DNA Testing Identifies Child's Remains as Caylee Anthony

DNA testing confirms officials' suspicions; missing toddler found dead.

ByABC News
December 11, 2008, 1:25 PM

Dec. 20, 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 Friday.

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 died, and the death is being ruled a "homicide of undetermined means," said Orange County chief medical examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia. The medical examiner has asked for toxicology tests to be performed on the remains.

The announcement brings just one tragic answer to a mystery that has gripped the nation since Casey 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.

Caylee's remains, including a skull, were discovered in a wooded area less than half a mile from the Anthony home in Orlando, Fla on Dec. 11. Police have since found "most of [a] skeleton," Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Carlos Padilla told ABC News.

According to Padilla, the child's final resting place was in a section of woods people regularly use to dump trash and "bury their pets."

The discovery of evidence that the scene that was linked to the Anthony home prompted police to execute a search warrant on the home last week. Police were seen removing boxes and bags of evidence from home.

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.

That worker had called police three times to urge them to search the area back in August, but after police responded twice to investigate, no body was found.

CLICK HERE for a timeline of the case.

Preparing for the Worst

With Caylee's body positively identified, attention turned towards her mother, 22-year-old Casey Anthony, who was charged with the toddler's murder in October.

Casey Anthony was arrested the day after she reported Caylee missing on charges including child neglect. She became a person of interest in the little girl's disappearance after police found traces of chloroform and strands of hair similar to Caylee's in the trunk of a car last driven by Casey Anthony.

Anthony was officially charged with 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.

The discovery of a body was not an unanticipated possibility for Casey's defense attorney Jose Baez, Baez's spokesman Todd Black told ABC News last week.

"From the beginning we started preparing for the worst," Black said. "We were working under the assumption that a body could be found."