Who killed Caylee Anthony? From the moment the Orlando two-year-old turned up missing in 2008, on through the sensational murder trial that ensued, and up to a couple of brash interviews in 2017, the court of public opinion has long looked sternly and even furiously in the direction of Casey Anthony, the dead child’s mother.
Regardless, on July 5, 2011, a jury in an actual court of Florida law found Casey not guilty. Since then, no further proof has arisen to suggest that the jury got it wrong — or, to be fair, that all the circumstantial evidence that got Casey arrested in the first place did not actually paint a compelling portrait of a killer.
Even Judge Belvin Perry, who presided over the Casey Anthony trial, chimed in last month to say he believes that Casey Anthony “more than likely” killed little Caylee. He added that he thinks it was accidental, saying: “There was a possibility that [Casey] may have utilized [chloroform] to keep the baby quiet … and just used too much of it, and the baby died.”
No matter what, though, the verdict stands. And, just as surely, so do other theories regarding possibilities as to who else may have killed Caylee Anthony. Some proved ineffective in court, some are just pure conjecture, and some are more than a bit bonkers. Take a look at these four.
Watch Investigation Discovery’s three-part investigation, Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery, on Saturday, April 15 at 7/6c or online now.
THEORY #1: CAYLEE DROWNED ACCIDENTALLY
Jose Baez, Casey Anthony’s defense attorney, stunned observers when he presented a previously unheard theory as to Caylee’s death during his opening argument of the murder trial.
Addressing the court, Baez said:
“How in the world can a mother wait 30 days before ever reporting her child missing? That’s insane, that’s bizarre…. The answer is actually relatively simple. She never was missing. Caylee Anthony died on June 16, 2008, when she drowned in her family’s swimming pool.”
The defense went on to claim that George Anthony, Casey’s father, discovered Caylee’s lifeless body, took her out of the water, and told Casey he’d “take care” of disposing of the toddler’s corpse.
Because of the skeletal condition of Caylee’s remains, medical examiners could neither prove nor disprove that she drowned. While Casey was said to be “inattentive” to Caylee in social situations, no allegations of physical abuse ever arose, suggesting that the two-year-old may have simply slipped off by herself and fallen in the water.
Later, another theory cropped up arguing against this possible explanation. Reportedly, Casey Anthony spent time in a cell next to April Whalen, a convict whose own 15-month-old son drowned in a swimming pool and was discovered by Whalen’s father. It does seem notably coincidental. [ABC News]
THEORY #2: GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY’S FATHER, DROWNED CAYLEE
The other shock allegation made in Jose Baez’s opening statement was that family members had sexually abused Casey Anthony from her childhood onward until the year before she had Caylee.
Specifically, Casey accused her brother, Lee Anthony, and her father, George Anthony, of molesting and raping her, beginning when she was eight. In fact, Casey worried that Lee or George may have actually been Caylee’s father. DNA tests later cleared both men.
Of the two, she said George violated her more frequently. During an intense pretrial psychological evaluation conducted by psychiatrist Jeffrey Danziger, Casey alleged that George forced her to commit acts that she described as “disgusting, demeaning, intercourse, and everything.”
She said she coped by becoming an A-student and behaving properly, telling the doctor:
Danziger also testified that Casey told him she believes George killed Caylee and disposed of the baby’s remains.
“How do you handle the unspeakable? By putting it in a little box, hiding it deep, pretending all is well. Doing that since age eight, since elementary school, I became exceedingly perfect.”
Casey alleged that George woke her up one morning holding Caylee’s dead, sopping wet body. She told Danziger:
“I took her from him and collapsed on the porch. He was yelling at me … your fault, couldn’t believe you did this…. He left the house … saying, ‘Daddy is going to take care of it…. I think he held her underwater, maybe he was doing something to her and tried to cover it up…. I don’t think it’s an accident and I didn’t do it.”
George Anthony has not been charged in any crime connected to the disappearance or death of Caylee Anthony. [Fox News]
THEORY #3: CONVICTED KIDNAPPER VASCO THOMPSON CONSPIRED WITH GEORGE ANTHONY
In one weird turn that ultimately went nowhere, Casey Anthony’s defense team sought to question Orlando resident Vasco Thompson, a convicted felon sentenced to ten years in 1988 for kidnapping.
Casey’s attorneys claimed Thompson “was connected to George Anthony through his cell phone records.”
Thompson responded by telling reporters:
“I don’t know how they got me involved in all this mess. I have no idea who George Anthony is.”
Records show four calls between George Anthony and Thompson on July 14, 2008 — the day before Caylee was reported missing.
Thompson told authorities that he had an entirely different phone number at the time, and that he only got the number being cited by the defense in February 2009.
The Florida Civil Rights Association protested the calling of Thompson, stating:
“Jose Baez connected the oldest and most infamous use of racial stereotyping by setting the stage to claim ‘The Black Guy Did It’ in the Casey Anthony Trial.“
Ultimately, Thompson did not participate in the trial. [Orlando Sentinel]
THEORY #4: CASEY ANTHONY IS AN ILLUMINATI PUPPET
We’re including this one just to demonstrate how deeply the Casey Anthony case permeated the public psyche — to the point that it reached the furthermost fringes of, frankly, nuttiness — and led to what gossip columnist Perez Hilton called “the craziest lawsuit ever.”
In October 2012, a Pennsylvania woman named Naomi Riches filed a $3 billion — that’s with a “b” — lawsuit against Casey Anthony, alleging that the “Tot Mom” was an agent of the secret, world-ruling society the Illuminati, and that Anthony threatened to kill her.
According to the suit, Riches claimed:
“Casey Anthony called my house August 2011 and told me that my life was being exploited and that I was a hated nation wife, she told me she would come to my house in Fort Collins, Colorado and kill me just as they did Peggy Hettrick in 1987.
She let me know that my left eye would be stabbed out as a part of the Illuminati symbolism.
She told me that the government was going to find a way to tap into my water pipes and poison my water supply. I was terrified to shower and drink water for months. I had to spend $600.00 on bottled water.”
Judge David Baker, the lucky official assigned to the case, tossed the suit out, stating “the fantastic allegations do not meet the plausibility standard.” [Huffington Post]
Main photo: Casey Anthony on July 7, 2011. [Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel]