near the Anthony residence, but any evidence of cause of death had been lost due to the decay of the body.
When Casey went to trial in May 2011, the lack of forensic evidence proved decisive. The jury found itself unwilling to convict Casey of murder without concrete physical evidence of the cause of Caylee's death. Casey's defense attorney proposed that Caylee had drowned, and the subterfuge and lies had been part of a panicked, ill-conceived attempt to avoid prosecution. The jury was unwilling to dismiss that possibility, and acquitted Casey of all charges except lying to police after less than a day's deliberation. Related StoriesThe Murder of Caylee Anthony The Murder Trial of Casey Anthony