In 2008, 3-year-old Caylee Anthony disappeared from her grandparents home in Orlando, Florida. June 16 marks the official anniversary of the little girl’s disappearance. What happened to Caylee? Why did it take so long for her mother, the infamous Casey Anthony, to report her missing? A renowned founder of a non-profit search team thinks Casey holds the answers to everything that transpired 10 years ago that left a beautiful toddler girl dead.
Timeline of Caylee’s Disappearance
George Anthony, Caylee’s grandfather, told authorities he saw his granddaughter for the last time on June 16 as she left her home in Orlando with her mother. As the days passed without seeing Caylee, George and his wife, Cindy, began questioning Casey, who continued to tell them their granddaughter was safe.
On June 30, Casey told her parents that she was taking a “mini-vacation” and would be taking the family car to Jacksonville. Two weeks later, on July 15, George and Cindy retrieved the car from a parking lot in Orlando after Casey abandoned it. They learned she never went to Jacksonville, but instead stayed with a boyfriend. George later testified that he found the car with a smell like “something that you never forget.” He also testified he found maggots in the trunk.
Cindy called 911 to report Caylee missing after picking up the car with her husband.
During the 911 call, Cindy claimed, “I found my daughter’s car today and it smelled like there’s been a dead body in the damn car,” although she later retracted the statement, according to court documents.
Local media picked up the story of the mssing and soon after, national media caught on, creating one of the most high-profile searches of the decade, as volunteers from across the nation flocked to Florida to help find Caylee. Tim Martin, found of non-profit organization Texas Equusearch, told Nancy Grace he suspected Casey played a part in her daughter’s disappearance almost immediately after meeting her.
“We were called in about two weeks after little Caylee was reported missing and I will never forget the moment I walked in the house. Casey actually walked up to me and said, ‘Thanks for being here.’ But during that conversation, she said, ‘I know she’s out there somewhere and hopefully you can bring her back,’ which caught me by surprise with as many cases as I’ve worked, it wasn’t the typical reaction that a mother has when their daughter it missing.”
“She never said the word Caylee. She never said the word home,” Miller continued. “She said, ‘My attorney is going to be here to talk to you.’ And when her attorney got there, we sat on the couch and he said, ‘I’m glad you’re here. I want you to do everything you can do to find little Caylee. But do not ask my clients any questions about her daughter.’ It’s like, oh my God! That’s the first person we want to talk to…..So we knew from the beginning this was going to be difficult. I knew beyond a shadow of any doubt that Casey had everything to do with little Caylee’s disappearance.”
Miller also said that while with the Anthony family, the tension was so strong between the family members that he felt uncomfortable. He recalled one particular incident in which George gave Casey a pencil and asked her mark spots on a map that Miller and his team should search. Instead of volunteering information, Casey threw the pencil down, went to her bedroom and slammed the door, according to Miller.
For months afterward, Miller, along with over 4,000 other searchers and volunteers, continued to look for Caylee. In December 2008, a local meter reader located the the remains of a young child close to the Anthony family’s Orlando home. Officials later confirmed that the remains were of little Caylee.
Casey insisted she was not guilty, but nonetheless arrested and charged in connection with her daughter’s death. In 2011, Casey was acquitted and walked free.
Meanwhile, as the 10th anniversary of Caylee’s disappearance nears, no one has been convicted for the little girl’s death.
*Editor’s Note: Last sentence was changed to reflect that no one has been convicted for Caylee’s death.*
[Feature Photo: Caylee Anthony/Handout]