Casey Anthony Wiki: Understanding the Mystery Around Her Daughter Caylee’s Death

This Casey Anthony wiki looks at the seemingly unremarkable life of the “Tot Mom,” and her complex family relationships. It also attempts to answer why the Casey Anthony trial, one that rivaled the O.J. Simpson case, captured the morbid fascination of America. So…what darkness lies beneath the still unexplained death of an innocent toddler? You’ll be surprised at the extent of this story of mystery, lies, shocking behavior, potential molestation, and, ultimately, death. 

Anthony became one of America’s most hated mothers when her two-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony was reported missing—31 days after last being seen.

After months of searching, Caylee’s skeletal remains were found in a wooded area near her house. Casey Anthony was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and four counts of providing false information to police.

After a two-month trial, Casey was found not guilty. The verdict shocked the nation.

Who Is Casey Anthony?

Casey Marie Anthony was born March 19, 1986 in Warren, Ohio, a small city 60 miles southeast of Cleveland. She also has a brother, Lee.

Her father, George Anthony, worked as a homicide cop and her mother, Cindy Anthony, was a registered nurse.

Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony; Photo:

From the outside, it appeared as though Casey led a typical childhood. She was bright, outgoing, personable, loved photography, and had lots of friends. In school, Casey played volleyball and soccer and was on the track team. Her favorite subjects were math and physical education; she struggled, like many, with science. Casey won an award for “best helper” in school, and another for exemplary citizenship.

For reasons unknown, things started to change in high school. It was then that Casey began a long, tenacious pattern of lying.

Proud parents George and Cindy attended Casey’s high school graduation, along with Casey’s grandparents. The only problem: Casey hadn’t actually graduated from high school—she was several credits shorts.

It later emerged that Casey had stopped attending classes.

Nonetheless, she told her family she would be walking across the stage, and receiving her diploma along with everyone else.

Casey Anthony Lies about Pregnancy

In 2005, when Casey was 19, she perpetrated another lie. She put on weight, and her parents suspected she was pregnant, but Casey denied it. She said she was still a virgin. But a few months later, the lie became truth when she admitted she was pregnant.

On August 9, 2005, Casey gave birth to a baby girl.

She wanted to give her daughter a name with a similar meaning as hers, and wanted to honor her Irish lineage. She considered Riley, but passed on that because she wanted to have the initials CMA; she had them, her mother had them, and she wanted her daughter to as well. So it was that the baby girl was named Caylee Marie Anthony.

Caylee & Casey Anthony

Caylee & Casey Anthony; Photo:

It is alleged that Casey Anthony considered putting Caylee up for adoption, but was discouraged to do so by her mother Cindy. For the next number of years, Casey and Caylee lived with her parents. Her fiancé, Jesse Grund, acted as Caylee’s father.

Despite the pattern of lying, when looking more broadly at Casey Anthony’s background, there is no history of violence, aggression, or behavior that would predict the disappearance of Caylee Anthony.

In fact, many thought Casey Anthony was a devoted mother. She carried an extra car key around in case Caylee somehow got locked in the car, and cooked healthy food and vegetables for her. She didn’t smoke, and didn’t like friends smoking around Caylee either.

Also see: Zachary Bernhardt: Missing Child’s Mother at the Center of Speculation

Who Is Caylee Anthony’s Father?

No father was listed on Caylee’s birth certificate. Casey offered up a number of possible men who could be the father, including Grund, along with one man she dated who died in a car crash.

But Caylee’s biological father was never confirmed.

There remains a fascination about who Caylee Anthony’s biological father is. The answer may never be known, but a few names have come forward as the possible father.

Jesus Ortiz

Cindy Anthony told the media that Caylee’s father was in a car accident and died. The one person who fits that description is Jesus Ortiz. The two went to high school together, and dated casually before he died in 2007. It is alleged that Casey told friends that Ortiz was the father of her child.

Josh, the One-Night Stand

Melina Calabrese, a friend of Casey’s, testified that Casey told her she got pregnant after a one-night stand with a man named Josh, who, like Casey, worked at Universal Studios. This plot has a number of holes. For one, Casey lied to police about working at Universal Studios.

Erik Baker

At trial, Cindy Baker said that Eric Baker, who either hailed from Kentucky or North Carolina, was Caylee’s father. Eric Baker’s mother said that she never heard of Casey before his name came up at trial. She noted that her son was a teenager when Casey became pregnant. Eric Baker, like Jesus Ortiz, also died in a 2007 car accident.

Jesse Grund

Jesse Grund & Casey Anthony

Jesse Grund & Casey Anthony; Photo:

Grund was Casey’s fiancé during much of her pregnancy, and throughout much of Caylee’s life. Casey told Jesse that Caylee was his, but the math didn’t add up. A subsequent DNA test proved that he was not the father.

Michael Duggan

Michael Duggan is another person who could have fathered Caylee Anthony. Improbably, he too died in a car accident in 2007. His mother came forward during the trial to say that before Michael died, he told her he had a daughter with Casey Anthony.

No one responded to her allegations. But she did tell one news source that she is “100 percent certain” Caylee is her granddaughter. And she’s willing to take a lie-detector and DNA test to prove it.

Caylee Anthony’s Disappearance

Casey and Caylee were living with her parents, Cindy and George, until mid-June 2008. At that time, Cindy criticized Casey’s parenting. They had a huge argument, and Casey left with Caylee.

Over the following weeks, Cindy called Casey multiple times to inquire about her granddaughter. Each time, Casey reassured her that all was fine; she said Caylee was with her babysitter, Zenaida “Zanny” Fernandez-Gonzalez.

Caylee Anthony

Caylee Anthony; Photo:

Fast forward to July 13, 2008. Cindy and George received a letter saying Casey’s car was impounded. On July 15, George picked up the car. He noticed Casey’s purse and shoes, along with Caylee’s car seat and toys. He also noticed a strong smell, like something was decomposing in the trunk.

Concerned, Cindy tracked Casey down at her new boyfriend’s place and brought her home, demanding answers.

Casey broke down and told her mother and brother Lee that she had left Caylee with their nanny in Orland on June 16, 31 days earlier. She claimed that Gonzalez kidnapped the two-year-old.

Cindy called 911 three times that night.

In the second 911 call, Cindy told the operator that Caylee had been missing for a month.

She also said, “There is something wrong. I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.”

When asked by the dispatcher why she didn’t report Caylee missing earlier, Casey said, “I’ve been looking for her and just gone through other resources to find her, which was stupid.”

Casey Anthony Says She Spoke to Caylee on the Phone

When sheriff’s deputies questioned Casey Anthony on July 16, she fed them a number of big lies. She said she worked at Universal Studios, that a nanny looked after Caylee, and that the nanny, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, had kidnapped the toddler.

According to her statement to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Casey Anthony tried in vain to locate the nanny and Caylee, searching all of their favorite haunts, but to no avail.

Then miraculously, on Tuesday, July 15, just hours before Cindy confronted her about Caylee’s whereabouts, Casey Anthony claims to have spoken to Caylee.

“Today was the first day I have heard her voice in over 4 weeks. I’m afraid of what Caylee is going through. After 31 days, I know that the only thing that matters is getting my daughter back. With many and all attempts to contact Zenaida, and within the one short conversation on June 12, 2008, I was never able to check on the status or well-being of my daughter. Zenaida never made an attempt to explain why Caylee is no longer in Orlando, or if she is ever going to bring her home.”

Caylee Anthony

Caylee Anthony; Photo:

Once investigators unearthed all of Casey’s lies (there never even was a nanny!), she was arrested and charged with child neglect, making false statements to officials, and obstructing an investigation.

Casey Anthony was denied bail and, in August, was officially charged with one felony count of child neglect.

In October, she was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and four counts of providing false information to police.

At that point, Caylee had still not been found.

Casey Anthony’s Party Ways under Scrutiny

Official police and private search parties spent weeks looking for Caylee.

Meanwhile, Casey Anthony’s actions during the time her daughter was missing came under increased scrutiny. In the days and weeks following Caylee’s June 16, 2008 disappearance, pictures emerged of Casey smiling, partying it up, entering a “hot body” competition, making out, having her butt grabbed by a female friend, going on bar crawls, and getting a tattoo that reads “Bella Vita, or “beautiful life” in Italian.

Her friends, acquaintances, and boyfriend, Tony Lazzaro, said that Casey Anthony’s demeanor never changed from the time they saw her with Caylee in early June to the period in which they later learned Caylee was missing.

Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony; Photo:

When asked where Caylee was, Casey had lots of excuses, but mainly, she said Caylee was with their nanny, a woman she paid $400 per week. The nanny was taking Caylee to Universal Studios or to Cocoa Beach for a friend’s birthday party, the young mother said.

Caylee Anthony Found at Last

On December 11, 2008, Roy Kronk, a meter reader, found a black plastic bag containing human remains in a wooded area near the Anthony residence. The skull had duct tape wrapped around it.

That same day, police obtained search warrants and descended on the cute bungalow located at 4937 Hopespring Drive in Orlando, Florida.

On December 19, the skeletal remains were identified as those belonging to Caylee Anthony.

The Trial of Casey Anthony

In June 2011, three years after Caylee Anthony disappeared, Casey Anthony’s trial began. The prosecution and defense both said Caylee disappeared on June 16, 2008; but their theories on what happened to her differ spectacularly.

Prosecutors alleged that Casey Anthony used chloroform on Caylee, and suffocated her by putting duct tape over her mouth and nose. She was then alleged to have put Caylee’s body in the trunk of her car before dumping it in the nearby woods. When Caylee’s body was found, bugs and vegetation had colonized the remains, suggesting she was dumped there six months earlier.

Jose Baez, head of Casey Anthony’s defense, argued that something entirely different happened. He said that Caylee was the victim of an accidental death, drowning in the family pool on June 16, 2008.

Jose Baez

Jose Baez; Photo: Red Huber-Pool/Getty Images

Baez alleged that Casey Anthony and her father George were home alone on June 16. In the early morning hours, George noticed that Caylee was missing. After searching frantically indoors, George then went outside. It was there that George allegedly discovered Caylee’s lifeless body in the above-ground pool.

“As Casey came around the corner [of the pool] she saw George Anthony holding Caylee in his arms,” Baez told the jury. “She immediately grabbed Caylee and began to cry. Shortly thereafter, George began to yell at her: ‘Look what you’ve done. Your mother will never forgive you and you will go to jail for child neglect for the rest of your frigging life.'”

Casey’s father, a retired homicide police officer, allegedly panicked and helped her dispose of the body. For some unknown reason, no one reported the death. Instead, they supposedly staged the accidental drowning to look like a murder.

George & Caylee Anthony

George & Caylee Anthony; Photo:

George Anthony denied the claim during the trial. Even Casey said on the 911 call that Caylee was kidnapped by the nanny. But the defense team stuck to its theory.

Casey apparently didn’t reveal the truth about what happened, and carried on as if nothing changed, because she was afraid of her father. At trial, it was alleged that George began molesting Casey when she was eight.

Casey Anthony: Party Girl or a Grieving Mom?

What about all those pictures of Casey Anthony partying it up while Caylee was missing or, according to her defence, had just drowned in the backyard pool and was lying dead somewhere?

An expert on trauma and grief testified at trial that pretending nothing happened and partying was one of many different ways people, especially young people like Casey Anthony, can express their grief.

Also, because George Anthony allegedly sexually molested Casey as a child, she developed a habit of hiding her pain and lying.

Casey Anthony Molested by Father and Brother?

During the trial, everyone found out that the Anthony family was not the so-called normal all-American family they seemed. They, like every other family, had skeletons in their closet.

During opening statements, Casey Anthony’s defense team alleged that George Anthony began molesting his daughter when she was eight.

“It all began when Casey was eight years old and her father came into her room and began to touch her inappropriately and it escalated … She could be 14 years old….and go to school and play with the other kids as if nothing [had] happened,” Baez said.

According to Casey Anthony, the rape continued up until she was an adult. Not only that, but both Anthony and her defense team questioned whether or not George Anthony could be Caylee’s father. Casey told a psychiatrist she was worried that George could be the father because he had sex with her around the time she got pregnant with Caylee.

The defense wondered whether George perhaps killed Caylee to hide evidence of the sexual abuse and the biology of the father.

George Anthony denied that Caylee had drowned in the pool and that he helped dispose of the body. He also denied sexually abusing Casey.

It wasn’t just George Anthony who allegedly sexually abused Casey. The defense suggested that Lee Anthony also molested Casey, learning the behavior from their father. There is some evidence to suggest that Lee Anthony did try to grope his sister.

At trial, Jesse Grund, Casey Anthony’s former fiancé, testified that she woke up one night with Lee standing over her. He also recounted how Casey woke up one night to find her brother groping her. From that moment onward, she tried to keep Caylee away from him.

Lee Anthony

Lee Anthony; Photo:

Another former boyfriend, Tony Lazzaro, testified that Casey said her father George was physically abusive, and that Lee tried to “feel her up” but didn’t succeed.

DNA tests proved that neither George nor Lee fathered Caylee.

Case against Casey Anthony Was Actually Quite Weak

No matter what anyone thinks of Casey Anthony, the case against her was considered to be quite weak, with prosecutors only presenting bits of circumstantial evidence against her. The prosecution relied mostly on evidence found in the family’s Pontiac Sunfire that Casey Anthony used to drive. The same car Casey abandoned two weeks before Caylee was reported missing.

When George retrieved the car from the impound lot, he said it smelled like a dead body. He testified that he smelled dead bodies when he was a homicide cop, and that the smell is something “you never forget.”

A controversial smell test showed the scent of decomposition that emanated from the trunk came from a body, not a bag of garbage as Casey Anthony’s defense team contended.

Trunk Contents

Garbage Found in Casey Anthony’s Trunk; Photo:

The prosecution also pulled a single hair from the trunk, but could not determine if it belonged to Caylee, Casey, or anyone else in the Anthony family. That said, even if the strand of hair did belong to Caylee, it would bolster the defense’s case that Casey and George panicked and disposed of Caylee’s body in the woods after she drowned in the pool.

As for the defense, Casey’s fingerprints were not found on the body or duct tape that was over Caylee’s mouth and nose.

No one ever saw Casey hurt Caylee, with friends saying the two had a loving mother/daughter relationship.

As for the tattoo, perhaps Bella Vita described the “beautiful life” that was taken from her in the form of her daughter?

Casey Anthony Tattoo

Bella Vita Tattoo; Photo:

Casey Anthony Found Not Guilty

Many news reports out at the time of the trial questioned why there was a media frenzy over the case, since it seemed like her guilt was a foregone conclusion.

Except it wasn’t.

On July 5, 2011, after about 10 hours of deliberation, the jury acquitted Casey Anthony of all felony charges. She was, however, convicted on all four misdemeanor charges of giving false information to police.

Casey Anthony’s acquittal was met with outrage; more than 1,000 angry protestors stood outside the Orange County Courthouse, many with placards saying the jury should be arrested.

Casey Anthony Verdict Protestors

Casey Anthony Verdict Protestors; Photo: Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images

Casey Anthony didn’t spend much time in jail for the four misdemeanor charges. Thanks to three years’ credit for time served, plus additional credit for good behavior, Casey Anthony was released from prison on July 17.

Where’s Casey Anthony Now?

Casey Anthony still lives in Florida.

She works with Patrick McKenna, a private detective who led the investigation for her defense team. McKenna is actually a well-known celebrity detective who has been called on to help O.J. Simpson, William Kennedy Smith, and John Goodman. The nature of their relationship has not been made public.

Also see: O.J. Simpson’s Hypothetical Confession of Double Murder in 2006

After her acquittal in 2011, McKenna said, “Yeah, she’s a liar. Yeah, she’s disturbed. She may be a very disturbed young woman, but she ain’t no murderer. She loved that baby. I think the jury saw that this kid didn’t commit first-degree murder.”

She also relies on members of her legal team for financial support, and to be set up on dates. Casey Anthony generally keeps to herself, but now that she encounters less hostility, she is able to meet new people.

As one unnamed friend said, “She’s going out now and then. She’s got a circle of friends, and guys are paying attention to her again.” A second source added, “Guys are even asking her out now.”

In February 2016, Casey Anthony launched a new business, Case Photography, LLC, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

On February 8, 2016, Casey posted her first business tweet.

Suffice it to say, not all of the feedback has been positive. On February, 21, 2016, Casey posted another tweet to her business’ Twitter page.

Despite a flurry of tweets in the months after launching Case Photography LLC, her last communication was posted on August 12, 2016.

Casey Anthony Has a Strained Relationship with Her Family

Perhaps not surprisingly, Casey Anthony doesn’t have a relationship with her father; only speaking to her mother and brother occasionally.

George, Caylee, and Cindy Anthony

George, Caylee, and Cindy Anthony; Photo:

In one interview, George Anthony had a message for Casey, who’d accused him of raping her:

“Stay away. Stay away from me. If she wants a relationship again with her mom, she’s got a lot of explaining to do, but I don’t want to hear it no more. I don’t want to see her,” he said.

Cindy Anthony also had a message for her daughter to be honest and stop blaming others:

“Casey, be true to yourself, start being honest with yourself, and own everything. Quit putting blame on everybody else,” she said.

As for Lee Anthony, Casey did not attend his 2012 wedding to Mallory Parker. Not a total surprise, considering she did accuse him of molestation, and he did turn his back on her during the trial.

Anthony Family

Anthony Family; Photo:

As for Casey Anthony, she understands that most people think she murdered her daughter.

“Based off what was in the media I understand the reasons people feel about me. I understand why people have the opinions that they do,” she said.

That doesn’t mean Casey Anthony cares about what others think.

“I don’t give a s**t about what anyone thinks about me, I never will. I’m OK with myself, I sleep pretty good at night.”

Also see: Binge-Watch List: 11 Real-Life Murder Documentaries on Netflix Now

Casey Anthony Is an Aunt

Tot Mom is a Tot Aunt. Lee Anthony’s wife, Mallory Parker gave birth to a baby boy on August 22, 2013. The boy is named Parker Lee Anthony; after Mallory’s maiden name, and after Casey’s brother.

It’s not known whether or not Casey Anthony has met her first nephew or not. Lee Anthony’s Facebook account makes no mention of his sister; most of the comments are dedicated to his love of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

Mallory and Lee Anthony

Mallory and Lee Anthony with their son; Photo:

Mom Mallory Anthony’s Facebook account, meanwhile, is filled with smiling pictures of herself, Lee, and Parker. None of Casey Anthony, though.

Casey Anthony Looking Forward to Becoming a Mom Again

Despite being known as America’s most hated mom, Casey Anthony longs to have more children. And has felt that way since the time Caylee went missing.

In a letter Casey wrote to fellow inmate Robyn Adams while housed in the Orlando County Jail in Florida during her trial, she wrote, “I had a dream not too long ago that I was pregnant.”

“It was like having Cays all over again,” referring to her dead daughter Caylee. “I’ve thought about adopting, which even sounds weird to me saying it, but there are so many children that deserve to be loved.”

In letters to Adams, Casey Anthony also speculated on what she would do from a movie deal or book deal.

“No matter how much money I have someday, all I want to do is live comfortably, not worrying about bills, food or even a few clothes. Everything in moderation and modesty.”

Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony; Photo: Red Huber-Pool/Getty Images

In another letter, she mentioned a book she wants to write, describing it as a “partial memoir/comedy/relationship advice book for those not in the know.”

“It’s a way to settle many rumors and to share my insight about love, life and most important – God,” she wrote. “Who knows.”

Years later, in another interview with the Associated Press, Casey Anthony maintained that she has no idea what happened to Caylee. “I’m still not even certain as I stand here today about what happened,” she said.

What this suggests, though, is that Caylee did not drown in the pool (as argued by the defense), was not kidnapped by a non-existent nanny, and the phone call she got from Caylee on June 15, 2008 did not happen either.

In the same interview, Casey Anthony said it would be a blessing if she had another child. But it might not be the best idea.

“If I am blessed enough to have another child — if I’d be dumb enough to bring another kid into this world knowing that there’d be a potential that some jackass, their little snot-nose kid would then say something mean to my kid — I don’t think I could live with that.”

Time will tell.

A Dysfunctional Family Decades in the Making or…?

As dysfunctional as people think Casey Anthony is, she was not born in a vacuum. To understand (not excuse) Casey Anthony and the disappearance of Caylee, it might help to look at her family’s history. If there’s one thing family can rely on, it’s the consistency of family dynamics.

Casey’s grandfather, Alexander Plesea, was abandoned by his father and sent to an orphanage after his mother’s untimely death. Alexander later married a woman by the name of Shirley, who, along with her mother and siblings, was also abandoned by her father.

Is it possible that Alexander and Shirley learned at a young age that men, or parents, could be unreliable, and that the only way to survive was to take control?

Cindy Anthony was the youngest child of Alexander and Shirley, and the only girl. Apparently, her brothers resented her because they believed she was spoiled. It’s possible that Cindy believed their jealousy was a form of insecurity, and bolstered her inherited view that men needed to be controlled.

Casey & Cindy Anthony

Casey & Cindy Anthony; Photo:

It appears as though Cindy did, in fact, find someone she could control: George Anthony. He was described by his first wife as “nothing” if he wasn’t wearing a police uniform. His own father fired him from the family business. And a quirk he reportedly had is that he longed to become a character at Disney World.

When George discovered that Casey lied about having a job at a Sports Authority store, Cindy told him to say nothing. When he learned that Casey’s car was taken to a tow yard and believed it smelled like a decomposing body, Cindy ordered him to go back to work as a security guard at a movie theater.

It’s quite possible that Cindy’s need to control everyone and everything led her to ignore Casey. It’s easy to control a child if the child is psychologically weak; it’s easier if the child has been psychologically impaired.

This might explain why Casey never got any help for her perpetual lying; to do so, Cindy would have to acknowledge that Casey was worthy of help. This might also explain why her mother didn’t believe her daughter was pregnant, when she clearly was. Why she lied in an obstetrical suite and let George stand at the foot of the bed, watching her deliver Caylee, who was then immediately given to Cindy to hold. As far as Cindy was concerned, Casey wasn’t even in the room.

Cindy Anthony with Caylee Anthony

Cindy Anthony with Caylee Anthony; Photo:

While not making excuses, it’s possible that these family dynamics led Casey Anthony to ignore her own daughter and choose not to report her missing. It could also explain, in part, her so-called grieving process, partying in the days after Caylee went missing.

Casey’s Legal Team Blamed Her Actions on Her Family Past

Casey’s defense team also looked to her past to explain why she acted the way she did. Casey allegedly learned to keep quiet about being molested as a child, and this allegedly led to her keeping Caylee’s drowning a secret.

But, not everyone who has a bad childhood acts out that bad behavior in adulthood, and not everyone who had a good childhood exhibits good behavior in adulthood.

Maybe Casey Was Acting Like a 22-Year-Old?

The vast majority of what Casey Anthony did during the 31 days in which Caylee was missing, and dead, is pretty typical of a 22-year old. She partied, danced at nightclubs, entered a “hot body” contest, had sex, got a tattoo, and generally had fun.

All things typical 22-year-olds do.

Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony; Photo:

Except, Casey Anthony wasn’t a typical 22-year-old; she was a mother. None of her friends were married or parents. Getting pregnant and having a baby thrust Casey into adulthood almost overnight. And being a parent demands a lot of time and attention. You can no longer spend countless hours out with friends dreaming about what life holds for you. Casey Anthony was living it.

Perhaps it was the untimely demands of adulthood and parenthood that interfered with Casey wanting to be a typical 2o-something.

People make choices for specific reasons. The motivation behind those choices may not seem obvious, and in the case of Casey Anthony, the roots can be traced far back in her family’s history or maybe even to her immediate adulthood.