People are jumping on the Caylee’s Law bandwagon without asking the essential question: how would this law have protected her? Of course, the rage isn’t really about protecting Caylee Anthony. It’s against her mother — Casey Anthony — who is perceived as getting away with murder. But let’s consider another scenario: what if Caylee died while her grandmother, Cindy Anthony, was trying to murder her mother, Casey?
According to brother, Lee Anthony, and other sources that is what happened right before Caylee disappeared. Per their neighbor, Casey left without Caylee, so why did George Anthony testify he saw Casey leave with Caylee?
The public rage is rooted in these unanswered questions. We haven’t found the answer in the hate fest infecting the talk shows who covered the trial. We didn’t find it during the testimony in the courtroom. We won’t find them in a new law requiring parents to report children missing. So let’s look in another direction: What if Caylee died because of the domestic violence committed by her grandmother?
There’s something strange in the timeline concerning the disappearance of Caylee Anthony. The key days are June 15th and 16th of 2008.
Here’s an excerpt from article published by ABC news, Exclusive: George and Cindy Anthony Speak on 2nd Anniversary of Caylee’s Disappearance, on June 15, 2010:
Two years ago today Florida 2-year-old Caylee Anthony vanished, sparking what would become one of the nation’s highest profile murder cases and beginning a time of intense and painful scrutiny that has seared the entire Anthony family, Caylee’s grandparents said today.
“The last two years have been just unbearable,” an emotional George Anthony told “Good Morning America” in an exclusive interview today as he sat alongside his wife, Cindy Anthony. “To think about the last time we saw Caylee and Casey together, hear her voice, to see her little eyes and get a hug and kiss from her. It’s not easy.”
The article repeated: “Caylee disappeared on June 15, 2008.…”
And yet, George testified he last saw Caylee with her mother around 12:30 p.m. (just after noon) on June 16th.
A June 15th and 16th timeline reconstructed from a variety of sources reveals:
Casey left the Anthony home at 9:00 and went to Tony Lazzaro’s apartment. Tony was her boyfriend at the time.
While Casey was with Tony, Cindy took Caylee to visit with Cindy’s parents, Alex Pleasea (Caylee’s maternal Great Grandfather) and Shirley Pleasea (Caylee’s maternal Great Grandmother).
At approximately 4:00 p.m. Cindy and Caylee returned to the Anthony home. After giving Caylee dinner, Cindy and Caylee took a swim in the pool.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. Casey returned to the Anthony home after spending most of the day with Tony.
Pam Plesea is the ex-wife of Cindy Anthony’s brother, Rick. This is a record of her conversation with a reporter at Canyon News: Casey Anthony’s Aunt Speaks, Exclusive
Mom Plesea [Shirley Plesea] has been talking to me ever since this whole thing happened. She told me that on June 15 after she, Cindy and Caylee went to visit her husband at the nursing home, which is very close to where Shirley lives, she then showed Cindy that Casey had forged a $354 check on her husband’s nursing home account.”
She told me that Cindy and George are not being totally honest about that night. Lee was there, Cindy confronted Casey on June 15, and they ended up in an altercation and Cindy choked Casey, Lee pulled them apart, and Cindy called Shirley to tell her that Casey would never steal again and that she had choked her.
Bail bondsman and bounty hunter Leonard Padilla, on the Nancy Grace show, confirmed this, adding more details:
It took place the evening of the 15th which was Father`s Day, and Cindy and the baby had come back from visiting Cindy`s parents. And at that time the parents told her that Casey had stolen money out of her account.
When she got into the discussion with Casey, Casey tried to kind of write it off as, no, it didn`t take place, somebody`s lying. And Cindy just lost it and went after her. And basically the statements that Jesse [Grund] and Lee made were the same as what I heard from them.
And that was that the confrontation got so heated that Cindy actually knocked Casey down and had her, was strangling her and except for the, you know, interference of — I think it was George at the time, she was trying to hurt Casey.
Padilla got the last part wrong. George was at work. It had to be Lee who tried to stop Cindy, as Aunt Pam said.
Their neighbor across the street, Jean C., was washing his car when he saw Casey leave the house. She was screaming, “Fuck you, Mom! I don’t want to hear it anymore.” Cindy came out too. She was “calm,” according to Jean C., with Casey doing all the talking. Casey “jogged” away from the house. Per Jean C., Caylee was not with them at this time. [discovery doc pp. 2324 – 2325]
Caylee was not with them, yet Lee later told people Casey was upset and took Caylee with her.
Aunt Pam further stated:
Then Cindy called her mother Shirley the next morning and told her that Casey had taken Caylee and the car before anyone woke up and was gone.
And yet George testified he saw Casey leave with Caylee at 12:30 pm. He even gave complete details about how they were dressed.
So we have three different family members claiming three different times when they watched Casey leave the house with Caylee: Lee in the evening of June 15th, Cindy in the early morning on June 16th, and George just after noon on June 16th.
Who is telling the truth? Any of them? Or is the truth what the neighbor said: Casey left without Caylee?
If Lee is correct, both Cindy and George were lying. Why would Cindy and George lie about Casey leaving on the 16th? Why would they say the 15th in their two year anniversary ABC News interview? Why did Cindy later deny she fought with Casey on the 15th? Why would George first say June 15th on the stand, and then correct it to June 16th?
An obvious question is: where was Caylee while her grandmother was battering and choking her mother? Did she see the violence? Lee could not have been watching her because he was pulling his mother off from Casey.
There are several possible scenarios.
- Were Cindy and Caylee still in the pool when Casey arrived? If so, did Cindy take Caylee out of the pool with her, or was she so upset she forgot to get Caylee out of the pool?
- If Caylee was still in the pool, was Lee supposed to be watching her? If so, did he forget her when he ran to pull his mother and sister apart?
- If Cindy did get her out of the pool, did she remember to remove the ladder? She testified in court she forgot, although on previous occasions she said she remembered removing it.
- Since no one was watching Caylee during the fight, could Caylee have been in the house, slipped out and gone back to the pool?
- Was Caylee hurt during the scuffle? Perhaps because she tried to help her mother? Perhaps because she was hit by flying furniture?
- Did Caylee run and hide in a dangerous place? Perhaps a closet where something fell on her?
- In one interview, Cindy claimed Casey was bathing Caylee when she took the ladder out of the pool. Did Cindy attack Casey while Caylee was in the bath? If so, was Caylee left unattended? Could she have drowned in the bathtub?
- If the neighbor was correct and Casey left without Caylee, then what happened after she left?
In a dysfunctional family, lies are the norm. Everyone is forced to lie to cover-up the abuse. The immensity of this tragedy, no matter how she died, would magnify the need to lie. But lying is the least of this family’s problems.
The questions above reveal an essential truth in all violent homes: the children suffer even when they are not the direct target of the violence. No mother can protect her child while she is being battered. If the children remain free from physical harm, it is blind luck rather than good parenting.
A violent assault on any family member brings a whirlwind of chaos and crisis. People are screaming, crying and moaning. Furniture and decorations are sent flying. Blood gushes from injuries. This is a shocking experience for adult witnesses. Children who witness this horror are traumatized, unsure what to do, terrified because they instinctively know their mother may be killed. Violent abusers will often turn on the child if the child tries to defend their mother. A mother may have to choose between removing herself from harm and protecting her child. But she may be unable to make that choice if her child is out of her reach, and her attacker is blocking her access.
This one altercation reveals how adults react when violence begins. One adult commits the violence upon another adult. If a third or fourth adult is present, they focus on stopping the violence, as they should. But this leaves the children on their own, no matter how many adults are present.
Children often try to intervene too, making injury to them likely. Just as often, they flee because they are terrorized. This could have happened in this situation with disastrous results.
To protect children, children’s services and police departments have begun removing the children from a violent home. This is a good precaution, and yet it is not fair to the battered woman who loves her children. If she cannot flee from her abuser’s control, as is often the case, why should she lose her children?
Violence escalates when a victim tries to escape her abuser’s control. 70% of women who are murdered by their intimate partners are murdered when or not long after they try to leave. The victims know this may happen because their abuser threatens them with death should they try to leave. Their abuser also threatens to murder the children if she tries to remove them from the home.
What should she do? Which chance should she take? Death of her child while she is being battered? Death of her child if she tries to leave? Death of herself, leaving her child behind to be raised by her murderer? Leave her children behind and flee? Removal of her child because she didn’t leave?
It is disturbing that none of the news outlets and crime show hosts ever discussed the extreme domestic violence aimed at Casey or the child safety issues involved. But this media neglect is typical in all domestic violence cases. The very real dangers to children while a mother is being battered or murdered are ignored if domestic violence is discussed at all.
Reporters have discounted the harm to children so entirely they can cover a crime scene where the mother was murdered and report, “No harm came to the children.” How can “no harm” happen to children who’ve watched their mother murdered?
There was a second incident of violence inflicted on Casey after Casey was released on bail — and remanded to her parent’s home. Can you imagine a court ordering you to live with your abuser?
In the second incident — witnessed by Tracy McLaughlin, an employee of Padilla — George battered Casey and also tried to choke her. Cindy and McLaughlin intervened. After that, George called the police and told them to pick Casey up, that she was in violation of her bond. What was her violation? George bought a gun that day and brought it into the home.
Yet the police never investigated his violence that night or questioned why he bought that gun on the very day she was released and remanded into his custody. Did he buy it to murder Casey? Was planned violence his only reason to have the court remand her into his control? Why else would he call the police and have her removed as soon as he was forced to stop his violence?
On the stand during the trial, he testified he bought the gun to hunt down Casey’s friends and force them to admit where Caylee was. Even when he testified under oath that his intent was to commit several violent felonies, not a single talking head questioned the violence in their home. The judge, prosecutors and police also ignored his confession of homicidal intent.
Why? Because a man’s “right’ to be violent is so entrenched no one cares? Because a parent’s “right” to beat their adult child is so accepted, no one recognizes it as domestic violence? Or because our society so hates mothers they are held to blame for the death of their child even if the child dies while the mother herself is being battered?
None of those scenarios are acceptable. All of them should be thoroughly investigated and condemned. And yet, nothing happened. No matter how many witnesses, how much coverage this case received, no one focused on the domestic violence right under their noses. Instead, everyone blamed the victim. One more time.
So before jumping on the Caylee’s Law bandwagon, we must ask: how would this law have helped Caylee? And what agenda do these lawmakers (and the media) clearly have, when they avoid talking about the real problem of domestic violence, and holding only mothers accountable for all the harms that come to their children no matter what?