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Casey Anthony Murder Trial To Begin, Nearly Three Years After Caylee Anthony Disappeared

Caseycaylee

First Posted: 05/23/11 04:00 PM ET Updated: 07/23/11 06:12 AM ET

Opening statements in the State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, one of the Sunshine State's most sensational child murder cases, is scheduled to start Tuesday in Orlando. Three years in the making, the trial is expected to call more than 300 prosecution and defense witnesses and will last an estimated eight weeks.

It all started on July 15, 2008, with a phone call to 911 from Casey Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, to report the disappearance of two-year-old Caylee Anthony.

"I found out my granddaughter has been taken, she has been missing," a distraught Cindy Anthony told a 911 dispatcher. "My daughter [Casey] finally admitted that she's [Caylee's] been missing ... There is something wrong. I found my daughter's car today, [and] it smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car."

Caylee was last seen by family members on June 16, 2008. Questioned by police, Casey Anthony alleged her daughter had been abducted by her babysitter.

Cindy Anthony's 911 call launched a missing child investigation unmatched by any other in recent history by size and scope. In the weeks that followed, some 1,500 to 1,800 people -- volunteers from all over the United States -- scoured the area near Anthony's home.

As the search for Caylee grew in intensity, investigators examined every detail of her mother's story. They discovered that not only had Casey Anthony been lying about her place of employment, but she had also been deceitful about other details regarding her daughter's disappearance.

Citing her lack of cooperation, authorities arrested Anthony and charged her with child neglect, making false official statements and obstructing an investigation.

"Based on the repetitive lies that the defendant has told, we do not know with whom the child is or even if the child is alive," Corporal Yuri Melich wrote in the arrest affidavit.

After searching Anthony's car, Melich told Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland that he was concerned by a "very bad smell" that he said was present in the car.

"I was a homicide detective for two years with the Orange County Sheriff's Office, and in my experience, the smell that I smelled in that car was the smell of decomposition," Melich said.

Investigators were unable to verify the existence of Anthony's alleged babysitter, even though she had Anthony said she had been babysitting the toddler for more than a year. Questioned by police, Cindy Anthony said she had never had any personal interactions with the sitter.

"Not a bit of useful information has been provided by Ms. Anthony as to the whereabouts of her daughter," Judge Strickland said during a July 22 bond hearing. "And I would add that the truth and Ms. Anthony are strangers."

On August 9, 2008, Caylee's third birthday came and went. The child's disappearance remained a mystery. The following week, Leonard Padilla, a celebrity bounty hunter from Sacramento, California, posted Anthony's $500,000 bond. Padilla told the media he was convinced that he could get Anthony to talk.

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  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Casey Anthony goes over paperwork during a break on the final day of arguments in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Assist. State Attorney Linda Drane Burdick presents the final portion of rebuttal at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 5, 2011

    Casey Anthony stands for the arrival of the jury at the start of the second day of jury deliberations in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Spectators in the courtroom listen to the rebuttal presented by Assist. State Attorney Jeff Ashton on the final day of arguments in the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton gives the final rebuttal in the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Judge Belvin Perry listens as Assist. State Attorney Jeff Ashton present rebuttal on the last day of arguments in the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Casey Anthony with her attorney Dorothy Clay Sims on the last day of arguments in Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 4, 2011

    Cindy Anthony, wearing bracelets in tribute to her granddaughter Caylee Anthony, listens during the final day of arguments in the trial of her daughter Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, July 4, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Defense attorney Cheney Mason presents a burden of proof chart during closing arguments of the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Jose Baez points and yells in the direction of the prosecution table during his closing arguments in the Casey Anthony murder trial in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Judge Belvin Perry called a sidebar during the arguments to deal with the outburst. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder charges in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted on the charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    George Anthony listens to closing arguments in the murder trial of his daughter, Casey, in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday, July 3, 2011. Casey Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Casey Anthony reacts while listening to the state's closing arguments in her murder trial in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty, if convicted.

  • Casey Anthony Trial July 3, 2011

    Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton presents closing arguments for the state in the murder trial of Casey Anthony in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, July 3, 2011. Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Casey Anthony gestures during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, has plead not guilty in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Spectator Matthew Bartlett is taken away by sheriff deputies on a contempt charge for his obscene gesture toward assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton during Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Casey Anthony, 25, has plead not guilty in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Lee Anthony testifies during the murder trial of his sister Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse on June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Anthony's defense attorneys argued that she didn't kill her two-year-old daughter Caylee, but that she accidentally drowned.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 30, 2011

    Krystal Holloway, also known as River Cruz, reacts when questioned about transcripts from her police statements during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, June 30, 2011. Holloway claims to have had an affair with George Anthony, Casey's father.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 29, 2011

    George Anthony reacts during his testimony in the murder trial of his daughter, Casey, in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, June 29, 2011. Casey Anthony has plead not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Casey Anthony sits in court at her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Lee Anthony, right, returns to his seat next to his mother Cindy Anthony after he testified in the murder trial of sister Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    An aerial photo showing the location where Caylee Anthony's remains were found is projected on a courtroom monitor in the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Roy Kronk, a meter reader for Orange County, testifies during the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Tuesday, June 28, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 28, 2011

    Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found Caylee Anthony's remains, testifies in the murder trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, June 28.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    Defense attorney Jose Baez, left and Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton, center, look over evidence with witness Dr. Kenneth Furton, a forensic chemist, during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, June 27, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    Casey Anthony, left, listens to her attorney Anne Finnell before the start of court in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, June 27, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    Jason Forgey, a canine handler for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, testifies during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Monday, June 27, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with the murder of her 2-year old daughter in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 27, 2011

    An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows a portion of a Powerpoint presentation entered into evidence at the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 27, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Cindy Anthony testifies during her daughter Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony is charged with killing her daughter, Caylee in 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Casey Anthony sits at the defense table during a recess during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, June 23, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Evidence is lined up in front of Dr. Barry Logan, an analytic chemist, as he waits to testify on day 26 of Casey Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Anthony is charged with killing her daughter, Caylee.

  • Casey Anthony Trial Photos

    An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows a photograph entered into evidence during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 23, 2011

    Judge Belvin Perry on day 26 of Casey Anthony's 1st-degree murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial Photos

    A picture of computer reports from the Anthony desktop computer is shown on a courtroom monitor on day 26 of Casey Anthony's first degree murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 23, 2011. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008. (AP Photo/Red Huber, Pool)

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Casey Anthony talks with her attorney Jose Baez, left, during a recess in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Cindy Anthony listens in court during the trial of her daughter Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial Photos

    An image projected on a courtroom monitor shows a photo entered into evidence in the trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Dr. Michael Sigman testifies about air samples during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 22, 2011

    Maureen Bottrell, a forensic geologist for the FBI, testifies in the trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Judge Belvin Perry, center, holds a sidebar conference with attorneys in the Casey Anthony murder trail in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, June 20, 2011. An infuriated Perry warned the Anthony defense and prosecution today that he is getting fed up with games being played during the course of the trial. Court was recessed early without explanation.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton listens to Judge Belvin Perry's directions during the Casey Anthony trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 20, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Defense attorney Jose Baez, second from right, and his client Casey Anthony listen to assistant state attorney Jeff Ashton talk to Judge Belvin Perry, not pictured, before the start of court at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 20, 2011. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT)

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 20, 2011

    Casey Anthony enters the courtroom for the 22nd day of her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida, Monday, June 20, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial

    During forensic expert Dr. Spitz's testimony, Casey Anthony turns her head away when photos of the skull of her daughter, Caylee Marie, were shown at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 18, 2011

    Forensic expert Dr. Werner Spitz testifies in the trial of Casey Anthony, talking about autopsy results of the remains of Caylee Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 18, 2011

    Chief Judge Belvin Perry expresses deep frustration at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011, that defense attorney Jose Baez attempted to elicit critical testimony from William Rodriguez, testimony that had not been disclosed to the prosecution earlier. Perry may end up punishing Baez with a contempt finding, but he reserved ruling on that matter. Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 18, 2011

    Casey Anthony, right, consoles her attorney Jose Baez after Chief Judge Belvin Perry expressed deep frustration that defense attorney Jose Baez attempted to elicit critical testimony from William Rodriguez, testimony that had not been disclosed to the prosecution earlier. Perry may end up punishing Baez with a contempt finding, but he reserved ruling on that matter. at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, June 18, 2011.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    Casey Anthony is shown at the defense table before the start of court in her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    Dr. Tim Huntington, forensic entomologist, testifies during the murder trial of Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    An evidence photo showing trash found in the trunk of a car is held by an attorney during the Casey Anthony murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 17, 2011

    George Anthony listens to testimony during the murder trial of his daughter Casey Anthony at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 17, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008.

  • Casey Anthony Trial June 16, 2011

    Casey Anthony, with her attorney Cheney Mason, during day 20 of her first-degree murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, June 16, 2011.

Throughout the remainder of August 2008, investigators continued to gather evidence in the case. They enlisted the help of scientists at the University of Tennessee to examine air samples from the trunk of Anthony's car. The results allegedly indicated a decomposing human body had been kept there at some point.

Investigators also revealed the existence of DNA tests, which they claim showed a stain and hair samples inside the trunk that indicated Caylee was dead. From this point on, the Orange County Sheriff's Office began referring to Casey Anthony as a "suspect," rather than a "person of interest," in her daughter's disappearance.

Anthony found little reprieve before a Florida grand jury, which, in October of 2008, passed down an indictment against her on charges that she murdered her daughter.

Anthony was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of lying to investigators. After entering a not guilty plea to all counts, Anthony was ordered held without bond.

The search for Caylee came to a sober conclusion on December 11, 2008, when a utility worker found a child's skeletal remains in a wooded area not far from the Anthony family home.

"With regret, I am here to inform you that the skeletal remains found on December 11 are those of the missing toddler Caylee Anthony," Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia said during a December 19, 2008 news conference.

The public memorial for Caylee was held at the First Baptist Church of Orlando on Feb. 10, 2009. Some 1,200 people attended the service.

For the next two years, legal jockeying in the case continued with motions examined, witnesses deposed and evidentiary hearings held. All in all, about $500,000 was spent preparing the case for trial.

Jury selection finally began about two weeks ago and ended on Friday with the seating of 12 jurors and five alternates. All of them were chosen from Pinellas County, which is located about two hours west of Orlando.

Starting at 9 a.m. on May 24, an overall jury pool of nine women and eight men will listen to the sum of the prosecution's efforts and the rebuttals of the defense, which is expected to point the finger at what Anthony's lawyers have reportedly perceived as inept police work and junk science.

On the eve of the trial, Anthony remains incarcerated in the Orange County Jail -- a limbo between freedom and prison. The outcome of case is yet to be determined. The showdown between both sides will inevitably come down to one key determination: the amount of culpability, if any, Anthony holds in her daughter's death.

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