The prosecution in Casey Anthony's murder trial put the Florida woman's ability to create elaborate lies on full display, playing a taped conversation of Anthony calmly describing to police the nanny who she claimed kidnapped 2-year-old Caylee.
A stone-faced Anthony listened in court today to the audio tape from July 16, 2008, the same day she would be arrested in the disappearance of her daughter, Caylee. On the tape, Anthony is being questioned about her written statement regarding Caylee's disappearance.
Anthony tells Yuri Melich, a detective in the missing children's unit, that she's telling the truth about Caylee being kidnapped by nanny Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez and defends why she didn't contact the police during the month when only she knew Caylee was missing.
"I think part of me was naive enough to think I could handle this myself, which obviously I couldn't and I was scared that something would happen to her if I would have notified the authorities…the fear of the unknown, fear of the potential of Caylee getting hurt, of me not seeing my daughter again," Anthony said on the tape.
She said she was also scared to tell her parents, George and Cindy Anthony.
When asked about the nanny, Anthony appeared to build the lie as she went along, giving the fictional nanny three different addresses where she had lived, a mom named Gloria, and roots in New York City. Anthony said that her one-time boyfriend, Jeffrey Hopkins, introduced her to the nanny when she was pregnant with Caylee.
Hopkins was based on an old middle school friend of the same name and Fernandez-Gonzalez never existed, Anthony's defense team conceded. Cindy Anthony, Casey Anthony's mom, testified Tuesday that she learned they were "imaginary people" after Caylee's disappearance.
Anthony used her lie of working at Universal Studios to explain why she didn't have phone numbers for the babysitter, Hopkins or for another fictional person, a supposed co-worker named Juliette Lewis. She told police that a phone that her job had provided for her wasn't working and it held some of the phone numbers they needed.
She detailed the lives of these imaginary characters. Hopkins had moved to North Carolina and back to Florida. Lewis had just moved back to New York. The nanny had moved from New York to Florida to attend college and stayed in the area.
Casey Anthony's Elaborate Lie About Caylee's Disappearance
On the tape, she calmly describes the day Caylee disappeared.
"I got off of work, left Universal, driving back to pick up Caylee like a normal day. I show up to the apartment, knock on the door and no one answers. So I call Zenaida' s cell phone and it's out of service…so I sit down on the steps and wait for a little bit to see if maybe it's just a fluke, maybe something happenened," said Anthony in the taped conversation.
"After about 7 o'clock …I was getting pretty upset, pretty frantic...I didn't really want to come home, I wasn't sure what I would say about not knowing where Caylee was," Anthony said.
All of this would prove to be lies that Casey Anthony's own defense team has acknowledged. They opened the murder trial last week by claiming Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool on June 16, 2008.
The prosecution claims Casey Anthony killed her daughter. If convicted of first degree murder, the 25-year-old Florida woman could face the death penalty.
The only time Anthony showed any emotion while listening to the tape was when she described Caylee's "very distinctive features…dark hazel eyes…she has a birth mark on her left shoulder…it's just like a small line, it almost looks like a small beauty mark."
When Detective Melich gives her one more chance to change or add anything to her written statement about what happened to Caylee, she sticks to her story. "I just want my daughter back," she says on the tape.
When Melich drove with Anthony to the numerous addresses she detailed as belonging to the babsysitter, nobody was home. Some of the addresses turned out to be near her friend's aparments where she stayed during Caylee's disappearance.
Earlier today, Casey Anthony's brother testified that when his sister first told him that the babysitter had stolen her 2-year-old toddler Caylee, she was cold and displayed no emotion.
"She just looked at me really with no reaction," Lee Anthony said. "She told me that she had not seen Caylee in 31 days, that she had been kidnapped and that the nanny took her."
Casey Anthony stuck to that story for nearly three years until her murder trial began in an Orlando, Fla., courtroom last week.
Lee Anthony testified about July 15, 2008, the day that police were finally alerted to Caylee's disappearance. Casey Anthony kept looking at her brother, crying at times, but Lee Anthony refused to look her way or acknowledge her.
He testified about the day when a combative Casey Anthony had been brought from her boyfriend's apartment to the family home by her mother, Cindy Anthony. A frustrated Cindy Anthony was demanding answers about the whereabouts of her granddaughter, Caylee.
Cindy Anthony's concerns were heightened by the fact that earlier that day, she and her husband George had picked up Casey Anthony's abandoned car from a tow yard and complained that the car smelled like human decomposition.