Much of the firestorm surrounding the 2008 disappearance and death of two-year-old Caylee Anthony was infamously inflamed by the reported falsehoods and fabrications of Casey Anthony, the toddler’s mother who eventually stood trial for the girl’s murder — and beat the rap.
Time after time, police and prosecutors seemed to catch Casey Anthony engaged in deception before, during, and after the courtroom proceedings that so powerfully enraptured and often infuriated the press and the public.
Still, on July 5, 2011, a jury ruled that Anthony’s guilt in Caylee’s killing had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and the woman harangued as “Tot Mom” won an acquittal.
Even if Anthony didn’t kill Caylee — which is what we must presume — her path to freedom was reportedly not one built on honesty. Here are four crucial incidents wherein Casey Anthony’s claims did not match up with reality.
Watch Investigation Discovery’s three-part investigation, Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery, on Saturday, April 15 at 7/6c or online now.
LIE #1: ANTHONY CLAIMED SHE SPOKE TO CAYLEE — AFTER THE LITTLE GIRL HAD DIED
The tragic saga is said to have commenced on June 16, 2008, when Casey Anthony took Caylee and left the Orlando, Florida, home of Casey’s parents, George and Cindy Anthony. For the next 31 days, George and Cindy did not see Casey or Caylee. When asked what was up, Casey said she was on work detail in Tampa Bay.
The mystery deepened after George got a notice to pick up Casey’s car from an impound lot, and noted that the interior smelled like a decomposing body. On July 15, Cindy Anthony called the police to report Caylee missing.
Casey immediately claimed that Caylee had been abducted and that she’d just spoken with her on the phone, saying:
“She was excited to talk to me. She said, ‘Hi, mommy!’… Today was the first time I have heard her voice in over four weeks. After 31 days, I know that all that matters is getting my daughter back.”
Investigators later determined that Casey had already been dead for weeks. In fact, even Casey’s defense conceded that to be true, claiming that Caylee drowned in the family’s swimming pool on June 16. [ABC News]
LIE #2: CASEY BLAMED IT ON HER BABYSITTER — WHO WASN’T HER BABYSITTER
During her 31 days away, Anthony occasionally claimed that she left Caylee with a babysitter named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, who she nicknamed “Zanny the Nanny.” She further stated that Zanny the Nanny took off with Caylee and had been holding her captive.
In identifying Zanny, Anthony said they had met through a mutual friend named Jeffery Michael Hopkins. Anthony mentioned that she dated Hopkins briefly, and that Zanny was his current girlfriend. She also described Zanny’s apartment in great detail and told police:
“This is the honest to God’s truth. I don’t know where [Caylee] is. The last person that I saw her with is Zenaida.”
In addition, Anthony said that Hopkins was rich, worked for Nickelodeon, and that his son Zachary frequently played with Caylee. None of this was true.
When police asked for contact info, Anthony told them, “Zenaida’s number has switched a couple times, and Jeff’s number changed.”
Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez did prove to be an actual person, but “Zanny the Nanny” did not. The real Fernandez-Gonazelz had no relationship whatsoever with Anthony, Caylee, or Jeff Hopkins. She later sued Casey Anthony for defamation.
Jeff Hopkins attended middle school with Casey Anthony. Except for a single time years earlier when they ran into one another at a bar, he had not been in touch with her since then. He also didn’t have any children and had never met anyone named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez. [People]
LIE #3: ANTHONY SAID SHE WORKED AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS — WHEN SHE DIDN’T WORK ANYWHERE
For years, George and Cindy Anthony believed their daughter was working as an event planner at Universal Studios. She actually did have a job on the lot four years prior, with a Universal subcontractor. After that, Anthony simply pretended to still be employed.
The lie deepened as Anthony made up coworkers, notably a friend named Juliette Lewis (yes, just like the famous Hollywood actress). Anthony said that Lewis did a lot of volunteer work, prompting Cindy to drop by Universal to meet with Lewis about a fundraiser. Cindy waited 90 minutes. Lewis never showed. Anthony explained that Lewis had moved to New York. Later, Universal said the company had no record of an employee named Juliette Lewis.
Anthony attempted to keep up the Universal job ruse during police questioning. At one point, officers accompanied her to the studio and asked to see her office. Anthony led them on around on a walk for a while before finally breaking down and admitting she no longer worked there. [International Business Times]
LIE #4: CASEY LIED ABOUT NOT LYING
Even though she dodged a guilty murder verdict and a potential death sentence, Casey Anthony did get convicted and sentenced to four years in July 2011 for lying under oath. Because she had already served three years, she was released from prison shortly thereafter.
Still, it’s reported that the lies may have continued.
While being deposed in 2014 in regard to the defamation suit filed by Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, Anthony continued to insist that “Zanny the Nanny” was real. She said that she met Zanny at Universal Studios in 2006 and that she babysat for Caylee just once. Most notably, Anthony did finally admit that she had made up the story about dropping Caylee off with Zanny the day of the disappearance, despite telling police it was “the God’s honest truth.”
When asked if the term “Zanny the Nanny” could be, in fact, a code for the drug Xanax, which could have been used to knock out little Caylee, an upset Anthony categorically denied it.
Anthony further added that she still did not know how to contact Zanny the Nanny and that she never implicated the plaintiff Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez in the crime, stating emphatically:
“That’s never been the case and that will never be the truth. So let’s get that straight right here and now. You can ask a hundred more ridiculous questions. I’m not going to answer them. I’m done here.”
As it stands now, with Casey Anthony having just recently broken her public silence, it’s tough to imagine that these “ridiculous questions” will ever actually stop coming. [Daily Mail]
Main photo: Casey Anthony on July 1, 2011 [Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT]