Grand jury returns capital indictment in Caylee case

By: Natisha Lance, Nancy Grace, cnn.com
By: Natisha Lance, Nancy Grace, cnn.com
A Florida grand jury has returned an indictment in the case of missing toddler Caylee Anthony.

**FILE** This Aug. 21, 2008 file photo shows Casey Anthony, mother of missing toddler Caylee, being escorted from the Orange County Florida jail by her attorney Jose Baez, right, after posting a $500,000 bond in Orlando, Fla. Anthony tried to give her missing 3-year-old daughter up for adoption before she was born, but her mother wouldn't let her, according to legal documents that paint the 22-year-old Florida woman as a perplexed, scheming and unbalanced person who repeatedly defended obvious lies in police reports. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay, file)

A Florida grand jury has returned an indictment in the case of missing toddler Caylee Anthony.

The name of the person indicted and the specific charge is not yet known because the indictment remains sealed until an arrest is made.

But Lawson Lamar, the state attorney for Orange County, said the first count is a capital charge, which could carry a penalty of life in prison or death.

Prosecutors are asking that the person named in the indictment be held without bond.

The 19 grand jurors -- 10 women and nine men -- deliberated for about half an hour before returning the indictment. Earlier in the day they heard from police, FBI agents and members of the missing child's family.

Casey Anthony, Caylee's mother, has been identified as a suspect in her daughter's disappearance. She will surrender to authorities if indicted, her lawyer said earlier Tuesday.

"I've already given official notice to the state attorney's office that should an indictment come down, Casey will surrender herself," attorney Jose Baez told reporters as his 22-year-old client wiped tears from her eyes.

"She's not running from this," Baez said during an impromptu media briefing. "She's doing her best to stand strong, to stand up to the powers that are working against her. And they threw the kitchen sink at her a long time ago."

Adding that his client "has been living a nightmare," the attorney asked the public to remember, "She has a missing child. She's also a child."

Earlier in the day, Casey Anthony's father -- Caylee's grandfather -- testified before the grand jury. The grand jury is investigating the suspicious circumstances surrounding the 3-year-old's disappearance.

George Anthony was prepared to do the "unthinkable" -- testify against his own daughter, Caylee's mother, lawyer Mark Nejame told a clutch of reporters gathered on the courthouse steps.

Casey Anthony has been identified as a suspect in her daughter's disappearance, a case police say they're investigating as a homicide.

Struggling with his emotions, George Anthony clutched a "find Caylee" binder in his folded arms.

"This is going to be very hard for me to do. The focus has always been on my granddaughter and always will be. I love my daughter, I love my wife, I love my son," Anthony said.

He asked for the public to keep his family, especially Caylee, in their prayers. "If someone could take a moment out at 11 o'clock this morning and 11 o'clock tonight and just pray for her. That's all I'm asking for. That's all I can say."

Anthony and his lawyer left the courthouse about an hour later without commenting.

Caylee Anthony disappeared in mid-June, but Casey Anthony waited about a month before telling her family the child was gone. Cindy Anthony -- Caylee's grandmother -- called the Orange County sheriff July 15 after her daughter wouldn't tell her where Caylee was.

Casey's brother, Lee Anthony, also pleaded his sister, to tell him where Caylee was. According to police documents, she replied that she hadn't seen Caylee in "31 days."

Since that first 911 call, evidence has mounted that leads police to believe that Caylee is dead, and investigators have said so publicly. They first labeled Casey Anthony a person of interest, and later, a suspect.

The story of Anthony and her missing daughter garnered national headlines, provided nightly fodder for cable TV crime shows and brought a stampede of reporters to stake out the home of Anthony's parents.

Tempers have flared and fists have flown outside the house tucked away in a subdivision in Orlando, Florida. One protester had George Anthony arrested, alleging that he had pushed her.

Police and prosecutors have said little, instead letting hundreds of pages of documents and investigative reports do the talking for them.

Casey Anthony behaved like a carefree party girl, going to nightclubs, entering "hot-body" contests, and incessantly sending text messages to her friends while her daughter was missing, according to cell phone and text transcripts and investigative reports released by police.

Copies of her phone and text records obtained by police and released to the public show she hardly ever mentioned her missing daughter during the time just before and after the child was reported missing. The young mother referred to Caylee as "the little snot head" in May, about a month before the child disappeared.

Anthony gave conflicting statements during the investigation and provided police with information that later was disproved. For example, she said she had dropped the child off with a baby sitter. Yet when police checked out her story, they learned that the address that Anthony supplied belonged to an apartment that had been vacant for weeks. The woman Anthony named as the baby sitter said she did not know Anthony.

As Anthony was arrested on child neglect charges, bonded out of jail, was rearrested on bad check and theft charges and bonded out again, investigators disclosed some of the forensic evidence they uncovered.

Cadaver dogs picked up the scent of death in the trunk of a car Anthony drove, and in her parents' backyard. A neighbor told police Anthony had asked to borrow a shovel.

Authorities said that in the car Anthony drove, they found traces of chloroform, which can cause loss of consciousness. And they said that on her computer, they found Internet searches of missing children and chloroform Web sites.

Investigators said air quality tests conducted by the FBI found evidence of human decomposition in the trunk of Anthony's car. Law enforcement sources also suggested that a strand of hair found in the trunk of the car was probably Caylee's.


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