October 14th, 2008
02:00 PM ET

Body of Evidence

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/14/art.cayleemom.jpg]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A group of people, their identities secret, are meeting in Orlando today to decide whether a young mother should be charged with murdering her child.

The woman is of course Casey Anthony. For months, she has dodged media questions while denying any involvement in the disappearance of 3-year-old Caylee Anthony.

Investigators appear all but certain that Caylee was killed, and say they believe Casey may be connected to the death of her daughter.

But if she murdered Caylee, what and where is the evidence?

Enter that secret group of people, a grand jury. The panel will listen to testimony related to the months-long mystery. Prosecutors have a much lower burden of proof than what is required for conviction at a criminal trial. The threshold is probable cause. If 12 of the 15 to 21 members of the grand jury say there is sufficient probable cause that Casey murdered her daughter, an indictment will be issued against her.

As for the evidence, here’s what we know: Casey allegedly provided multiple inconsistent statements to police: contradictions in her story, changes in her timeline, and details that authorities say just don’t add up, including Casey’s claim that she left Caylee with a babysitter even though investigators say the woman told them she doesn’t know Casey.

Also, there are the frantic 911 calls from Caylee’s grandmother, screaming into the phone that there is the smell of death in the car used by Casey. Police say they also found traces of chloroform in the car along with indications of a decomposing body.

The jury could also opt for a lesser charge, like manslaughter, or may decide there is not enough evidence to suggest Casey committed a crime. The greatest hurdle for the prosecution is the fact that there is no body. However, legal experts say cases like this, while uncommon, may not be as difficult to prove as some might imagine. All that is required is overwhelming evidence that would lead people to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that someone was the victim of foul play.

Casey continues to have her supporters, especially her family. They were, however, the first ones to express concern about Casey and Caylee to the authorities. And it is the words they gave to the police that, in the end, may be some of the most damaging testimony against her.

Casey's life has become very public. But her fate may be decided in secret.

Filed under: Caylee Anthony • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. JMBall

    I have been following this case from day one. This woman Casey is the most unemotional person I have ever seen!! In the wake of her missing daughter she has never, never shed a single tear!!! However when indicted on murder charges last night she then CRIED!!!! If she was innocent she would have been begging and pleading with the public to help find her daughter. Never once did she do that or shed a single tear for her missing daughter. That in itself tells the whole story even without the mounds of evidence against her. I pray justice is served and they find her guilty on every single count and then some!!!!!

    October 15, 2008 at 10:52 am |
  2. Sorcha

    The same people defending this idiot woman are the ones who still think OJ is innocent. Of his first trial.

    She killed Caylee (or caused her to be killed) and no, they will likely not find her remains: Florida–summertime? Hello? I think her father (Caylee's grandpa) will finally come before the Grand Jury with the damning evidence/testimony that will sink Casey. Oh, and can everyone PLEASE stop calling her "the mother." She's more accurately described as "the unwilling birth pod."

    This beyotch is going down (and not on a stripper pole!).

    October 15, 2008 at 10:00 am |
  3. Heather,Ca

    All I can say is its about time. For some reason the FBI crime lab in VA isnt good enough for Casey Anthonys def lawyer. He has repeatedly gone on TV and insulted them. If they are good enough for the White House, the State Dept,the CIA and other countries who routinely request for their expert experience when a terrorist attack happens the grand jury knows it to. I feel really bad for George Anthony who was a Sheriff. He is living in the real world while his wife and daughter live in a world f their own making. I think most if not all people who have been watching the daily events in this case think of Susan Smith who at least was able to for the public manage some tears for us to see. Casey Anthony does the exact opposite. Of course she lies like no other. I think the very FBI she hates that her lawyer insults will most likely use her for a good case study at the FBI acadamy in VA.

    October 14, 2008 at 9:56 pm |
  4. Sunshine in North Carolina

    There is no evidence that she killed her daughter.
    What if ~

    The little girl was abused by a family member and she placed her in the underground for protecting children.

    Nancy Grace has found her guilty from the very beginning, she has no mercy.

    No body No guilt

    October 14, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  5. tanya slidell,la.

    Its' to late for her to cry now . For months they have asked this woman where her child is and she can't keep one story together . She's getting what she deserve. I just hope they find the childs body for a proper burial

    October 14, 2008 at 8:36 pm |
  6. Sandi AZ

    I feel before this story is over, the whole family will be indicted in this terrible cover-up.

    October 14, 2008 at 8:21 pm |
  7. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Even if she is guilty, I think she'll qualify for the insanity plea and get off. Meanwhile, a little girl is probably dead at the hands of her mother and a family is destroyed. Thank God the grandfather had the sense to protect his grandchild over his daughter. And sadly, some nimrod from Lifetime will make a movie out of this before next summer and exploit this kid for all she's worth.

    October 14, 2008 at 7:41 pm |
  8. Jane A

    I knew it would only be a matter of time before she was charged
    in the murder of her daughter and I, for one, am not surprised.
    I believe that she killed her dauther and got rid of the body
    well enough that authorities can't find it. She had 31 days to get rid
    of a little body...well she had less than that, because she spent a huge amount of that time acting like a single, childless woman than a mother with a missing little girl.
    I hope to God that the truth comes out, that they find the body and it'll be proved once & for all she did what no one wants to believe she did.
    If she's "innocent" then why isn't she talking..oh wait, she's talking she's just not making sense. She's lying, she's no cooperating, her car spelled like a dead body, she's out partying like there is no tomorrow...gimme a break. She's so guilty....
    and I guarantee when the trial is over, the jury will agree with me.

    October 14, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  9. Jim

    I say send her to GITMO- Bet they could find out what happened to the Little girl- ANYONE doing something like that aught to be classed as a TERRORIST & dealt with accordingly.

    October 14, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  10. Sherri/GA

    Why would any one lie, lie LIE like she has if everything is on the
    up and up????????????? People lie to cover themselves when
    they did something they know was wrong! Prison no parole would
    serve this lying, taking up air horrible person.

    October 14, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  11. Marcus

    She did... you people just dont want to admit that somebody can do it. I think she has some type of narcissitic sickness, and needs serious help. Put her in a strait jacket and and give her a frontal lobe, just like they did to jack in One Flew over the Coo Coos nest. Look maybe not that extream but seriously lets not jump to conclusions till we here the full story.... everybody is innocent until prooven, guilty, except OJ... he was found Guilty.

    October 14, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  12. elizabeth

    either she killed her daughter and is in denial or this women is being telling the truth,but DNA DOES NOT LIE. and i have a baby her age and it breaks my heart. she is going down and caylee will be found in the woods or near the airport . and may her grand parents have peace. and may casey go straight to hell. god help us,. haVE WE NOT LEARN FROM SUSAN SMITH. OR THE LADY IN TEXAS................. HOW SAD. PLEASE LET'S STILL LOOK FOR CAYLEE DEAD OR ALIVE. PLEASE......... NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP! BRING HER BODY HOME

    October 14, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  13. Angela Krieger, Virginia

    Can she bargain her way out at this point? Confess and lead investigators to the body and then NOT get as severe of a punishment as she would if found guilty? Just curious.

    I think she did it. Any sane mother that loves her child would not do the things this woman has done.

    A decomposing body in a trunk–or evidence there-of, and a missing child is enough to know that something tragic happened to the child.

    October 14, 2008 at 4:34 pm |
  14. Carl

    Motive? How about Casey wanted to be a single, unattached woman again, without the responsibility of caring for a child? After all, having to care for a child cuts into all-night partying, boyfriends, costs money, etc.

    Sounds like the "proof" is extra-thin on this one...and it may be impossible to convince a jury that she's guilty...

    The Grand Jury only indicts. It'll be up to the prosecutor to prove guilt. Until then, we must assume her innocence. She makes it hard to support that assumption though, based on her behavior and constant lies.

    October 14, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  15. Kim B

    Pump her full of some of that truth serum. I really don't care about her personal rights. Caylee's are more important.

    October 14, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  16. Suze

    I know this is unlikely but could this Casey be just conning us all for a big law suit to come. Maybe she did stash her beautiful child away with someone knowing all this would happen so when her daughter is returned then boom she sues the news, police, everyone who falsely blamed her. I actually hope that is right for then that sweet child is alive but I know its probably false, but something in this case just doesn't add up but truthfully I change the channel when they talk about it so I don't know much for its all too much to hear all the time about... charger her, try her and/or find the child and stop reporting on it like that Nancy Grace nonstop for it is too morose to keep obsessing on it... either put those energies into finding the girl or just let the courts decide the mother's guilt or innocence – enough is enough!

    October 14, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  17. norma b

    I don't think she killed her

    October 14, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  18. Cindy

    Casey lies so much it is pathetic! At this point you can't believe a word that she says. Unfortunately we may never know the real truth. I assume the grand jury will send this to trial but getting a conviction may harder than they think.


    October 14, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  19. Annie Kate


    Don't you have to have motive for a murder conviction? Are they saying what Casey's motive was? I hate to think of any mother killing her child although I know it happens far more often than it should. It would be good for everyone involved if Casey would just tell the truth but at this point she has lied so much who would believe her?

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 14, 2008 at 2:06 pm |