It’s been almost nine years since the remains of Caylee Anthony were found in a wooded area in Orlando, FL, and the question on everyone’s mind remains: How did Casey Anthony’s daughter die? It looks like what really happened that summer will forever remain a mystery, but here’s what we do know about the sweet two-year-old’s disappearance.
Caylee was reported missing by her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, on July 15, 2008, after she had not seen the little girl for 31 days. She explained to police that her daughter’s car smelled like a dead body had been inside of it, but Casey claimed not to know the toddler’s whereabouts.
Casey and Caylee.
After spinning several stories, including one that involved Caylee being kidnapped by a nanny, Casey was charged with first-degree murder in October 2008. Two months later, Caylee’s skeleton was found inside a trash bag near her family’s home. She had duct tape on her skull. Ultimately, the medical examiner was unable to determine the cause of death, but did rule it a homicide.
During the murder trial — which ended with Casey’s acquittal, much to the public’s dismay — her defense team claimed that Caylee had accidentally drowned in the family’s swimming pool and that George Anthony, Casey’s father, had disposed of the body.
The defense argued that Casey didn’t tell authorities because of her dysfunctional upbringing, which allegedly included sexual abuse by her father as a child — a claim he vehemently denied in court and still does today. In a recent interview, Casey insisted that she still doesn’t know what happened to Caylee.
“The last time I saw my daughter, I believed she was alive and was going to be okay, and that’s what was told to me. My father told me she was going to be okay. That she was okay,” the 31-year-old told the Associated Press. One thing we do know for sure: a little girl’s life ended far too soon.