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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Arrested Mom's Lies Cloud Search For Missing 2-Year-Old

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Little Caylee Anthony disappeared more than a month ago, but her mother kept her daughter's disappearance a secret until this week. Now the 22-year-old mom is in jail and the community is asking, "Where is Caylee?"

Orange County's lead investigator on the case said they received several calls since news of Caylee Anthony's disappearance hit the air, but they're still looking for the little girl and they said her mother continues to be their biggest obstacle.

A judge denied bond for the mother of a 2-year-old missing girl Thursday morning, saying that she lied to her family about the whereabouts of her child, who she hasn't seen since June 9.
"You left your 2-year-old child Caylee Anthony in the custody of a person who does not exist, at an apartment you can not identify and you lied to your parents and friends about your child's whereabouts," Judge John Jordan said Thursday morning during the bond hearing for 22-year-old Casey Anthony. "You didn't even report her missing until five weeks later and then only because the child's grandmother insisted."

Anthony, 22, said little Thursday morning in court except for acknowledging to the judge who she is. She was taken into custody Wednesday on charges of child neglect and lying to the authorities.

"Your 2-year-old child is still missing and it appears you've shown no regrets or concern with your actions," Judge Jordan said Thursday morning. "Ms. Anthony, the court would say to you, where is Caylee Anthony? But I can't force you to answer that question. But that's the question I leave with you, do you understand?"
"Yes sir," Anthony said.

The grandmother of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, Cynthia Anthony, has no explanation as to why her own daughter did not notify authorities that the child has been missing for weeks.
"Once we got involved, it was our biggest concern to try and locate the child," Cynthia Anthony said.

Casey claims she dropped her daughter off with a babysitter and friend named Zenaida and has not seen either of them since. Law enforcement sources said Casey led them to an apartment where the babysitter supposedly lived, but the apartment had been vacant for more than three months.
Deputies said Casey told them she worried her daughter might be hurt if the police got involved, so she lied to her own parents, telling them the young girl was fine.

Investigators said they tried to question people at Casey's workplace, but she lied about working at a Universal Studios. Sources said she even led them around the park, saying she was taking them to her employee locker.

"It's things like that which causes concern. This is time we could've spent trying to locate the child," said Sgt. John Allen of the Orange County Sherriff's Office.

It is only one element in a story that has the woman's own mother concerned.
"I've never seen her be a bad mom. She loves her daughter, I don't doubt that," said Cynthia Anthony, Caylee's Grandmother.

Investigators said they have not found the friend Casey claims she left her child with.
Casey Anthony made her first appearance Thursday morning and the judge denied her bond. He also ordered her to have a mental health screening for Baker Act criteria. Now that she's held on no bond, prosecutors say that gives them a 33-day window to file formal charges and then Anthony could ask for bond again.

The Department of Children and Families told Eyewitness News it has opened its own investigation, but there's little they can do until they find out what happened to the girl.

To get caught up on this story, please read:
TEAM COVERAGE: Mother Appears In Court As Search For Girl Continues

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