When 22-year-old Orlando resident Casey Anthony, mother of 3-year-old Caylee Anthony, reported on July 15 that her daughter had been missing for a month, officer Carlos Padilla of the Orange Co. Sheriff's Department knew something was off.
"We knew then that we were met with something," Padilla told ABC News. "Of course, we didn't know the magnitude of the case at the time."
In the weeks and months that followed, Padilla watched the case ramble through the unusual to the absurd and eventually towards tragedy when, on Tuesday, Casey Anthony was formally charged with the little girl's murder.
Through its course, the meandering and unwieldy investigation soon racked up a cast of characters that would seem more at home on the silver screen than in Florida's suburbia.
There was Pete Benevides, the Orlando exotic car rental company owner, who put up $100,000 of a $125,000 reward for information leading to Caylee's rescue simply because, as he told ABC News, "It's sad."
There was Leonard Padilla, the mustached bounty hunter out of California, who appeared on the scene in a cowboy hat and paid half a million dollars to bail Casey out of jail when she was being held on charges including child neglect. When Casey failed to be as helpful to the investigation as Padilla hoped, he publicly changed his mind three times as to whether his company would revoke the bail.
And playing the lead was the most befuddling character of them all, Casey Anthony.
In an interview with ABC News on July 25, officer Carlos Padilla said Casey Anthony "has shown no emotion."
"That's unusual," he said. "At the time of the interviews ... she didn't seem concerned and that made this case this much stranger. She spoke to deputies like she was talking about baseball."
Padilla told ABC News that, early in the investigation, when Casey took police officers to Universal Studios, where she claimed to work, she waited until they got there, walked in "like she owned the place" and then suddenly turned and said, "You got me. I don't work here."
But while Padilla said the Anthony case is the most bizarre he has ever seen in his 18-year career at the Sheriff's Department, the rest of Florida cannot boast the same.
For Florida, odd and sometimes grievous news just seems to be part of daily life.
Just last week there was a story about peacocks going on "the pill," one about police unsuccessfully attempting to tase a 450-pound boar into submission and another about a mother and son who allegedly tried to put a "hit" on two men and offered to pay the would-be killer in anti-anxiety pills.
"Florida is messed up," Drew Curtis wrote in his 2007 book "It's Not News, It's Fark." "Whatever the reason, Florida is without a doubt the No. 1 state for weird news."
Though there is hardly a way to quantify the "weirdness" of a state, the fact that the oddities of the Florida news have inspired multiple books, at least one daily blog and the only state-related tag on Fark -- a site dedicated to absurd news -- seems to support Curtis' claim.
When Tom Scherburger, Metro editor and 16-year employee of the St. Petersburg Times, decided to take all the weird news he had seen over the years and begin a blog called "Bizarre Florida," he knew it would be quite an undertaking.