Deputies: Child’s Remains Found In Wooded Area Near Caylee Anthony’s Home
ORLANDO, Fla. — A utility worker on Thursday found the skeletal remains of a child in Orange County in a wooded area located less than half a mile from the home of George and Cindy Anthony, whose 3-year-old granddaughter, Caylee, has been missing since mid-June, authorities said.
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The remains, located inside a garbage bag, were discovered by the worker around 9:30 a.m. near South Chickasaw Trail and Suburban Drive, less than four-tenths of a mile from the Anthonys’ home on Hopespring DrivOrange County sheriff’s deputies said it’s too early to tell if the body is that of Caylee.
Local 6 News reporter Jessica D’Onofrio confirmed that the remains are likely that of a girl. D’Onofrio said the worker saw the garbage bag, opened it, saw the remains of a child and called 911.
A skull was found nearby, and there was duct tape in and around the garbage bag, D’Onofrio reported.
“Deputies did respond to that area, and once we were on the scene, we determined that we do have the remains of a young child. Obviously, our concern is that it’s in close proximity to some recent activity in that part of the county, and it’s incumbent upon us to determine what we have,” said Orange County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Solomons, referring to the Casey Anthony case.
The age and gender of the remains are not known.
The area of the discovery has been blocked off, and FBI agents, along with sheriff’s detectives, are investigating the wooded area.
Tim Miller, the leader of EquuSearch, a Texas-based group that has performed numerous searches for Caylee’s body, said he talked with FBI agents, who told him that they believe the remains belong to Caylee.
“It would be inappropriate to speculate,” Orange County sheriff’s Capt. Angelo Nieves said. “Our investigators are on scene, evaluating and processing the situation. It’s very early.”
Nieves said that George and Cindy Anthony have been notified about the discovery.
Leonard Padilla, a bounty hunter who initially bailed Casey Anthony out of jail and searched for Caylee, said, “It’s a bittersweet day.”
“We drove by (the wooded area where the remains were found) dozens of times. We heard that there were searches going on in that area,” Padilla said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is also working with officials of an elementary school located near where the remains were found to coordinate an orderly dismissal.
Buses taking students from Hidden Oaks Elementary will be escorted to and from the school so as to not interfere with the crime scene, Orange County school officials said.
Cindy Anthony first called authorities in July to say she hadn’t seen Caylee for a month and her daughter’s car smelled like death.
Police immediately interviewed Casey Anthony and said that everything she told them about her Caylee’s whereabouts was false.
Casey Anthony said she left Caylee with a baby sitter named Zenaida Gonzalez at an Orange County apartment complex, and the two were missing when she returned to pick up Caylee. Detectives said the baby sitter was nonexistent and the apartment where Anthony said she had last seen Caylee had been empty for months. Anthony also lied about where she worked, detectives said.
As the case unfolded, troubling details emerged. Photos of Anthony partying after her daughter went missing surfaced. Friends said she was a habitual liar, but they also said that she was a good mother.
Earlier this month, the Orange County state attorney turned over almost 800 pages of documents, which showed someone at the Anthony home had done Internet searches for terms like “neck breaking” and “household weapons.”
In mid-March, someone used the Anthonys’ home laptop to search Google and Wikipedia for peroxide, shovels, acetone, alcohol and chloroform. Traces of chloroform, which is used to induce unconsciousness and also a component of human decomposition, were found in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car during forensic testing, the documents said.
Orange County jail officials also released several hours of videotapes of visits between Casey Anthony and her family from July and August, when she was arrested on neglect and other counts but before she was charged with first-degree murder.
During the taped visits, Anthony’s parents tell her they’re trying hard to find the little girl. Anthony does not appear to add information to aid that search beyond her account that a baby sitter took the girl.
Last week, prosecutors announced they would not pursue the death penalty for Anthony.
The Orange County State Attorney’s Office said in a news release last week that “it is not in the best interest of the people of the state of Florida” to pursue the death penalty against Anthony.
Meanwhile, Local 6 has confirmed that a motion for a change of venue has been prepared by Baez, but the motion has not yet been filed.
A pretrial hearing was held Thursday morning in the first-degree murder case, and Baez waived his client’s right to a speedy trial, and the case was moved to the court’s March docket. A status hearing was scheduled with a tentative date of Jan. 15. Anthony’s trial had been scheduled to begin Jan. 5.e