Panicked Grandmother of Toddler Claims 'Dead Body' Smell in Car

Cindy Anthony made two 911 calls about missing Fla. 2-year-old last week.

ByABC News
July 22, 2008, 1:17 PM

July 25, 2008 — -- The car driven by the mother of missing Florida two-year-old Caylee Anthony smelled "like there's been a dead body" in it, according a 911 call made by the child's grandmother last week.

At a bond hearing on Wednesday, authorities named Caylee Anthony's mother, Casey Anthony, 22, a "person of interest" in the toddler's June disappearance after investigators found "evidence of decomposition" in the trunk of the same car.

In the calls made by Caylee's grandmother, Cindy Anthony, which were released Thursday, she claimed she had "a possible missing child."

During the second emergency call, Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony, took the phone from Cindy.

"My daughter's been missing for the last 31 days," she told the dispatcher. "I know who has her. I have tried to contact her."

Cindy Anthony has since discounted her comments in the 911 call, claiming that the smell could easily have been garbage in the car.

Casey told authorities that Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, the toddler's babysitter, has the girl, but police have been unable to track down Gonzalez or even determine whether or not she exists.

While Anthony is currently being held on three relatively small charges, including child neglect and obstructing an investigation, her bond was set unusually high as prosecutors said that the case was turning into "what is looking to be a homicide investigation."

Officer Yuri Mellich of the Orange Co., Fla., Sheriff's Missing Persons Unit, called Anthony a "person of interest" after revealing in testimony that samples of hair of similar length and color to Caylee's were found in the trunk of a car owned by the Anthony family and last driven by Casey.

Plus, a police dog trained to seek out the decomposition of human bodies also alerted its handler to the car trunk.

Judge Stan Strickland set Anthony's bail at $500,000 with the restriction that if the bail is posted, Anthony must wear a GPS tracking device at all times.

When handing down the verdict, Strickland voiced his concerns.

"I have some problems with the fact that her conduct just hasn't changed," he said. "She hasn't been any help in this investigation a bit."

Anthony was arrested on July 16 after police learned that she had not reported her child missing until a month after the toddler vanished and Anthony was, according to police, misleading about both where she worked and where the child was.

Three members of Anthony's family -- her mother, Cindy; her father, George; and her brother, Lee -- each testified that, if released on bond, Anthony would be more likely to help assist in the investigation.

"We can confide in each other on a level that we don't feel obligated to share with anybody else," Lee Anthony said, leaning forward in the witness stand. "We can tell each other things that we wouldn't feel comfortable telling even the rest of the family."

Police have not talked to Anthony since she was arrested on Wednesday, but her mother stated in the hearing that Casey would not talk to police about Caylee because she was "afraid."

Strickland suspected there could be an ulterior motive.