On 9 August 2005, no one present at the birth of Caylee Anthony, would have predicted that this child would not live to celebrate her third birthday, or that her death would lead to a petition for a new law, forcing parents to notify authorities on the disappearance of a child within 24 hours, called “Caylee’s Law".
Casey Marie Anthony was a twenty-two-year-old single mother at the time of her daughter’s death. She was a controversial figure. Her defense team elaborated on her alleged dysfunctional upbringing and alleged sexual abuse by her father. The prosecutors painted her as a promiscuous liar and a party girl who felt encumbered by a toddler. During closing arguments at the trial, the prosecutors showed the jury a photograph of a tattoo Anthony had done two weeks after Caylee was last seen alive. It read: Bella Vita, meaning Beautiful Life. Anthony and her daughter lived with her parents George and Cindy Anthony in Orlando, Florida. No father was listed on Caylee’s birth certificate.
George Anthony, father to Casey and grandfather to Caylee and a retired homicide cop, was accused of sexually abusing his daughter. And a woman named Krystal Holloway alleged she had had an affair with George, and that he had told her Caylee’s death was an accident. George denied all the accusations. A month after Caylee’s body was found, in January 2009, George went missing. He was found at a beach hotel after sending messages to his family threatening suicide.
Cindy Anthony, a retired registered nurse and Anthony’s mother, testified she had run a search on their home computer on chloroform during March 2008, but during the trial the prosecution pointed out that records showed she was at work when these searches were logged. She was not charged with perjury. Cindy allegedly called her daughter a sociopath and a liar. Relations between daughter and parents deteriorated after Anthony’s incarceration.
Casey Anthony alleged that babysitter Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzales had kidnapped Caylee. Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzales was listed as a visitor to the apartment block on 16 June 2008, but she had never met the Anthonys in her life. Due to Anthony’s lies, Zenaida had lost her job and was evicted. She also received many threats against her own life and those of her six children. Zenaida is suing Anthony for defamation of character.