Police 'Somewhat Confident' Child's Remains Are Caylee Anthony

Medical examiner says evidence links remains found Thursday to Anthony home.

December 11, 2008, 1:25 PM

Dec. 12, 2008 — -- Police are "somewhat confident" that a child's remains found Thursday near the home of Caylee Anthony's grandparents belong to the missing toddler, Carlos Padilla of the Orange County Sheriff's Office told ABC News today.

The remains of a young child, including a skull, were discovered in a nearby wooded area less than half a mile from the Anthony home in Orlando, Fla., prompting authorities to execute a search warrant on the home.

While police have been tight-lipped about what was found with the skull, Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary told The Associated Press that "some clues that came out of the remains ... linked it to the [Anthony] house."

Padilla told ABC News, "It had to be pretty good to be able to get a search warrant. There was enough probable cause."

A Florida judge denied a request by Jose Baez, attorney for Caylee's mother Casey Anthony who is currently being held on murder charges, to inspect the child's remains.

Police were seen this morning taking boxes and bags of evidence from the home.

"A lot of items were taken into our custody for review," Beary told "Good Morning America" today.

The area around the remains was swarmed by more than two dozen officials including FBI agents Thursday. The area had been searched by police but the spot where the skull was found had been flooded at the time of the search.

The skull fell from a bag that was found at 9:30 a.m. by an Orlando utility worker. The worker then reported it to authorities. Click here to hear the 911 call.

FBI labs capable of DNA testing are considering any incoming evidence a "top-priority case," Beary said, but results of testing could take up to two weeks.

"It's very much a forensic investigation at the time," said Jim Solomons, a spokesman for for the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "We never put a time clock on any of this. ... It will be a very long process."

Caylee Anthony disappeared in mid-June when she was 2 years old, but she was not reported missing by her mother, Casey Anthony, 22, until a month later. The toddler would now be 3. Anthony was arrested the next day on charges including child neglect. But she became a person of interest in the little girl's disappearance after police found traces of chloroform and strands of hair similar to those of the Caylee's in a car last driven by Anthony.

Casey was officially charged for first-degree murder Oct. 14. She has pleaded not guilty to charges ranging from first-degree murder to lying to investigators. She faces life in prison if convicted.

Frustrating, Curious Investigation

The case began with an emergency call from Casey Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony in mid-July.

On the tape, she is heard frantically telling emergency operators, "I can't find my granddaughter. ... There's something wrong. ...I found my daughter's car today and it smelled like there's been a dead body in the damn car." Casey Anthony then got on the phone and reported she may have a missing child.

Cindy Anthony later retracted that statement, saying that the smell in the car could have been from garbage.

As investigators would quickly learn, this would only the be first of many twists and story changes in the curious case. CLICK HERE for a timeline of the case.

Lies, Half-Truths and Incomplete Information

Since their investigation was launched on July 15, some Orange County officers have become well acquainted with the frustrations of following leads based on incomplete information, half-truths and what one officer said were "smoke bombs."

In the original version of events, Caylee's mother reported her missing to police, saying she had dropped the child off at a baby sitter's house on June 9. When she went to pick the child up, both the child and the baby sitter had disappeared.

Casey's parents both corroborated the story until a bond hearing on July 25 when Cindy Anthony said that the last time she saw the child was not on June 9, but on June 15, and that she had just been confused.

When police questioned Casey Anthony about her daughter prior to her arrest, they say Anthony misled them multiple times.

When she took police to the apartment where she said the baby sitter, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, lived, they found that no one had lived in the apartment for five months.

At that time, lead investigator Yuri Mellich said, "I am not disregarding that this person may or may not exist, but Casey Anthony's friends and family have never met this person."

After an extensive search for Gonzalez, a woman with the same name came forward in September to tell authorities she had never met Casey or Caylee. Police cleared her of any involvement.

Casey also claimed to have worked for Universal Studios, but admitted later that that was not true.

Scientists found evidence of body decomposition and traces of chloroform in Casey Anthony's car trunk, according to forensics reports released in October.

Lab reports from the FBI found that a hair strand in the trunk showed "characteristics of apparent decomposition." The hair is "microscopically similar" to hair strands found on Caylee's brush, but the report said it could not conclusively say the hair in the trunk came from the missing girl.

Casey had been considered a "person of interest" in her daughter's disappearance since mid-July after police reported in a bond hearing that they believed they found that evidence of decomposition in the car.

But what unsettled investigator Padilla more than Anthony's imprecise information is her overall attitude.

"She has shown no emotion," Padilla told ABCNews in July. "That's unusual. At the time of the interviews ... she didn't seem concerned and that made this case much stranger."

"She spoke to deputies like she was talking about baseball. How do you get through to someone like that?" he added.

But Anthony revealed the entire range of emotion in videos of jailhouse conversations between her and her parents which were released last week.

In the more than 300 minutes of video released by the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Casey Anthony is shown laughing, crying and growing frustrated with the investigation and her family's questions.

When her mother, Cindy Anthony, confronted her with lead Detective Yuri Mellich's suspicions that she had had something to do with Caylee's disappearance, her daughter dodged the issue.

"Yuri [Mellich] has it set in his mind. He thinks you've done something to Caylee," Cindy Anthony told her. At that point, her daughter got up and, when she returned, steered the conversation in a different direction.

Casey Anthony also said that she knows the conversations are being recorded and said,"there are things [she] directly needs to say" to each of her parents.

And to her missing daughter, Caylee, Anthony asked her mother to pass along a message that "Mommy loves her very much, and that she's the most important thing in this entire world to me. And to be brave."

Padilla said Thursday that the discovery of the skull may provide some certainty in such on uncertain case.

"Time is on the investigation's side now," he told ABC News. "The Anthonys have tried to throw smoke bombs. Now we have the luxury of taking our time. We're going to be methodical."

"Should it be Caylee, we're going to do whatever we can to do it right," he added.

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