Every day we learn more about the Caylee Anthony case than we really want to know, this, as the crime of maternal filicide, the killing of a child by its mother, is just too bizarre, too insane, and too repulsive for most to wrap their emotional arms around. Some talk show hosts have made this case the topic of almost every one of their shows, angrily telling and retelling every salacious detail, no matter how minute, to somehow justify their presence on TV, as if they were the judge, jury and prosecutor all rolled up into one. They tell the terrible tale in such detail that we couldn't tear ourselves away from the TV if we wanted to. And that, my friends, is what TV ratings are all about.
In the latest dump of information that should only have seen the light of day in a courtroom, we now know the remains of missing 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, found within walking distance from her mother's Florida residence, had been double bagged prior to being disposed of in that terrible manner. By this, the little child's body had first been placed in a cloth laundry bag with that bag then placed inside of a black plastic trash bag. In addition to the child's remains, investigators also found a small shirt, a pair of striped shorts, and a Winnie the Pooh blanket in the same bag. Most also know that rumors of duct tape covering the victim's mouth have been confirmed; duct tape that covered her mouth from side to side, duct tape that had to be cut away from the thin strands of her hair that still clung to the victim's tiny skull.
Investigators, however, are not allowed to get caught up in the emotions of television or in descriptions such as the above. They are the finders of fact, and one significant fact was that as the FBI Lab examined the duct tape removed from the victim's mouth, they noticed a small patch of adhesive on the outside of the duct tape, adhesive in the shape of a tiny heart. As investigators searched the crime scene like some type of ancient archaeological dig, they not only found more bones related to the victim, they also found a small heart that matched the shape of the adhesive on the duct tape. The investigative theory that would follow is that whoever disposed of Caylee Anthony had, for reasons known only to the offender, stuck that small heart over the tape that covered Caylee's little mouth, tape that helped to silence her voice forever, tape that just could hold hairs, fibers, or even fingerprints associated with the offender in this case.
These same investigators, to include criminal profilers, will likely attach special emphasis to the placement of this unique, heart-shaped artifact. Some will suggest that this provides an indication that whoever placed the tape and the subsequent tiny heart on the victim's face had some degree of special empathy with her; some emotional attachment that allowed, that ever required this person to place this small symbol on the dead child. Someone, perhaps, like her mother. Other specialists, to include an entomologist and a botanist have found bug and plant evidence at the body disposal site that allowed them to date Caylee's death to June, around the same time that Casey said her daughter was kidnapped by the phantom nanny, with her body being placed in the wooded area around June 18, this after being kept in another location, perhaps the trunk of Casey's car, for up to two days before being removed to the woods.
We also know, for example, that someone searched the word chloroform on a computer in the Anthony home, and we know that traces of chloroform, (a chemical sometimes used by young parents to induce unconsciousness in their children to save the cost of a babysitter), was found in the trunk of a car used and abandoned by Casey, and we now know that one of Casey's former boyfriends has indicated that she once spoke/joked about giving Caylee "baby medicine" to put her to sleep. After the country learned of Caylee's missing person status, many of Casey's friends text-messaged her expressing their shock that, while partying for the month following Caylee's disappearance, Casey had never bothered to mention to them that Caylee was missing, thereby forgoing the possible help of others who could have assisted in Casey's alleged "one person search" for her missing daughter.
Potentially linking physical evidence now includes the black plastic bag that concealed Caylee's body. As most know, investigators have executed multiple search warrants at the Anthony home, allegedly looking for duct tape, plastic trash bags, and other items. Some have suggested that the plastic bag containing the victim's remains was visually similar to a bag mother and grandmother Cindy Anthony gave to authorities last summer, and the bag recovered at the body disposal site may, in fact, be a match to bags recovered from the Anthony home. Such bags can be linked not only be appearance, but also by lot number and even specific chemical content. This may be the same with duct tape, should such have been recovered from the Anthony home. More and more, it appears that this case will hinge on disproving the lies told by Casey and linking forensic evidence related to the Anthony home, the victim and the body recovery site. When the walls of lies finally come falling down, it will be the hard, cold forensic evidence that will allow a jury to determine guilt and innocence in this case, and any potential claim of diminished mental capacity will have to get over the ever growing hurdle of guilty knowledge.
In my recent column "Mothers who kill their Babies," (http://clintvanzandt.newsvine.com/_news/2008/12/15/2214917-mothers-who-kill-their-babies), I indicated that statistically speaking, about four children are killed by one or both of their parents every day. If this is true, why the massive media attention to Caylee Anthony, or Natalee Holloway, or Madeleine McCann, or Jon Benet Ramsey for that matter? While not the children of previously famous parents, their disappearance and death in some cases have become lightning rods for media attention, and the center of national and even international interest for millions. No matter what statistics show, however, most of us are challenged to believe that a mother could intentionally kill her child.
The above is why, even in the face of Casey's spoiled brat, narcissistic rantings to her parents, this as seen in videos conveniently provided to television by jail officials, that we try to find reason, some reason other than intentional murder for the death of a child at the believed hands of her mother. In a recent "lost video tape" of Casey and her parents, one dated in August 2008, this barely one month after Casey reluctantly reported her daughter's alleged kidnapping, we are treated to yet another sad view of Casey as she falls into a sociopathic-like rage about how her life has changed since her arrest. In this meeting Casey states "my entire life has been taken from me," thus painting herself with the victim brush while making no reference whatsoever to her missing daughter. What did she know, we must ask, that allowed her to use up her time talking about herself instead of her then missing daughter?
Based upon the above, it's no wonder Casey's parents have not visited her in jail for months, especially in the light of other relatives turning on Casey, suggesting to Cindy that Casey may well be guilty as charged, and should not be defended by her and her husband. George Anthony, as a former Sheriff's deputy and homicide investigator, had to know, or at least suspect that Casey had done something terribly wrong, but may have gone along with Cindy to keep peace in the family. It would appear that sometime in the past few months, however, that reason and common sense may have finally caught up with the Anthony family. It's now reported that 57-year-old George Anthony is being held for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation, this after he disappeared and was allegedly tracked by the GPS in his cel phone to a Daytona Beach hotel, where he was found with a partially finished, multi-page suicide letter. He had also sent text messages threatening suicide, indicating that he wanted to be with Caylee. Evidently no weapons or medications were found that would suggest suicide was imminent. The implications of this apparent "cry for help" has yet to be determined, but this could even further confuse this very challenging case. When the dust clears, however, this family that has lost so much may lose even more. What this form of reality TV has played out is the destruction of an American family.
While the role of Casey Anthony in the demise of her daughter appears to draw closer to a legal "slam/dunk," there are those who know there is no such thing. Casey's attorney, for example, is under legal scrutiny himself, this by the Florida bar that has an active case against him. For his part, attorney Jose Baez suggests, in a manner remarkably similar to his client, that others have an ax to grind against him. How he is being paid, and how he pays the legal defense dream team being assembled to try to explain away Casey's presumed role in her daughter's death, is unknown. While he denies any type of book, television, movie or other special deal concerning this case, one must wonder if every person on the defense team is working pro bono (meaning for the media attention they will get for their role in defending Casey.) Others fear that should Baez have some type of secret deal for his and Casey's story, that such could provide Casey, if convicted, with a reason to appeal her conviction, this due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Somehow the cause of justice has once again been subverted by those from many walks who seek, perhaps, to profit from an otherwise tragic loss.
And then there is the matter of the bounty hunter's role in this case. No, not Leonard Padilla, the self-described "media whore" who initially screwed up this case by putting up Casey's bail and inserting himself in the investigation and, thereby became a talking head on things he knew nothing about, but Roy Kronk, the $10 per hour meter reader and former bounty hunter who first called the attention of authorities to the remains of missing Caylee. Kronk's role in this matter is fortuitous at best and sinister at worse. Many have since learned that Kronk, whose wife died tragically of cancer last year, had once been arrested for the kidnapping of a former girlfriend, a charge that was later dropped and to his credit; one that he reported when applying for the job of meter reader even though he was not legally bound to do so. But why and how did he become involved and what led him, over and over again, to Caylee's remains?
As time goes by, this case, one that should be relatively simple to understand, becomes only more confused. Who was responsible for Caylee's death; where was her body kept until placed in the woods near her home, this allegedly days after her death; who disposed of her body; what possible role did Casey, her brother, her parents, and her numerous boyfriends have, if any, in Caylee's death and disposal; why did private investigators working for the Anthony family search the exact same area where Caylee's remains were eventually found, and why did they film their search; why was Roy Kronk so tenacious in looking for Caylee, and how did he find her remains when search teams, search dogs, law enforcement officers, and others missed it for months; and, who stands to get the most media attention and make the most money from the loss of this one small child? More questions than answers at this time but as is said of most cases, "It will all come out in court," or will it? No matter; but whenever you see a tiny red heart, take a moment to think about the precious life of a child that such can represent.