June 15, 2008 was Father’s Day. Cindy Anthony brought her 2-year-old granddaughter to visit her own father in a nursing home. At bedtime, Cindy and Casey, Caylee’s mom, tucked the little girl in at bedtime, in their Orlando, Florida home. The next morning, Cindy left early for work and George gave Caylee breakfast. Casey and Caylee left.
The doting grandparents would never see Caylee again.
The months that followed would include the arrest of Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, and later, the discovery of Caylee’s body, less than a mile from the Anthonys’ home.
Ten years have passed since Caylee’s disappearance. In the recent A&E special Casey Anthony’s Parents Speak, the couple sits down with TV journalist Elizabeth Vargas for their first joint interview in years.
Here are a few of the biggest revelations to come out of that meeting. If you haven’t yet watched the special and plan to, you may want to stop reading now and check it out on the A&E site or apps. Spoilers ahead.
1. Cindy and George didn’t know Casey was expecting a child until six months into her pregnancy.
George describes finding out the news of Casey’s pregnancy as “shocking.” During the months before he learned she was pregnant in 2005, he says he didn’t question her change in appearance much, and chalked it up to it being “her particular time of the month.” However, Casey’s brother, Lee, confronted her and the truth came out.
[Watch Casey Anthony: How Did We Get Here? on A&E Crime Central.]
2. Cindy and George did not press their daughter to find out who the father was.
George says knowing Casey was healthy was their priority. He did not ask who the father was. “My concentration was on [Casey]—to make sure she was okay.” A deeper look at the situation reveals that during this time, Cindy and George were having their own issues, and were on the brink of divorce.
George had lost his well-paying job and was accumulating gambling debts. They got to the point where they were separated for about eight months, and divorce papers had been drawn up. When Caylee was 10 months old, George returned home to help raise her.
3. For a month, Casey was not present at home—and neither was Caylee.
The last time Cindy Anthony saw Casey was at bedtime on June 15, 2008—Father’s Day. The next morning, June 16,Cindy left early for work, but George saw Caylee and Casey, and it seemed to be a regular day. That night, Casey sent Cindy a text to say she was working late and that Caylee was with the babysitter.
“We were always so trusting and believing what we were told,” says George. They say they now know that Casey had lied about her—and Caylee’s—whereabouts.
Cindy says, “We didn’t have any reason to doubt her…I knew Casey would never put Caylee in harm’s way.”
About a week later, George did see Casey at home one more time—she was alone. He confronted her about a couple of stolen gas cans, which he realized she had taken.
Casey was in touch with Cindy regularly, but neither Cindy nor George saw her again during that time.
4. Cindy and George are not on the same page when it comes to Casey’s recovered car, which smelled ‘like death.’
Casey’s car was found at a tow yard about four weeks after she stopped coming home. When George approached the car, he says the smell “took my breath away.” As he goes further into detail, Cindy urges him to wrap up his story, and he tells her to “shut up.”
George says, “Looking back at it, I should have called the sheriff’s department right then and there. That’s something I live with every single day. I know what I smelled.”
For her part, Cindy called 911 after the car was recovered and once she found Casey—without Caylee—at a friend’s home:
911: Your daughter admitted that the baby is where?
Cindy: That the babysitter took her a month ago. That my daughter had been looking for. I told you my daughter was missing for a month. I just found her today but I can’t find my granddaughter. There’s something wrong. I found my daughter’s car today. And it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.
911: Okay, what is the 3 year old’s name?
Cindy: Caylee. C-A-Y-L-E-E. Anthony.
Cindy says she had tried unsuccessfully to get a response from 911 earlier, so during this call, “I said whatever I could to get those police officers here, because at that point I knew Caylee was missing.”
5. Cindy discloses an investigation she made that George didn’t know about.
Cindy says she went to the tow-truck company a few days after the car was recovered and asked a guy at the lot if they thought there was a dead body in the car. According to Cindy, he said, “No.”
“That’s the first time I’ve heard that,” George says, “I didn’t even know that you did that.”
6. An internet search for ‘foolproof suffocation’ was made on the Anthonys’ home computer on the afternoon of Caylee’s disappearance, but this was not revealed until 2017.
Cindy and George think someone other than Casey performed that search on their computer and deleted other “things,” as Cindy put it—including the entire search history, which was deleted early on the morning of Casey’s arrest. Cindy refuses to say who she believes did this.
7. Cindy acknowledges many things Casey told her were lies.
Cindy states that her daughter had a knack for “covering her tracks,” and some of these lies were not evident to her at the time. For example, before Casey left home, George went to meet her for lunch at the local Sports Authority where she worked, and learned she wasn’t actually employed there. When he approached her about it, he said she responded that it was none of his business. He also recalls being blamed for stealing money, which he believes Casey actually stole.
George concedes he sees Casey’s lies as pathological, noting that this behavior started around her senior year of high school.
8. Cindy and George decide it’s time to dismantle Caylee’s memorial.
Caylee’s remains were discovered on December 11, 2008, in a wooded area near Hidden Oaks Elementary School. Years earlier, Casey had spoken at the school’s opening dedication.
On their second camera-accompanied trip to Caylee’s nearby memorial, Cindy and George dismantle the six-foot cross and other elements of the memorial site. Visibly uncomfortable, George says, “I don’t want to come back here again.”
9. George finds personal closure.
About a month and a half after Caylee’s remains were found in late 2008, George, unable to deal with the burden of responsibility and guilt, attempted suicide. However, during a frank conversation several years later, Jeff Ashton, the prosecuting attorney from Casey’s trial, tells George: “This verdict was not about you.” Ashton goes on say, “This was about her, and those jurors. Don’t for a minute take any kind of responsibility for this. This jury didn’t acquit her because of you. There was so much evidence in this case. The jury acquitted her because they didn’t want to convict her. That’s the bottom line.”
This conversation takes a huge load off of George’s shoulders and he breathes what seems to be a sigh of relief.
10. Ultimately, Cindy and George are not in agreement about what happened.
From disagreeing about whether or not Casey sometimes took the baby out of the house for a couple of days at a time to finding different levels of significance of the foul smell in the car, the Anthonys have conflicting perceptions of what happened to Caylee—and the role Casey played in the mysterious, tragic events that followed June 15, 2008.
When asked whether Casey was involved in Caylee’s death, George says, “Absolutely.” In the special, he also says, “Cindy and I must have really raised a bad seed somewhere. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand what happened with her.”
Cindy maintains that Caylee drowned in the family pool. George’s theory is that Casey gave Caylee a sedative of some kind and she didn’t wake up. Then Caylee’s dead body was placed in the trunk of the car for a certain number of days, after which “Casey didn’t know what to do.”
Cindy has occasional, sporadic contact with Casey.
George does not.