Twelve years ago, on December 11, 2008, the remains of a little brown-haired girl, Caylee Anthony, were found inside a trash bag in a wooded area in Orlando, Florida. The child, who was last seen alive in June of that year and reported missing in July, would have turned 3 years old that August had she lived.
Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, was charged in the case, but in 2011 was found not guilty of first-degree murder. She served a short time in jail on related misdemeanor counts and then was released. Still, years later, interest in her life remains high, partly because of some of the controversial things she’s said both during her trial and in more recent years. For example, in a 2017 interview with The Associated Press she infamously said, “I don’t give a sh*t about what anyone thinks about me. I never will. I’m okay with myself. I sleep pretty good at night.” [Read more of Casey Anthony’s controversial quotes.]
A&E True Crime checks in on what Casey Anthony is up to, the relationship with her parents and friends, her legal status and other lingering questions about the case.
What is Casey doing now?
Casey, 35, lives in South Florida in the home of Patrick McKenna, a private detective who was the lead investigator on her defense team. She works for him as a researcher.
According to People magazine, she is dating and could be considering having another child. “For a long time she was like ‘no way,’ a source told the magazine. “But time has changed that and she’s now open to it in a way she hasn’t been before.”
[Watch Lifetime’s Cellmate Secrets: Casey Anthony on Lifetime.]
Is she still in touch with her parents?
Casey’s relationship with parents George and Cindy Anthony has been rocky and is constantly evolving. Recent reports indicate that Casey is occasionally in contact with her mother, Cindy, but not with her father, George. In November 2018, George was seriously injured in a car crash in Florida, and Casey reportedly had no plans to contact him. However, in a January 2019 TV interview, George revealed Casey had, in fact, reached out to him following his accident to see how he was. He also said that he would like to rekindle a relationship with his daughter and tell her, “I forgive her.”
Are her old friends in contact with her?
As far as former roommate Cameron Campana, 31, is aware, none of the people who lived with Casey before Caylee went missing still speak to her. He tells A&E True Crime the last time he saw Casey was in court during her May 2011 trial.
“Nobody has heard from her since she was arrested,” says Campana, who at the time was living in an Orlando apartment with three fellow music-business students at Full Sail University, including Casey’s boyfriend at the time, Tony Lazzaro. Casey moved in with them a few months before Caylee vanished.
“We were just four guys going to college, and then suddenly we were in the biggest case since O.J.,” says Campana, who now lives in Cleveland and says he’s still occasionally in touch with the other roommates.
What was Caylee like?
The little girl was occasionally at their apartment and Campana once babysat her when Casey went out to dinner.
“She was very smart,” he says. “Very energetic. She liked to talk and dance around and bang on a drum pad.”
She also liked the Pink Panther cartoon and enjoyed swimming in the apartment complex’s pool, he says.
What was Casey like?
She was “very extroverted and outgoing” and appeared to be an attentive and engaged mother, according to Campana. “She would do flash cards with (Caylee),” he says. “She was always super loving and super protective.”
It stunned the roommates when they found out Caylee had been missing for a month, but Casey had not reported it. “It was really a shock when the police told us because she seemed like such a good mother,” he says.
[Watch Casey Anthony’s Parents Speak on A&E Crime Central.]
Looking back on the days Caylee was missing, Casey never appeared distraught or upset. “She didn’t seem like anything was wrong,” he says. “She stayed the same.”
The fact that he didn’t see the little girl for a month didn’t raise any alarms at the time.
“One time we asked her where Caylee was, and she said she was with the nanny,” Campana says. “She had an excuse right off the bat.”
Does Campana think Casey killed Caylee?
He just doesn’t know. “There’s a part of me that believes she could never have done anything like that, but then there’s another part of me that’s like, maybe she did,” he says. In either case, “There was no justice for Caylee. Only one or two people know what happened, and we’ll probably never know. It’s saddening.”
What happened to Tony Lazzaro, the man Casey was dating at the time of Caylee’s disappearance?
Lazzaro testified at Casey’s murder trial that the pair met online, and that during their relationship Casey never mentioned her daughter was missing.
Lazzaro later graduated from college and got a job in Shoreham, New York, his father told a local paper. He had worked in the music business for a while, but changed careers and is working in the construction industry, says Campana, who adds that he recently saw photos on Facebook of Lazzaro’s wedding.
Can Casey ever be retried for Caylee’s murder?
[See a complete timeline of Casey Anthony’s murder case and trial on Biography.com]
“Once you’re acquitted you can’t be recharged or tried again for the same crime,” says Zedalis, a former public defender and incoming chairwoman of the Florida Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section.
Additionally, a person can’t be charged with any other crimes that may have taken place during the same criminal episode, she says. For example, Casey could not be tried on the lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter in the case because the commission of that offense would have taken place in the same incident as the first-degree murder, for which she was already found not guilty. “You can’t parcel it out piecemeal,” she says.
Zedalis points out that an acquittal doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t do it. “‘Not guilty’ means not proven,” she says. “It doesn’t mean we think you’re innocent.”
What became of Zenaida ‘Zanny the Nanny’ Gonzalez, who Casey claimed was caring for Caylee when she went missing?
Gonzalez was interviewed by police, but no charges were ever filed against her in the case. She sued Casey for defamation in 2013, but that case was tossed out of court in 2015 after a federal judge said Casey’s statements did not legally qualify as malicious.
In January 2016, Gonzalez was arrested on theft charges after Osceola County (Florida) deputies said that while working as a cleaner at a motel, she stole a cancer patient’s credit card and charged $850 on it at area stores. As of the publication of this article, the case has not yet been adjudicated, according to Osceola County court records.
Casey Anthony in 2020
On January 14, 2020, Casey Anthony won another legal battle related to Caylee’s murder case. A federal appeals court ruled against Roy Kronk, the meter reader who found Caylee’s body, in his lawsuit against Anthony for defamation. The Miami Herald reported that Kronk had claimed that Anthony and her attorneys “published false and defamatory statements about his during the investigation into Caylee’s disappearance and Anthony’s subsequent criminal trial,” according to federal court documents.
August 9, 2020 would have been Caylee’s 15th birthday.
George and Cindy Anthony in 2020
Casey Anthony’s parents George and Cindy still live in the same Orlando, Florida home where Casey and Caylee were living in 2008. In September 2019, they successfully resolved a foreclosure case against their home.
Casey Anthony in 2021
On January 1, 2021, Casey Anthony started a private investigation firm in South Florida: Case Research & Consulting Services. According to paperwork that was filed, the address listed for the company belongs to Patrick McKenna. But Florida officials say Anthony is unable to legally do any investigating herself unless she obtains a Class C license. It requires two years of training, a background check and an exam. A criminal history could possibly prevent someone from obtaining this license as well.
As of February 14, 2022, Case Research Consulting Services doesn’t have a website or a social media presence.
On May 23, 2021, Casey Anthony was involved in an argument at a Florida bar. West Palm Police were called to O’Shea’s Irish Pub after Anthony and another woman got into a “heated argument” with the other woman, Thelma Moya, allegedly pouring water on Anthony’s leg. No arrests were made.
Who Is Casey Anthony’s Ex Boyfriend, Malcolm Allison?
After the May 2021 bar dispute with Thelma Moya, body cam footage was released by the West Palm Beach Police. In the footage, Anthony can be seen providing details on Thelma Moya, the woman who allegedly threw a drink at Anthony. When asked why the incident occurred, Anthony revealed that she and Moya used to date the same person—a police sergeant with the West Palm Beach Police named Malcolm Allison. Anthony claimed to have dated him for two years.
In a 2021 interview with Dr. Oz, Cindy Anthony said that her daughter and Allison were “supposedly going to get engaged” before they broke up. Dr. Oz asked George Anthony if he would consider walking his daughter down the aisle if and when she did decide to get married and he said no.
Lifetime’s Cellmate Secrets: Casey Anthony
While awaiting trial, Casey Anthony, who was being held in the Orange County Jail in Orlando, Florida, met another inmate, Robyn McDonnell, formerly Robyn Adams, who was there on drugs and weapons charges.
On Lifetime’s Cellmate Secrets: Casey Anthony, which aired on June 4, 2021, Adams reveals she and Anthony struck up a close friendship in jail, exchanging letters often and even speaking in person a number of times, which was against jail policy. (Adams still has 258 letters from Anthony.)
According to Adams, Anthony received a lot of fan mail while in jail, including marriage proposals. Adams also says she believes Anthony was in love with her defense attorney, Jose Baez, although there is no evidence that indicates anything inappropriate happened between the two.
Adams reveals that in one of Anthony’s letters, she said that she had planned to take Caylee and move away, so she left Caylee with Zanny, her babysitter, while she got their money, clothes and possessions in order. But then, Anthony claimed, Zanny refused to tell her where Caylee was. Nevertheless, Anthony says she continued working on moving arrangements. “That’s why I waited to report her missing,” said Anthony in the letter. [Anthony has since admitted that there was no “Zanny.”]
At the time they were friends in jail, Caylee’s body still hadn’t been found. Adams says, “I never got the feeling that Casey was worried about the whereabouts of Caylee.”
Although Adams says Anthony’s cavalier attitude about Caylee’s disapperance was a red flag, what led her to believe Anthony was guilty of her daughter’s murder was seeing a detail about the case in the news.
After a bag of what was originally believed to be bones was discovered in the Little Econ River in Florida, investigators originally suspected they could be Caylee’s remains. When Adams told Anthony about the news story she saw, Anthony said, “That’s not my daughter. They aren’t looking in the right place.”
When Caylee’s remains were, in fact, found, Anthony had an anxiety attack in jail and had to be taken to the medical unit because she couldn’t breathe. But she wasn’t crying.
Adams says she outright asked Anthony whether she had anything to do with Cayee’s death. Anthony shook her head no. But Adams says she didn’t believe her. They never spoke again.
Soon after, investigators found out that Adams and Anthony had been communicating, so they spoke with Adams to discover what she might know that could help them. Adams said that Anthony told her that when Caylee’s remains were discovered, [investigators] “had found her in a laundry bag, wrapped in a Winnie the Pooh blanket.” This information wasn’t publicly released at the time.
Adams—who had been transferred to a federal prison —was brought back to Orange County for Anthony’s trial for three months, but was never called to testify. Adams believes she was discredited because she was an inmate.
Adams feels that the death of Caylee was an accident, but that the disposal of her remains was premeditated.
Casey and George Anthony in 2021
In late October 2021, Casey and George Anthony appeared in an exclusive interview on The Dr. Oz Show as a look back on the 10 years since Casey Anthony was found not guilty in the murder of her daughter Caylee.
The couple continues to have different views on what happened to their granddaughter with George believing that Casey had something to do with Caylee’s death and should have served more time prison. George said he believes Caylee was “given something, possibly to sleep,” which ultimately resulted in her death.
As a result, he doesn’t currently have a relationship with Casey. Cindy claimed to have a very casual relationship with her daughter, where they would text once in a while for birthdays or to check in to make sure they’re OK. Cindy acknowledged that a lot of people still believe her daughter is guilty but said, “There’s a lot of people who believe in her innocence.” Cindy also said she “never lied for Casey.”
George Anthony also said he has felt Caylee’s spirit in his home and that it brings him some comfort. He even claimed to have physically seen Caylee on at least one occasion. “I think she came because [George] was missing her so bad. He needed her,” said Cindy.