Caylee Anthony's Death Is Now Official
The man who found a child's remains says he has no connection to the case.
Dec. 19, 2008 — -- The bones and skull found near the home of missing toddler Caylee Anthony have been determined to be the skeletal remains of the little girl, police concluded today.
Using DNA testing, officials identified the remains of a young girl found last week as the missing Florida toddler. Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony, is being held on first degree murder charges.
The bones showed no evidence of trauma before Caylee's death, but her death is being ruled a "homicide of undetermined means," said Orange County Chief Medical Examiner Jan Garavaglia. The medical examiner has asked for toxicology tests to be performed on the girl's remains.
The announcement brings just one tragic answer to a mystery that has gripped the nation since Casey Anthony reported the 2-year-old missing a month after she disappeared in June. It is not clear whether Caylee died before or after her third birthday on Aug. 9.
"There's been an open wound in the community. We can start putting some closure to those open wounds," said Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary during an emotional moment in his news conference. "The bottom line is, folks, no child should have to go through this."
Investigators have found "most of the skeleton" since an Orlando utility worker called in the discovery of a skull and other remains on Dec. 11, a sheriff's spokesman told ABC News today. The remains were found in a wooded area less than half a mile away from the home of Caylee Anthony's grandparents, an area where trash and dead pets were routinely dumped.
Garavaglia said that the child's remains were scattered and "completely skeletonized," but neither she nor the sheriff would discuss what other evidence was found with the bones.
Beary said Caylee's family was notified, including her mother and her grandparents. The sheriff said the usual routine at the jail where Casey Anthony is being held is for a chaplain to deliver the news.
According to Beary, the Sheriff Department's focus will now shift towards preparing for Casey Anthony's homicide trial.
"This has been a long case, but it's by far not over with yet," Beary said. "We've got a lot more to do to get it ready to go to trial."
The meter reader who found the body came forward today to say he tried to alert investigators back in August.
Ray Kronk, 46, denied suggestions that he was associated with the case apart from having discovered the skeleton.
"His participation in this matter is strictly as a concerned citizen with a sharp eye, good instincts and perserverance," said Kronk's lawyer David Evans. "He has no connection to this case, to the Anthony family or any of the proceedings that have gone on before."
"He will continue to cooperate with authorities," Evans said.
According to police, Kronk had made multiple calls trying to alert authorities to search the area. Police believe he returned to the area last week "out of curiosity."
Kronk is not a suspect in the case, sheriff spokesman Angelo Nieves said.
"This is just a decent citizen," said Carlos Padilla, an officer with the sheriff's department. "He sounds credible. He doesn't sound like he's making this up."
Kronk called in a tip on Aug. 11 but only told police the general area where he saw a gray and black bag and did not meet the responding detective, Padilla explained. The detective did not find anything suspicious and cleared the area. The man called again on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, at which point police returned to the scene but again did not find anything to raise their suspicions.
"It's just baffling that the sheriff's department wouldn't have found a body if it was there in August," Brad Conway, the attorney for Caylee's grandparents George and Cindy, told "Good Morning America." "[Caylee's] grandparents are obviously disturbed by the new finding and results from the sheriff's department. All along they wanted each and every tip followed up closely to avoid this scenario."
Padilla told ABC News that police are investigating the "thoroughness" of the response, but said the area had a significant amount of water flooding many parts.
"We're trying to make sure -- is it possible that we missed an opportunity to locate these remains back in August?" Padilla said.
Caylee Anthony disappeared in June but was not reported missing by her mother, Casey, until a month later.
After a search warrant was executed on the Anthony home, police were seen taking boxes and bags of evidence out of the house. On Tuesday, Padilla told ABC News that "evidence is mounting."
Jose Baez, Casey Anthony's defense attorney, motioned twice to gain access to evidence in and from the crime scene and was twice rebuffed by Judge Stan Strickland.
"The grid area has been expanded... We have a situation in which we have been accused of possibly delaying our release of the location," Nieves said Thursday. "Obviously that has been proven incorrect by the thoroughness of investigators today. They continue to work, process and scour the location as thoroughly as possible."
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.
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