Many have said that the defense produced no evidence of drowning. True enough, they did not present any direct evidence but they did not have to prove anything. The State had to prove their allegations were true, not just plausible. The theory of defense is beautiful in the cases where innocent people are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously, people felt this situation was a little different.
This is not the defense’s theory where George Anthony finds his granddaughter in the pool. While George Anthony had his fair share of impropriety with the family, it was baseless to associate him with the cover up. I mean, his daughter was arrested. He’d have to be pretty cold-hearted to let all of that happen to her if he was involved. That part of the theory does not pass the believability test. But in order to take all culpability off Casey, Jose Baez needed a scapegoat and George played right into his hands. However, the evidence suggests that Casey Anthony acted alone.
But there was certainly circumstantial evidence to support drowning. In fact, if you threw out the unsubstantiated chloroform claim (read “Chloroform Theory”) and rightfully questioned the duct tape placement (read “Challenging the Duct Tape”), there was certainly as much circumstantial evidence to support drowning as there was murder.
How could it have happened?
The State could not produce any testimony contradicting that Casey was a “loving mother” prior to June 16, 2008. They tried to assert that the people Casey hung out with were young and would not know what good parenting was. Well, I’m sure they would know what bad parenting was, so that assertion falls flat. The friends even said, along with her parents, that Casey had a motherly persona (read post).
However, it was noted by a more than a few individuals that Casey was inattentive to her child in social situations, especially when other people were present.
Jesse Grund said (transcript):
I don’t believe Casey would have ever hurt Caylee on purpose and I, I, there’s no way that I, I personally could ever foresee her doing that. Uhm, I do believe that there are times where Casey would leave Caylee unattended to do things. Get on the computer, talk on the phone.
Caylee would usually, she would hang out in the living room while Casey was in the computer room, or sometimes Casey would go outside to use the telephone and leave Caylee in the living room. Uhm, she also went outside and played with Caylee a lot and then she’d also be playing with the dogs. Uhm, she let Caylee play in her playpen while she’d go do something.
Casey was young and socialized quite a bit by phone and instant messaging. It is understandable that a parent cannot be attentive to their children all the time, but the child was still relatively young. Casey placed a false sense of security in the child’s intelligence, obedience and independence. With Casey’s behavior, perhaps it was only a matter of time before something happened to her child on her watch.
In testimony during the trial, Cindy Anthony said the child could easily get to the backyard (view testimony). George Anthony also said the same in a police interview recorded in August 2008 (read transcript):
I mean we put the child proof uh, locks on the door type thing so she couldn’t open the door but she’d be easy enough she could flip open the uh, sliding glass door …she would be, I mean she wouldn’t go out past the screen doors we have out there but she at least would be out in that area.
The defense showed a picture of the child opening the sliding glass door. Some have said the defense doctored the photo, but the excerpts above from George and Cindy Anthony already prove that the child could open the sliding glass door. The photo was just visual confirmation. The State did not challenge the authenticity of the photo.
Also, the child liked to climb on things. Cindy said in an interview (read transcript):
And Casey knows Caylee likes to climb, she likes to do you know and the last bruise that I… I knew that she had before urn, urn, before urn, she… I haven’t seen her before her disappearance. Urn, was faded, but urn, it was the height of the computer desk. Urn, and Caylee likes to climb up on the computer chair and she likes to play on the keyboard even when the computer’s not turned on.
Jesse Grund added in another interview (read transcript):
She’s, Caylee was a rambunctious little kid. She liked to climb. She liked to run around. She liked to do things. You know what three year old doesn’t.
Now I was under the understanding they had actually had to move the ladder because Caylee kept trying to get into the pool and things of that nature.
With Casey’s behavior and her child’s behavior, there was an opportunity for something bad to happen.
To get a more complete picture of the scenario, I have to use information that may or may not have been presented at trial. First, here is a look at Casey’s phone records for June 16, 2008 (view records):
George Anthony said that he saw Casey and her child leave the house around 12:50pm. The cell phone ping data indicated that she was in the area (or at home) at that time (see ping data). The ping data did not register a change in location until 4:18pm. She was then seen with her boyfriend at a video store shortly before 8:00pm without her daughter.
George said he started work at 3:00pm and it was his second day on the job. Casey was pinging at or near home when she called Amy at 1:44pm (call ended at 2:20pm) and when Jesse called her at 2:52pm. Jesse said he recalled hearing a child’s voice in the background (read statement), but he wasn’t certain. George then called Casey a few minutes into his shift, at 3:04pm, but Casey did not answer because she was still on the line with Jesse. Presumably, Casey ended her call with Jesse when she noticed she had another call.
There was a 30 minute gap in activity until Casey called her boyfriend but he did not pick up. Another 35 minutes elapsed until she called her father’s work, her mother a few times, and her father’s work again. After these calls, she was on the move and attempted to call her mother, the house phone, and her friends. Her phone was pinging near her boyfriend’s apartment.
Assuming George was not involved and did go to work, then there was the opportunity for something to happen in one of the 30 minute gaps.
Unresolved Pool Incident
In testimony, Cindy Anthony talked about coming home one day and finding the pool ladder attached to the pool. She said she called George about it. George recalled the incident in an interview (read transcript):
And we are very religious, not in the, in the form I wanna say at the moment, but we’re very, very detailed on the ladder, we have an above ground pool. Whenever we’re done with that pool, we don’t get in there every single day but we take that ladder off. I set it to the side and we just make sure that that’s always taken care of. My gate is always locked. Though I have the one entrance, we have in and out of our gate. I’m, I’m, I’m good about that.
But one specific day and I can’t remember which day it was, my wife called and was bitching me out, “George, did you leave the gate open inside”. “No.” “Well did you go swimming today?” “No.” “Well the ladder’s on, the gates open.”I’m like, “Well I didn’t do it”. I don’t know the exact date it was.
All I know, I was working, it could have been 6, 7:00 at night. I wish I could be specific.
Cindy’s coworker recalled details of the incident (read transcript):
I think that was around Father’s Day I want to say, yeah.
She came into work that day and said that she thought someone was swimming in her pool. And I looked at her and said, that’s what people do is swim in the pool. And she goes no you don’t understand someone’s been in the pool but I haven’t been home. And I said what makes you think that? And she said she came home one day and I guess the side gate was open ’cause she lets her dogs out. And I guess the dogs started to go out and she was worried she was gonna lose her dogs. And then um, the ladder was off [on] the pool and it’s an above ground pool. And she said she always takes the ladder off and puts it away from the pool so that the child doesn’t get in the pool.
Cindy said during the trial that this happened on June 16, 2008. She called either George’s cell phone or work phone from either the home phone or her cell phone. Having none of these records, I cannot verify the veracity of the statement. George said he received the call late in the day.
Cindy said she and her granddaughter went swimming everyday that week, including the night of June 15, 2008. The defense contended that Cindy left the ladder up, probably to remove culpability from Casey. Cindy denied this claim.
If the pool incident date is true, then there was the possibility that something happened involving the pool. Considering how much everyone hates Casey Anthony, one would think the “kids” responsible for breaking in and using the pool in 2008 would confess just to disprove that theory. But no one has. Casey was always responsible for anything strange happening, such as the shed/gas can incident.
Casey leaves the house at 12:50pm with her daughter. She tells her father that she will be home the next day and will be spending the night at the babysitter’s place. Obviously, this is a lie. She is probably going to spend the night at a friend’s place.
She drives away from the house but stays in the area, perhaps just around the corner to see when her father leaves so that she could go back home. In the meantime, she calls Amy. She hangs up with Amy and goes back home around 2:00 – 2:30pm.
When she arrives home, she probably fixes up the pool (attaches the ladder if it was not already attached) to allow her child to swim. She is interrupted when Jesse calls her and she becomes enveloped in a lie-filled conversation. When the conversation ends, she looks for her child and finds her drowned in the pool.
She probably tries to revive the child and then realizes the finality and gravity of the situation. Her child is dead and she is supposed to be at work.
If Casey Anthony ever tells her story (probably not) and says her child drowned, this is probably where the story will end. Clearly, what she did after would be too shameful to admit and is probably why she has yet to admit it to any family or former friends. Instead of calling 911, she wraps the child in a blanket and puts her in the trunk of her car. She then dries herself off and changes her clothes. She puts her wet “work” clothes in the car.
Shortly after 4:00pm she leaves the house and probably tries to call her parents to tell them the “convention in Tampa” lie. She comes back the next day or the day after and wraps her child with the bags. The rest of the story probably plays out the way the State said aside from the duct tape. She probably put the duct tape over the ventilation hole in the bag, in an overlapping fashion, to prevent more fluid from leaking out.
Scenario vs. Evidence
Casey staying overnight with Caylee at the “nanny” was not unusual
George Anthony recalled the conversation with Casey on the morning of June 16 (transcript):
She just set it down and she says “Hey” she says. “I’m gonna be working a little bit late, uh, Caylee’s gonna be staying with the nanny, I’m gonna back and stay there and I’ll see you and Mom tomorrow afternoon.” That’s not nothing unusual, she’s done that a few different times so. She said she already had, she says “I already talked to Mom, Mom knows I’m gonna be staying over.” I said, “Okay. Just be careful and I’ll see you tomorrow” type deal.
As was documented in another post (read post) Casey and Caylee spent the night at friends’ houses when she used the “nanny” excuse with her parents.
Casey did not have prior plans to be with her boyfriend
Tony Lazzaro said in a police interview (transcript):
I, you know what? We probably didn’t even make plans until that day to hang out.
Tony and Casey talked during the early morning hours of June 16, the content of which was “lovey-dovey” stuff as he recalled. They did not make plans to hang out until later that day.
Whatever happened occurred between 2pm and 4pm
George Anthony left for work around 2pm. Casey probably came back home around that time while she was talking to Amy. Jesse Grund called Casey at 2:52pm and described the conversation as unusual (transcript):
Uhm, it was not, it was not a normal, if that’s a correct choice of words. Uh, [the conversation was about] the fact that her mom was no longer moving out anymore. Casey now had to find a place to live. Uhm, uh, she couldn’t stay at home.
The conversation ended when George called Casey, but Casey rejected his call. Casey cellphone registered a change in cell tower around 4:18pm. She probably left home at 4:10pm when she started calling her parents and was in the area of her home cell tower.
Casey changed her clothes
George Anthony described what Casey was wearing when she left the house the morning of June 16:
And my daughter had a like decent pair of like dress slacks on, top that she could be wearing to be going to work. There’s not nothing unusual about the way she was dressed. Like a charcoal grey [slacks], like a pin stripe, like a pin stripe through it. [And] Like a beige color, matter of fact almost like, not white but almost like and off white color top.
The evening of June 16 she was videotaped at Blockbuster wearing a sleeveless gray top and short jeans with a hat on (see surveillance photos).
The pants George saw Casey wearing were found in the trunk of Casey’s car on July 15, 2008, according to him (transcript):
For some reason I think they were the charcoal ones. I’m not positive, I’m not really sure. I know in the trunk of the car was her uh, we have these collapsible crates, it was a blue one in color, it had uh, coat hangers, just a bunch of miscellaneous stuff in the back.
So, when they opened the trunk of the car there was um, a collapsible bin, I think a couple of hangers, a pair of Casey’s.. I think a pair of her pants back there in the bin.
I told her I had taken that gray pair of slacks out and that I actually had washed them cause they smelt nasty.
This item was separate from the other clothes she wore during the “31 days.” She kept those clothes in a duffle bag according to Tony:
I remember seeing some kind of duffle bag, but it was always, it always had like, it was always wide open and had a bunch of clothes in it.
Why would she change her clothes and stash the pants in the trunk? Given the 2-hr time frame on June 16, it’s unlikely that she had time to dry the pants if they were wet. She probably re-wore the top during the “31 days.”
Chlorinated Water and Chloroform Production
Studies have shown a connection to chloroform production from a reaction between chlorinated water and bodily fluids.
One study, “Understanding Disinfection Byproducts and Combined Chlorine,” says the following (read study):
When chlorine reacts with these precursors, a variety of chemical reactions take place, including the formation of disinfection byproducts (DBPs).
The organic pollutants selected included urea, creatinine, L-histidine and L-arginine, all organic nitrogen-containing components found in human sweat and urine.
These results showed that common organic pollutants introduced during swimming activities contribute to the formation of trichloramine (NCl3). Other DBPs, including chloroform (CHCl3), cyanogen chloride (CNCl), dichloroacetonitrile (CNCHCl2) and
dichlormethylamine (CH3NCl2) were also detected.
Another study showed than chloroform levels were higher in people who bathed in a pool before they showered after exiting (read study):
The interaction between disinfectants and pool water substances yields a complicated and variable mixture of DBPs that is still only partially understood for chlorine disinfection and less well-understood for other disinfectants. DBPs can be inhaled or ingested during swimming, or absorbed dermally and volatile DBPs have been the focus of most swimming pool research to date. Specifically, exposure assessments have focused on two classes of DBPs from Cl-based disinfection: chloramines and trihalomethanes (THMs). For THMs, research has focused on chloroform (CHCl3) (the most commonly detected THM) in air and water at pools.
Plasma CHCl3 levels have also been measured in swimmers, with one study using this biomonitoring approach to describe changes in blood levels before and after swimming. For swimmers exiting the pool, the water/plasma CHCl3 ratio was approximately 30:1; for showering/bathing 10 min postshower, the water/blood ratio was approximately 600:1… CHCl3 uptake from swimming appears greater than showering.
Finally, the World Health Organization conducted a study on the topic and elaborated on trihalomethanes (read study):
THMs are formed by the aqueous chlorination of humic substances, of soluble compounds secreted from algae and of naturally occurring nitrogenous compounds (Morris, 1982). THMs consist primarily of chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform.
THM levels are higher in chlorinated surface water than in chlorinated groundwater.
Concentrations of THMs tend to increase with increasing temperature, pH and chlorine dosage.
Concentrations of THMs increase upon storage even after exhaustion of residual chlorine or after dechlorination.
Chloroform is usually the most abundant THM often accounting for greater than 90% of the total THM concentration.
Removal of THMs after their formation is difficult and involves resource-intensive processes such as activated carbon adsorption or air stripping.
In essence, these studies have focused on the simplified equation: Chlorinated Water + Bodily Fluids = Chloroform (and other disinfection by-products). It “can be inhaled or ingested during swimming, or absorbed dermally” (through the skin). Blood plasma is roughly 93% water and the studies indicate that there is a substantial increase in the chloroform to water/plasma ratio after swimming in a chlorinated pool. And according to the WHO, concentrations of trihalomethanes, of which chloroform is the most abundant, tend to increase with temperature even after all the chlorine is gone.
One of the articles indicated that pool chloroform levels ranged from 10 – 80 micrograms per liter, with higher levels reported (article). Doing some math, 10 micrograms per liter = 10,000 micrograms per cubic meter. The conversion factor for chloroform is 5 micrograms per cubic meter = 1 part per billion (reference). Therefore, the chloroform levels found in the pool (in this study) was between 2 – 16 parts per million (ppm > ppb). Chloroform levels in drinking water exist in the parts per trillion range, therefore a pool disinfected with chlorine has relatively high levels of chloroform.
This sounds awfully similar to what was found in the trunk of the Pontiac Sunfire.
The defense tried to elicit testimony about this subject from Dr. Furton, but Prosecutor Ashton quickly objected. Also, the defense was poised to elicit this testimony from Dr. Barry Logan (read report), but Prosecutor Ashton preemptively challenged his qualifications so that he could not speak about it.
Remember, Dr. Vass said that the chloroform levels were high (in the high parts per billion – low parts per million range) compared to a typical decomposing body. It does not seem that anyone has studied the effects of chlorinated water and decompositional fluid or the chemical composition of a pool-drowned body, but this drowning theory is certainly supported by the evidence. If only the medical examiner had done the tests to determine if there was a drowning. But with the duct tape assumption, why would they?
Like I said before, the truth is always in the evidence. But the truth is not always the story used because of its twists and turns. Chloroform production from pool water is a twist but, given the studies, entirely plausible. It is certainly way more plausible than Casey making chloroform (read “Chloroform Theory”). Dr. Vass was looking for decomposition and the FBI chemist was looking for chloroform when they analyzed the trunk. Chloramines and trihalomethanes were not their priority.
Personally, I think there was cleaning done on the trunk and that could have also accounted for the presence of chloroform.
When the Anthony’s household was searched on December 11, 2008, LE found a bottle of Baquacil which is a non-chlorine based pool treatment (see inventory). Of course, we don’t know if they used chlorinated pool supplies 6 months prior in June because no one asked them. If they didn’t, then this all but confirms the premise that Casey Anthony used cleaning products in her car between June 16 and June 24, 2008.
The rigorous use of cleaning products on the trunk would explain a few pieces of evidence:
- Chloroform in the trunk
- Casey’s father and friends not smelling anything “funny” when they approached or entered the car between June 16 and June 24
- Lack of entomological evidence in trunk
- Lack of DNA evidence in trunk
- Lack of prevalent decompositional staining
Most importantly, the child’s remains were tested by a UF toxicologist and an FBI toxicologist and both indicated the remains tested negative for chemicals.
Why Didn’t She Call 911?
Imagine a young mother finding her young child floating in a pool. She screams. She dives in the pool and recovers the body. Someone else in the house comes running and finds her clutching her lifeless child at the side of the pool. The mother denies it. It didn’t happen. It’s not real.
The other person calls 911.
Who was there to call 911 for Casey Anthony?
She probably doesn’t even know why she didn’t call 911. But given her sudden emotional detachment, it’s fairly obvious that something in her head snapped. The responses to loss and trauma are not the same for everyone and Casey already had one foot out of reality.
A psychologist who examined Casey Anthony in jail said this of her (article):
One of the ways Casey has always dealt with [things] is letting someone else take care of it. She always let her parents take care of things. She expected someone else to call 911.
However, if she did call, she would get caught in her lies. On a day when, supposedly, she had to “work” late, she was at home taking her daughter swimming, unsuccessfully. Not only was her daughter dead, but her entire life would be questioned. She believed her mother thought she was an “unfit mother” and, obviously, the death would be extreme proof. And, clearly, she had mental issues.
Jesse Grund said in a police interview (transcript):
Uhm, I believe at any point in time something possibly could have accidentally happened to Caylee. And if something accidentally happened to Caylee I literally believe that Casey would have an emotional breakdown; a mental breakdown to the point where I almost believe that she would take Caylee and put her somewhere and then uh, tell herself a new story, a new reality of what happened to her.
I think, I think if something happened to Caylee, her one toe that she’s had in reality for the last couple years, her one foot would be gone and she would be completely in her own separate world. And I think uh, that’s because Casey directly has some issues that mentally she’s never gotten taken, taken care of.
Lee Anthony said in a police interview (transcript):
That’s when she [Casey] opened up to me and said, uhm, uhm, “Mom has uhm, thrown it in my face many times before that I’m an unfit mother and you know, maybe she’s right and maybe I am.”
She [Cindy Anthony] comes into the room, sees that my sister was crying, and she said, and actually the first thing that she asked her, she says, “What have you done?”
Casey Anthony said in a police interview (transcript):
I saw my mom’s reaction right off the bat and it would’ve been the same from the get go.
My mom flat out told me yesterday she would never be able to forgive me.
The “31 Days”
Many people cannot get past Casey’s behavior after June 16, 2008. In totality with the rest of her life, her behavior during the “31 days” is irrelevant. In my opinion her behavior was bad prior to June 16 and nothing in her behavior changed afterward. Contrary to the media portrayal, she didn’t party more or drink more. She had a carefree attitude before and the same attitude after.
How could she not report her child missing? Given what we know now, clearly the child died on June 16. There was no missing child, therefore there was nothing to report. Therefore, responses to loss and trauma have to be taken into account. If anyone says that people react the same way to death, I would call them a bigger liar than Casey Anthony. The grief expert recanted a story of a woman who called her and asked her to come over because her child was afraid of the rain. Oddly, the child had passed away months prior. They sat on the porch with an umbrella. Some people go to work the next day and act as if nothing happened following a death. Others fall into a spiraling depression.
However, two aspects did change: she fled her home and she appeared emotionally disconnected to her child. The fleeing of the home was a sign of involvement, maybe even guilt. Given the premise of this theory, both would fit. She felt guilty that the child drowned on her watch and she hid the body. Obviously, it would have been suspicious to be at home without the child and eventually she would have had to talk. She fled to avoid that. The babysitter story could only last so long (in this case 31 days).
She rarely wrote about Caylee, and when she did it appear[ed] to be in a superficial, detached way, the psychologists said. But, they said, there could be two very different reasons for this.
Anthony could be in denial that was triggered by some loss or emotional trauma, such as the death of her daughter. Another option could be there was never a bond between the mother and child.
We are left to choose between two reasons. The State chose the second one; however, they could not produce any evidence to back it up (read Casey: Loving Mother?). All of the witnesses they brought on testified that there was a loving bond between mother and child.
A psychologist who evaluated Casey Anthony in jail said it was the first reason (article):
What is known is she suffered many losses, significant losses, and so, obviously, the issue of trauma and reactions to trauma could be explored as a reasonable psychological consideration.
It is very difficult to cope with those experiences and so, traditionally, I have seen over many, many years of practice that individuals typically respond in certain defined ways, and some of those ways have to do with repression and denial of the event, detachment of emotions.
There is no question she denied the death, as evidenced by the many times she told everyone that she believed her child was alive. The question is: Was it a delusional lie or a deliberate lie? The answer is pure speculation.
Could the death have been intentional? Sure. But there was no evidence prior to June 16, 2008 that Casey had any violent or abusive tendencies toward her child or anyone else. Non-abusive parents get agitated at their kids, but they don’t randomly become killers. If they do, then any one of us could kill our children given the right circumstances.
Could the death have been an accident? Absolutely. The pieces were in place as outlined above. Casey’s inattentiveness, Caylee’s rambunctiousness, and a rogue pool ladder on June 16, 2008 provide the circumstances for an accidental drowning. Also, the scientific findings in the trunk are plausible for a drowned body from a chlorinated pool. To ignore the drowning theory is to ignore the evidence. In hindsight, it fits suspiciously well.
But Casey is not devoid of blame. It happened on her watch. She didn’t call 911. She hid the body.
Casey cared about what people thought of her. So much so that she made up lies to make herself look better. Her child dying on her watch was not something she wanted to admit, either to herself or others. She could not bear to tell them. She could not let them down.
Casey told her mother she was “protecting them” in a video visitation (transcript):
And those… I hope you guys get to see the um, tapes of George and my visitation with her because she.. she’s talks about this that she is protecting the family. And I made her clarify that because if somebody protecting the family with, if you’re protecting about our feelings or what people might think. Our lives are out there I mean there’s nothing you can do that we’re.. that could hurt us anymore then the loss of not having Caylee with us and even having you where you’re at. She says it’s not emotional mom, it’s physical.
Obviously, there was never any physical harm. Once Cindy expressed that nothing could hurt more than not having Caylee around, Casey realized she could never tell what happened. Casey stuck to her already debunked “nanny” story because in that story the child was alive but just “missing.” She would rather take the knowledge of her daughter’s death to her grave than tell her parents.
Judging by her apparent emotional detachment, she compartmentalized the death. It didn’t happen. The dead child in her trunk was not Caylee. It couldn’t be. Her child was happily enjoying her days at Disney and the beach with the nanny. She believed in her heart that her child was alive. But her delusion met reality on December 11, 2008.
She was asked by the detectives if her child was in a better place; she said “no.” She was asked if she sold her child; she said “no.” She was told that the media said Caylee drowned; she said “surprise, surprise.”
Why didn’t she say “no?” Which is the lie and which is the truth?
The real question is if this is the truth, would you believe it?
Note: This blog is, first and foremost, a refutation of the State’s theory in accordance with all of the evidence. It is NOT an affirmation of the defense’s theory. Please read the previous posts (the Chloroform, the Duct Tape, the Trunk, the Cover-Up, and the Analysis) for perspective.