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Casey Anthony's Parents: Were they involved in Caylee's death?

George Anthony, Casey Anthony's father, preparing to take a polygraph test
Image: George Anthony wired up to a polygraph machine | Casey Anthony's Parents: The Lie Detector Test

In Casey Anthony's Parents: The Lie Detector Test, George and Cindy Anthony agree to undergo polygraph tests to answer the lingering questions about their alleged involvement in Caylee's death. Stream now on Crime + Investigation Play.

When Casey Anthony was hauled into court for the murder of her own daughter, it triggered a media frenzy unlike anything seen since the OJ Simpson trial. Now, her parents have submitted to lie detector tests probing the question: was her father actually culpable?

The ‘trial of the century’

The details of the Casey Anthony case have been enshrined in true crime lore: how her two-year-old daughter Caylee vanished without a trace, how the apparently unperturbed Casey partied while her child was missing, how Casey lied to investigators about Caylee being abducted by a babysitter, and how the child’s body was found buried close to the home of Casey’s parents, George and Cindy.

The case, which went to trial in Florida in 2011, had three key elements that guaranteed a media sensation. There was a defenceless, infant victim. There was a conventionally attractive white female suspect who’d been portrayed (in the words of her lawyer) as a ‘lying, no-good slut’. And there was incendiary family in-fighting, with Casey’s defence team claiming that her father, George, and her brother, Lee, had sexually abused her.

Casey’s claims of innocence were met with incredulity by many people watching, and even the presiding judge was ‘shocked’ when the jury delivered a not guilty verdict.

Casey vs George

During the trial, Casey Anthony’s legal team had claimed that, far from being deliberately killed so that her mother could carry on partying and having fun, little Caylee had accidentally drowned in the family pool.

In the words of Casey’s attorney, ‘Casey should have been strong. Casey should have called 911. Casey should have done the right thing.’ Instead, she and George conspired to hide the body. The defence contended that Casey’s coping mechanism for trauma – instilled in her by the alleged sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of George and Lee – accounted for her weirdly aloof behaviour during Caylee’s disappearance.

George was visibly upset and furious as these shocking allegations were made in court, and he bluntly refuted all of it while on the stand. He has never been charged with abuse in the years since the trial, but he was brought back into the media glare in 2022, more than a decade after Casey’s sensational acquittal.

The allegations deepen

After lying low for all that time, Casey resurfaced with the bombshell documentary series, Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies, in which she reiterated that she had been abused by George and Lee. She gave disturbing details of the alleged abuse, saying that George would put a pillow over her face to smother her and cause her to pass out. ‘That happened several times. I'm sure there were times where I was incapacitated as a child where my body was limp and lifeless.’

Casey also went as far as speculating that Caylee’s death may not have been an accident after all, suggesting that George may actually have killed Caylee and staged the drowning. His alleged motive? To cover up the fact he’d also been abusing Caylee.

This new revelation blindsided one former member of the jury at her trial, who told People magazine: ‘The entire defence was that Caylee drowned in the pool, but now she's saying that she didn't drown in the pool. So the entire defence was a lie. Either that, or she's lying now. Who can tell for sure?’

Her father was also reportedly flabbergasted by the new interview, with a family insider telling People that George ‘knew he was going to be thrown under the bus, but didn't expect her to run him over so many times.’

George in the frame

According to Casey, the last time she saw Caylee was when she and her daughter decided to take a nap at her parents’ home one day in June 2008. She was then shaken awake to find that the child was gone.

‘I was awoken by [my father] shaking me and asking me where Caylee was,’ she recounted in Where the Truth Lies. ‘That didn't make sense. She would never even leave my room without telling me. I immediately started looking around the house. I go outside and I'm looking to see where she could be.’

Moments later, she saw George standing there with Caylee’s ‘soaking wet’ body in his arms. Casey paints an evocative picture of that panic-stricken moment:

‘He was standing there with her. She was soaking wet. He handed her to me. Said it was my fault. That I caused it. But he didn't rush to call 911 and he wasn't trying to resuscitate her. I collapsed with her in my arms. She was heavy, and she was cold. He takes her from me and he immediately softens his tone and says “It's going to be OK.” I wanted to believe him. He took her from me and he went away.’

This, according to Casey, put into motion the events that would lead to her being arrested for murder. But did it really happen this way? Could George, who appears to have utterly doted on Caylee, really have been a serial abuser? And if so – did his wife, Cindy, know it?

Both of them have decided to tackle these painful questions head-on by submitting to polygraphs in Casey Anthony’s Parents: The Lie Detector Test. Can this finally shed real light on what happened on that terrible day in 2008?

Casey Anthony's Parents: The Lie Detector Test is available to stream now on Crime + Investigation Play, as well as on demand for Sky and Virgin customers.