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."
Caylee disappeared on June 15, 2008, but was not reported missing by her mother, Casey Anthony, until a month later.
In October of that year Casey was charged with her daughter's murder and in December the toddler's body was found less than a mile from the Anthony home. The intervening months have been full of court hearings and controversies, public protests and personal struggles.
"We've been dealing with this almost as long as Caylee was alive, because Caylee wasn't quite 3 when this started," Caylee's grandmother Cindy Anthony said. "So it seems like this nightmare has lasted longer than the moments than we had with her. That makes it very, very difficult.
"And I miss the last three years that I could have had with her, or the last two years. And then thinking about her starting school..," Cindy said before breaking into tears.
Though she maintains her daughter Casey is innocent and has "faith in the system," Cindy Anthony said that she did initially consider that Casey could have played a part in Caylee's disappearance. Acknowledging that a jury might feel the same way, Cindy Anthony said, "Anything can happen" when Casey goes to trial in the spring.
"I mean the thought did cross our mind in the very beginning. There may have been an accident," Cindy said. But Cindy said she dismissed the thought, even though Casey refused to tell her where Caylee was.
"I'm not angry about it so much as I am frustrated because I might be able to better understand why she's where she's at now. Because, I still truly believe that she is innocent," the grandmother said. "There's got to be a motive there that's much greater than this whole picture."
Cindy acknowledged that her daughter lied to investigators early on, but said nothing proves she did anything more than that.
"A liar doesn't make you a murderer," she said.
Many people felt differently and for months, protesters were a common sight outside the Anthony home.
The trial has made the family famous and turned their home into something of a Florida landmark.
"People drive from New Jersey or Wisconsin or whatever to come out and we're kind of like on the Disney route," Cindy said. "They come in and they want to see, you know, take a picture of our house or come in and say they've met us or whatever."
Cindy Anthony: 'Dead Body' Smell Was to Get Police Attention, Family Denies Sexual Abuse
Cindy Anthony also backed off statements she made in a panicked 911 call in 2008 at the outset of the case in which she said the car Casey drove smelled like "there's been a dead body in there," saying that she was only trying to get police to respond quickly.
"You can't take back anything that you say or feel at the time and I don't take [it] back," Cindy said. "All I know is I was desperate to get someone out to my house, desperate... When you're desperately needing something, especially when it comes to your children, you pretty much do or say whatever it takes to get help."
A Florida judge has yet to rule on whether the 911 tapes will be heard during the murder trial, but Brad Conway, an attorney for George and Cindy Anthony said today he doesn't doubt "for a second" the tapes will be entered into evidence.
Also likely to play a role in the trial are hundreds of pages of jailhouse letters Casey Anthony exchanged with another inmate, whom the Anthonys believe was part of an elaborate set-up by investigators. In the letters, Casey complains about her family's "betrayal," alleges that her brother sexually abused her as a child and that George may have as well. She said in the letters she didn't remember if some of the memories were dreams or not.
The Anthony family firmly denied those claims.
"I don't know where Casey was pulling stuff from, the stuff she's talking about. I have no clue," Cindy said. "It was very hurtful to George because I think for her to say that she had a dream, for her to even say that I think it was very hurtful for him."
Anthonys on Pain of Being Away From Not One, But Two Loved Ones
While Caylee Anthony may be gone forever, the Anthonys described how difficult it has been for them to be away from Casey while she spends a reported 23 hours of every day in her cell.
"I miss her. I miss her too much. And I think about where she's at. She shouldn't be there," Cindy said.
The Anthonys said they rarely see their daughter for fear of the media onslaught that's sure to follow any meeting.
"We'd love to, but we've been advised by her attorneys because they will play our videos over and over again and someone will sit there and critique," Cindy said. "If she cracks a smile, if she doesn't crack a smile. If she has a tear, if she doesn't have a tear."
Even in court the Anthonys said their daughter can't look at them while under the watchful eye of television cameras and reporters.
"I just want her to stay strong, know how much I love her," she said. "I've had dreams that Casey's home. I have faith that Casey will be home."
In a rare spontaneous meeting during a court recess in March, Cindy said she was able to give Casey a Mother's Day card.
Though Caylee will not be coming home, George Anthony said he found away to carry the toddler with him -- in a tattoo of the girl printed above his heart.
"Caylee's always in my mind. She's always in my heart. When I put her on my skin, she's really inside of me," George said.
He said it was desperation to see his late granddaughter that caused him to attempt suicide on Jan. 23, 2009.
"People thought when I tried to take my own life that that was some kind of publicity stunt or something like that. No, it wasn't," he said.
"[It was] because I wanted to be with Caylee... I'm still her grandfather... I'm going to experience that grandparenting again one day. I will. I will," he said.
Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty to Caylee Anthony's murder and is expected to go to trial in May 2011.
ABC New' Orlando affiliate WFTV contributed to this report.