So here’s what Casey Marie Anthony told the cops in Orange County, Florida about her missing daughter Caylee, age 2. She said that on June 9th, she left her toddler with a friend named Zenaida Gonzalez, who lived at The Sawgrass Apartments in Orlando.
According to a media advisory released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. on July 16, Casey Anthony then “lost contact” with her babysitter. She also lost contact with her daughter…
Caylee’s grandmother, Cynthia Anthony, had grown worried about her granddaughter. On or around July 15 she confronted Casey about the situation. That was when Casey told the story of Zenaida and mysteriously missing toddler.
According to a narrative prepared by the Orange County Sheriff’s office on July 16, investigators headed to 2863 S. Conway Road in Orlando. They were checking on Apt. 210 at Sawgrass Apts; that was where the mysterious Zenaida Gonzalez was last thought to have had Caylee. Unfortunately for Casey, Apt. 210 had been empty since the end of February — nearly 5 months.
Casey was questioned again, and the ripe smell of bullshit wafting from her story only grew stronger. An officer asked if her initial, 4-page long sworn statement given to police was true and accurate. She said it was. The police interviewed her again, and she tried to give more detail about Caylee’s vanishing.
Since 5 o’clock the day she said Caylee disappeared, Casey said she had been doing her own investigation. She could no longer remember Zenaida’s cell number by the time she spoke to police, but on June 9 she’d tried the cell and gotten no answer. Later, Casey tried clubs she thought Zenaida frequented (because you know, kidnap-happy babysitters always go clubbing with their charges in tow). She didn’t tell authorities, Casey said, because “movies and reports” gave her the idea that kidnapped or missing people ended up hurt if the cops entered the picture.
Casey said she’d show police 3 locations where Zenaida had lived. The first address she pointed out housed nothing but senior citizens. Zenaida Gonzalez was allegedly in her 20s.
Circumstances only grew stranger. Names given to police to help verify Casey’s story tracked nowhere. An officer finally told her point blank that he’d proven her a liar in nearly every detail of her story up to that point.
Casey reverted to one element of the story and stuck there: she’d dropped her daughter off on June 9 with a babysitter, and had not seen the child since.
The police began receiving tips from Casey Anthony’s acquaintances after her arrest. Most said the same thing. Casey was a habitual liar. A few people claimed she was a thief. One friend reported a possible theft of $700.
Then there was the call from Casey’s boyfriend, Anthony Lazzaro. Lazzaro said he met Casey in May. The last time he saw Caylee was June 2nd, at the pool at his apartment complex. Lazzaro gave a sworn statement indicating that Casey had claimed Caylee was with a “nanny,” that the little girl was at Disney, or sometimes the Universal Studios Theme Park.
Lazzaro also indicated that Casey never seemed concerned for her daughter’s well-being.
Police noted little or no emotion from the woman at any time during the initial investigation.
If anything can be gleaned from Casey Anthony’s social networking, it might be that she wasn’t too choked up about losing an entire child and the babysitter, too. At least not choked up enough to stay home or walk the streets searching for her kid. Her MySpace profile has been converted to an online billboard devoted to finding Caylee since the child’s disappearance, but she’s had it since 2005. Until July 16, all the comments on the profile were casual, including a few made after June 9, 2008.
On July 8, a friend named “Yelena” left this comment for Casey, seemingly in response to something Casey suggested: “yeah we should def get together!!! Lets go to the beach this sunday??!!!”
The next day a young guy with the screen name “Frank” wrote what seemed like a response to a question from Casey — there’s no way to know what the question was because his own profile is private. Frank wrote, “that sounds like it could be fun :)”
So Casey was making plans to “get together” with pals and discussing things that sounded “like fun” a month after she later said she last saw Caylee. Yet Caylee’s disappearance wasn’t reported to authorities for another week or so.
Casey and Caylee’s family is holding out hope that the child is okay. Cynthia Anthony said the following to reporters on July 20, “If I can get some of those other pieces, I think this picture is going to come together very quickly.” Anthony also said that the family had been combing through Casey’s journals, looking for clues about Caylee’s whereabouts. Anthony mentioned jealousy had some place in the story as well, but the nature of the jealousy wasn’t clear. Was Casey jealous of the attention her own mother gave her child, or was she jealously possessive of Caylee?
Anthony related an occurrence that was either chilling or reason for hope, depending on your perspective: “Casey got a phone call, ‘Hi, Mommy?’ Casey said, ‘Put an adult on the phone Caylee.’ The phone went dead.”
Casey Anthony may or may not be cooperating with police. Her attorney, Jose Baez, says she is. Cops say she isn’t. Online court records pertaining to her case also indicate that she will be screened to see if she meets the criteria for the Baker Act. If Casey is found mentally ill, she may just qualify.
No matter what, little Caylee Anthony is still in the wind.
Caylee turns 3 in August. For all intents and purposes, she’s as much a ghost as the phantom babysitter her mother may have invented to explain her disappearance.
[WFTV Orlando, The Orlando Sentinel, HelpFindCaylee.com.]