DNA Found in Car of Mother Charged with Killing Daughter
(Oct. 24) - Evidence consistent with human decomposition was found in the trunk of a car belonging to a Florida woman charged with killing her 3-year-old daughter, according to a forensic report released Friday.
"Both odor analysis and LIBS results appear to be quite consistent with a decompositional event having occurred in the trunk of the vehicle," said the report from Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, noting that the results were preliminary.
Testing indicates that the decomposition could be human, the report adds.
Casey Anthony, who drove the car, was arrested this month and charged with first-degree murder and other charges in the disappearance of her daughter, Caylee.
Caylee was last seen in mid-June, but Casey Anthony waited about a month before telling her family the child was gone.
LIBS is laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, one of the techniques used in chemical analysis.
Testing was conducted on air and carpet samples from the vehicle. The tests indicated "the presence of the five key major compounds associated with human decomposition," the report said.
The tests also found "an unusually large concentration of chloroform" in the trunk, according to the Oak Ridge report. Chloroform can be used to render someone unconscious. However, trace amounts of chloroform were also found on a control carpet sample, the report said. VideoWatch Nancy Grace report on the chloroform discovery »
The report also says evidence of possible decomposition was found on a hair located among debris in the trunk. The hair is "microscopically similar" to one recovered from Caylee's hair brush, the report said, but "a more meaningful conclusion cannot be reached as this is not a suitable known hair sample."
The report was released by prosecutors as part of the case's public record. Prosecutors said they would not comment further on them.
Todd Black, a spokesman for Casey Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez, said the evidence does not link Casey Anthony to any criminal behavior.
"There's nothing in those reports that links Casey Anthony to any wrongdoing with her daughter, Caylee," he said.
Casey Anthony was arrested October 14 in a traffic stop after a grand jury indicted her on seven counts of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to police.
If convicted of the capital murder charge, she could face the death penalty or a life sentence.
Police and prosecutors have said little about the case, but hundreds of pages of documents and investigative reports have been released.
They indicate that Casey Anthony went to nightclubs, entered "hot body" contests and text-messaged her friends while her daughter was missing.
Copies of cell phone and text records released to the public show that she hardly ever mentioned Caylee during the time just before and after the girl was reported missing. And in May, just before Caylee disappeared, her mother referred to the girl as "the little snot head."
Casey's mother, Cindy Anthony, called the sheriff in Orange County, Florida, on July 15, saying her daughter wouldn't tell her where Caylee was.
Casey's brother, Lee Anthony, also pleaded with his sister to tell him where Caylee was, according to police documents. She told him she hadn't seen the child in "31 days."
When questioned, Casey Anthony gave conflicting statements to police, including some that were later disproved, accounting for the charges of providing false information.
She claimed that she dropped Caylee off with a baby-sitter, but when police checked out her story, they learned that the address Casey Anthony supplied belonged to an apartment that had been vacant for weeks. The woman Casey Anthony named as her baby-sitter told police she did not know her.
Investigators have said cadaver dogs picked up the scent of death in Casey Anthony's car and her parents' backyard. A neighbor told police Casey Anthony had asked to borrow a shovel.
Preliminary air quality tests conducted by the FBI found evidence consistent with human decomposition and chloroform in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car, investigators previously said.
Further analysis of Casey Anthony's computer found that she had visited Web sites discussing chloroform, as well as Internet searches of missing children.