The State alleged that Casey Anthony’s behavior after June 16, 2008 suggested that she murdered her child in order to enjoy her life.
Casey Anthony and her child were last seen together on June 16, 2008 when George Anthony witnessed them walking to Casey’s car. For one month, neither George nor Cindy saw Casey or her child. On July 15, 2008, Cindy confronted Casey about the whereabouts of her child. Casey indicated that the child was with the nanny. Casey later “admitted” that the babysitter kidnapped the child 31 days prior and Casey had been conducting her own search to locate the child. Cindy called the OCSO (read transcript) and Casey told them what happened in a written statement (read statement).
On July 16, 2008 Casey told detectives she worked at Universal Studios and took them there. They quickly discovered she did not work there and questioned her about information concerning the babysitter (read transcript). Casey was arrested later that day on child neglect and obstruction charges (see arrest affidavit) when investigators found her story “suspect.”
Details emerged about what transpired during the 31 days after the child went missing. When asked about the whereabouts of her child, Casey told friends and family that she was with the babysitter. Casey stayed at her boyfriend’s apartment instead of her home for the majority of the 31 days, although she also spent a week at her former boyfriend’s apartment. She frequented a particular nightclub during this time because her boyfriend worked there. She also got a tattoo.
What does this evidence prove? And who waits 31 days to report their child missing?
No one waits 31 days to report their child missing. As was stated in the trial, the child died on June 16, 2008 – the last day anyone saw her. Casey did not report her child missing because she was never missing. Only when confronted by her brother, Lee Anthony, did she reveal the kidnapping story. Her defense later admitted this was a lie. Why would she lie and cover up the death?
I am not a behaviorial expert. I have only my life experiences to draw on for this analysis. But I know that behavior is subjective, and actions which you think have one purpose may actually have another.
The State alleged she lied to cover up the murder of her child. After all, normal people don’t lie unless there is a need to. But Casey was shown to be a chronic liar, with the State going as far as to say she was pathological. She lied about having a babysitter. She lied about having a wealthy boyfriend. She lied about working at Universal. She lied about graduating from high school. She lied about applying for college classes. She added materials to the lies to make them seem believable such as creating fake emails from work and bringing home dvd’s from the babysitter. It seemed that lying and covering up things was her “go to” move. So, why would the death of her child produce a different response?
Life experience indicates that people can react to trauma in different ways. While I do not know what it would be like for a 22 year-old mother to find her child dead, I imagine it would be quite traumatic. From the testimony presented at trial, it appeared that the child spent most of her time with Casey and even slept in the same bed. The State called into question Casey’s love for her child, but no one – friend or family – had anything negative to say about Casey’s relationship with her daughter. Casey’s friend testified that Casey said Cindy thought she was an “unfit mother.” Couple these facts along with Casey’s penchant for lying and one can get a sense for how Casey would react to the death of her child.
But, of course, any theory would be speculation. The behavior of a person is subjective to the one observing. Only one person knows, for sure, how Casey Anthony would react to the death of her child and she chose not to testify.
What does the “31 days” behavior indicate? If she had a real job and went to work day after day, how would the story change? The evidence in the case (chloroform, decomp. smell, etc.) would have been the same, but the behavior would not have been so unsavory. Ultimately, this is also subject to interpretation. If you want to find guilt, it’s there. If you want to find denial, it’s there. Did she compartmentalize the death or was she concealing something more sinister?
As far as the behavior is concerned, it is subject to interpretation. Usually behavior is not presented as evidence in a trial because it is subjective, but the State contended it was relevant to their theory. They wanted the jury to buy their story: a woman, with no apparent ill-will to her child, killed her to party and enjoy life. It was a dangerous gamble because they did not know the lives of the jurors. What if one of the jurors previously witnessed someone react abnormally to trauma? I certainly have. Denial in traumatic situations is certainly common among young people and lying is standard procedure if one is somehow involved. But does it all add up to murder and only murder?
If this was a murder then the other aspects to the cover up, in my opinion, were just sloppy. Driving around with a decomposing body in the trunk for a 1-2 days was sloppy. That indicated that she did not know what to do with the body. If she killed the child in a premeditated fashion, one would assume she would have planned the next step.
Depositing the body near the home was sloppy. Orlando is 100 sq. mi. with lots of lakes and rivers, but she chose, literally, the very first wooded area just yards away from the house. I’ve been to the spot where the remains were found and it’s unfathomable that the child was not found before December 2008.
Also, running the car out of gas, ultimately abandoning it, was sloppy. She left it at arguably one of the largest and busiest intersections in Central Florida (Goldenrod and 50). One would think she would know the car would be linked to her. She even let people ride in it the week prior. And when it was towed, she did not try to get it. Instead she was content to let her father take care of it.
If this was a murder then it seems as if there was no attempt to conceal the evidence other than lying. This was hardly the perfect murder.
For perspective on Casey’s relationship with her child, please read “Casey: Loving Mother?”
To see how this tied into the rest of the evidence, read “The Analysis” of the State’s theory.