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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lawyer: Caylee Anthony's grandparents need immunity

Sarah Lundy Sentinel Staff Writer
December 31, 2008

ORLANDO - The lawyer for George and Cindy Anthony wants his clients to have immunity before they speak with prosecutors again about their daughter, Casey Anthony.

Immunity would ensure the couple could tell investigators everything they know without fear of prosecution, attorney Brad Conway said.
He doesn't think the Anthonys would say something that would land them in legal trouble, but he wants them protected. The Anthonys did not ask him to request immunity, Conway said.
No deal has been made yet, he said.
Investigators are waiting until after Caylee's funeral before they approach the Anthonys again, Conway said.

Funeral arrangements have not been made.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Casey Anthony's attorney: Appoint overseer in questioning of detective

Amy L. Edwards Sentinel Staff Writer
December 30, 2008

Casey Anthony's defense attorney wants a judge to appoint someone to oversee any law-enforcement questioning of a private investigator who worked on the case.
According to a motion recently filed by attorney Jose Baez, law enforcement is "showing an interest" in questioning Dominic Casey of D & A Investigations. The motion states, "there is a chance that such questioning would delve into privileged information."

Baez said he hired Casey as an investigator July 28, and the service agreement between the two was terminated Oct. 1. During that time, Casey "acquired certain privileged information that would be protected . . ." Baez contends.
After working with Baez, Casey was hired by Casey Anthony's parents, George and Cindy Anthony, to help search for their missing granddaughter, Caylee, the motion states. A meter reader found Caylee Anthony's remains Dec. 11 not far from the east Orange County home she shared with her mother and grandparents.

Her mother was charged in October with her murder. Dominic Casey did not return a phone call from the Orlando Sentinel.

Dad Dies After Hospital A&E Wait

Right: Stewart Fleming
10:14am UK, Tuesday December 30, 2008

The widow of a man who died after a six-hour wait at an accident and emergency department has demanded answers from a hospital trust.
Father-of-two Stewart Fleming had a note from his GP requesting immediate admission because a suspected viral infection had failed to clear with antibiotics.

The 37-year-old, of Rainham, Kent, was taken to the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham by his wife Sarah on December 12.

But she claimed her husband had to wait six hours before being admitted and his condition deteriorated.

He was transferred a week later to the Harefield Hospital in west London, but died on Saturday.
Medway NHS Foundation Trust said it was "saddened" to hear of Mr Fleming's death, but its emergency ward was "experiencing long waits" due to a high number of admissions.

In an interview with the Kent Messenger, Mrs Fleming said her husband should have been treated sooner.

She said: "Why wait three hours for a triage when a doctor had already done it and put in writing what was going on?

"I know the A&E department was full to bursting, there weren't chairs, there were people sitting on floors."

Mrs Fleming queried why the hospital did not act on the GP's note and treat her husband immediately.

She added: "The ICU (intensive care unit) department did their very best, I am not disputing that, once he was up there. Even on the high dependency unit they were doing their damnedest to get him to the Harefield because it is the best.

"Why was he not admitted like he was told by his GP? He had all those hours and on monitor they might have been able to stop what has happened. I am no doctor but that is how I am feeling at this time."

The GP who referred Mr Fleming to hospital has called for a full investigation.
Dr Tamil Selvan, 51, said: "I don't yet know the full details of what happened... it's early days, but we most certainly need to get to the bottom of it."
Doctors in primary care endeavour to do the best they can but when we refer patients to hospital, for whatever reason, we expect the full support of our colleagues in secondary care."

Fire damages structures at Polygamist sect's Texas compound

Fire damages structures at sect's Texas compound

CLYDE, Texas (AP) -- A fire has burned four structures at the compound of a Texas sect whose leader is accused of performing polygamous weddings.

Firefighters in the town of Clyde say the cause of Monday's blaze at the House of Yahweh compound is unknown. No injuries were reported.

Fire Chief Billy Dezern tells the Abilene Reporter-News in its online edition that firefighters kept the blaze from spreading. A few vehicles were also burned.

The compound covers more than 40 acres near Abilene. Sect leader and self-proclaimed prophet Yisrayl (YIZ'-rah-yel) Hawkins is accused of having more than 20 wives and performing the weddings.

He faces trial next year.

Charges for Lee, Casey Anthony's Brother?

Megyn Kelly sat in for Greta VanSusteren last night as host for On the Record, foxnews.com. A quick search this morning found nothing in cyberspace on the topic except for the transcript, which I am posting here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," December 29, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Well, could Casey Anthony's brother Lee soon be joining her behind bars? Casey has been charged with the murder of her daughter Caylee, and now her brother Lee might be charged with obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting Casey.
Lee Anthony's lawyer Thomas Luka joins me now. Tom, good evening to you.
THOMAS LUKA, ATTORNEY: Good evening, Megyn.

KELLY: What do you make of these charges, these potential charges? What are you hearing is the possibly basis behind them?
LUKA: Well, first of all, there has been no announcement, formal or otherwise, that there are charges pending against Lee Anthony. This is all speculation and rumor at this time.

What I can tell you is that there has been speculation that he may be charged as an accessory after the fact for some sort of obstruction of justice charge.

The law in Florida, the statue in Florida dealing with obstruction of justice is very broad and gives prosecutors a wide latitude to use that power to charge individuals in order to motivate them to testify against other defendants.

KELLY: Right--in other words, this could be an effort to try to get them to tell them what they want to here with respect to Casey, or it could be that they think he actually did obstruct their investigation.

Did they give you any clue, Tom, what they may be thinking, what act think might be looking at that amount to obstruction of justice?

LUKA: I do not know. I can tell me that Mr. Anthony has been extremely cooperative with the police. Anything and everything, he has done. If there is anything that might throw a shadow or might conflict with any of the police evidence, it is that he has from the beginning has asserted his sister's innocence and has also asserted that this is a missing-person case and not a homicide case.

Now that the dynamic of the case has changed, obviously that is no longer the case.

KELLY: How does he deal with that, Tom? Because we all watched him so many times come to his sister's defense and say, as we heard the grandparents say, they believe they would find little Caylee, and now we know, of course, they have, but she was found dead. How is he now, how does he deal with that news?

LUKA: Well, he, like the Anthonys and the rest of the community here in Orlando, are grieving. There are many broken hearts in our community right now. It was not just the Anthonys who thought that Caylee would be coming home safe.
There were many people not only here in Florida but all over the country who were hoping and praying that she would be found safe. Obviously, that is not the case, and we have to more forward from there.
He is grieving along with his family. He is trying to support his family as best as he can. But he is continuing to cooperate with the investigation and wherever it leads now.

KELLY: Does he still believe in the innocence of his sister?

LUKA: At this point, he has not made a determination as to that fact right now. That fact has yet to even be determined--that fact can only be determined by a court of law.
I can tell you that he is wanting to find truth in this case, just like everyone else is, both prosecution and defense, wherever that may lead. And I can tell you that Mr. Anthony, that is all he cares about at this point.
Whether it leads to the innocence of his sister or her guilt, he cares about the truth, and that is what is most important to him as far as it concerns his niece Caylee.

KELLY: Tom, thanks for being here.

LUKA: Thank you.

KELLY: All the best.

It was fairly obvious the first night the Anthony's found out that Caylee was "missing". Cindy's statement to Casey, "what have you done?" and later Lee's conversation with Casey on the phone when he advises her, "the truth doesn't hurt."

Although I have had the urge to slap Cindy a few times, my heart really does go out to the Pleasea's and Anthony's. I've tried to put myself in Cindy's shoes, but only one shoe fits. On the one foot, if my daughter murdered my grandchild, as much as I love each one of them, I could not leave her twisting in the wind alone. No matter what she's done, even if it is the worst thing in the world, she's my daughter and has my unconditional love. On the other foot, I wouldn't be in front of cameras every day making up excuses and running my mouth, lying and blaming everyone around her, except her daughter.

Undoubtedly this is not the life George and Cindy (or Lee)

had envisioned for themselves or their family, but it is what they have left. Hiding or destroying evidence was/is either extreme stupidity, or intentional, making it a crime.

Particularly memorable was the candlelight vigil where Cindy lost it and started yelling at law enforcement, the media and the vigil attendees that they should "get out there and find her granddaughter." The irony was not lost on me that during the last five months, if she had taken a short walk through and around her neighborhood, she may have found Caylee herself.

Family believes cruise passenger jumped into sea

Monday, December 29, 2008

The family of a missing cruise ship passenger said Monday that they suspect the woman "chose an unfortunate ending to her life" and jumped from a cruise ship balcony into the waters off Mexico's coast on Christmas night.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Monday for Jennifer Ellis Seitz, a Florida journalist, after combing more than 4,200 square miles off the coast of the popular resort area of Cancun, where the ship had just visited. Mexican authorities said they would continue their search for another 48 hours.

Seitz had "previous emotional issues," yet there were no outward signs of distress while on the seven-night cruise from Miami, her family said in a statement given to one of her former employers, The News Chief in Winter Haven. Seitz's mother joined her daughter and son-in-law on the cruise.

"Jennifer was in a very happy and uplifted mood both before and during the cruise," the Ellis family said in the statement. "She was excited about starting a new job and her future career with a local newspaper. She and her husband had been talking about starting their family. The family suspects that Jennifer chose an unfortunate ending to her life. She was a beautiful and caring person and will be truly missed by all who love her."

Seitz and her husband, Raymond, were celebrating their one-year anniversary on the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship.

A surveillance camera showed someone falling overboard at 8 p.m. Christmas night, authorities said. About eight hours later, Raymond Seitz reported his wife missing.

FBI spokesman Mike Leverock says agents met the ship at the dock in Miami on Sunday, collected materials and "are still trying to determine if a crime occurred."

Norwegian Cruise Line said it is "cooperating fully" with the FBI.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the guest during this difficult time," the company said in a news release.

Raymond Seitz has not been charged with any crime, authorities said Monday.

The couple met in a weight loss support group; both had undergone bariatric surgery. She chronicled her weight loss journey for an Orlando TV station.

She was also a freelance writer, having written articles for The Tampa Tribune, The Ledger in Lakeland, and an online article titled, "Battling the Bulge Onboard," about how not to gain weight while aboard a ship.

On her Web site, Seitz described herself as an "avid traveler and an amateur chef." She was previously a reporter for Florida Today, a newspaper in Melbourne.

Raymond Seitz was arrested in April on a charge of domestic violence-battery after being accused of head-butting his wife. The charge was dropped after he entered a pretrial diversion program. Records show that she asked the prosecutor not to pursue the case.

A fellow passenger on the ship, Jim Nestor, told NBC's Today show that Seitz and her new husband stood out on the ship with "large and raw personalities."

Many of the passengers saw them as contestants on an on-board game called "The Not-So-Newlywed Game," modeled after a 1960s TV quiz show. The game was also carried on the ship's closed-circuit TV channel.

"They stood out a lot more than other people," Nestor, a retired police officer, told NBC.
Nestor, who appeared on the game show with his own wife, said he ran into Raymond Seitz day after his wife was reported missing.

"I had given him my condolences, and he had a plastic bag filled with quarters, and he said to me that he was going to the casino to see if he could change his luck," Nestor said.

P.I. Says He Videotaped Area Where Caylee Anthony Was Later Found

Monday, December 29, 2008
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Deputies want know what a private investigator was doing in the area where Caylee's body was found. They've been told he was videotaping the area a month before Caylee's body was discovered.

The private investigator was apparently working with the Anthony family at the time. It raises questions about whether the Anthonys knew the remains were there a month before they were found.

The private investigator who works with the Anthonys told Eyewitness News he came to the area the month before Caylee's remains were found and videotaped the area. He says the tape shows Caylee's body was not there at that time, but now investigators want to know why he was there with a camera in mid-November.

Private investigator Jim Hoover says he recorded the wooded area where Caylee Marie Anthony's remains were found about a month before they were found.

"We will definitely look into that, absolutely," said Carlos Padilla, Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Hoover briefly showed an Eyewitness News photographer a short clip of the videotape, which appeared to be authentic; the fence was recognizable.

"They know the existence of the tape and want to look at all evidence that's available," Padilla said.

Investigators also want to talk to the Anthonys' private investigator who works with Hoover, Dominic Casey. The defense wants to intervene, because Dominic Casey used to work for the defense and attorney Jose Baez doesn't want him to divulge privileged information.

Baez said investigators won't let him sit in on the questioning, so he's asking the judge to appoint a special master to protect defense secrets if the private eye agrees to talk. "Investigators have tried to make arrangements with Mr. Casey to speak to him and he's not responded," Padilla said.

The defense's spokesman said they don't want their former private eye to divulge privileged conversations they might have had about where Caylee's remains might be.


Eyewitness News has learned that an Orlando attorney who resigned from representing George and Cindy Anthony is considering a $5,000 reward for the man who found two-year-old Caylee Anthony's remains.

Eyewitness news reported two weeks ago that Roy Kronk was not eligible for a Crime line reward, but attorney Mark Nejame said that Kronk, "Did something very good and it's only appropriate that something good be returned to him."

Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla also says he wants to give Kronk a reward for finding Caylee's remains.


A Leesburg man wants to set Caylee's memory in stone. Don Williams began building a 60-foot wall and waterfall in his backyard three years ago. Over 90 names are painted on the memorial and all the names are of children who were murdered.

Williams says he saved a stone for Caylee and says he hopes the Anthony family will find some peace in making their granddaughter's name a part of the memorial.

"Maybe they'll come over after things calm down and paint her name on it, little Caylee's name on the wall. If not I will do it for them, but her name will be on the wall and she will never be forgotten," said Williams.

The Anthony family says it will hold a private and public service for Caylee, but no dates have been announced.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Investigators Say Surveillance Shows Woman Go Overboard

Monday, December 29, 2008

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Search crews ended their efforts Monday afternoon to find a Central Florida woman who disappeared from a cruise ship at sea.

An HU-25 Falcon jet crew from Coast Guard Air Station Miami, C-130 fixed-wing aircraft crews from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and Mexican navy patrol boat and helicopter crews searched more than 4,200 square miles for Seitz. The search was called off around 3:00pm Monday.
Note: in the above image link, the rail looks like it might be about 4' high, plus, there is a chair pulled over to the railing. Would she have jumped, being a newlywed?

"The Coast Guard and Mexican navy conducted an exhaustive search for Jennifer Seitz, but have not located her," said Capt. Dean Lee, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of staff. "Our thoughts are with Jennifer Seitz's family and friends during this difficult time."

Investigators said surveillance video shows a woman falling overboard from the Norwegian Pearl on Christmas night. The video has not been released. Jennifer Seitz, 36, a former Florida Today reporter who lived in Winter Haven, was reported missing the next morning and now the FBI is questioning passengers to try to figure out what happened.

What was supposed to be a relaxing holiday cruise for a newlywed couple turned into a tragic tale shrouded in mystery. Their cabin on the ship is now a crime scene with investigators scouring for forensic clues.

"It's an on-going FBI investigation. We're in charge of crimes on the high seas of American citizens and that is what we are doing right now. We're looking for evidence," said Capt. Dean Lee, Miami Coast Guard.

It was early Friday morning when Seitz's husband reported her missing, no where to be found aboard the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship steaming towards the Caribbean. He reported it eight hours after Jennifer went overboard, according to one of the ship's more than 1,000 surveillance cameras.

"They eventually discovered on some recorded tape the image of a woman going overboard wearing a white bathrobe sometime around 8:00 the previous evening. That would have been on Christmas night," Capt. Lee said.

It's very disturbing news to fellow passengers who disembarked from the seven-day cruise Sunday. Witnesses had stories to share, including new details. The Seitzs were vacationing with Jennifer's mother and they took part in a cruise activity in front of a crowd playing the newlywed game.

"They seemed like they're pretty fun and stuff, pretty wild if anything," passenger Austin Stovall said.

In Winter Haven, neighbors of Jennifer Seitz said they were shocked and saddened to hear she had disappeared from the cruise ship.

"That's really sad. I feel awful, I would feel awful if it happened to my daughter," said neighbor Kathy Hoyt.

A close friend of the family said Seitz and her husband lived with her mother in a home on Knotty Pine Drive. Seitz's mother rushed to Miami as soon as she was notified.

Authorities said they have interviewed the ship's crew and Jennifer's family members and they are all cooperating with police. They said Jennifer's husband is not a suspect at this time.

It was the sixth time this year crews have searched for someone who went overboard from a cruise ship.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Americans dropping dead as police get Taser-happy

Americas dropping dead as police get Taser-happy
Are cops underestimating stun gun's lethal power?

Posted: December 28, 2008
By Drew Zahn© 2008

Even though the news is inundated with stories of people dying after being stunned by Tasers, police departments all over the nation are adding the electric-shock weapons to their arsenals, convinced the benefits outweigh the risks.

Research by WND revealed several news stories from just this month of police departments newly equipping themselves with the electric stun guns, including law officers in Maryland, Florida, New York, Michigan and even a small community of 15,000 in Pennsylvania, where the 22 full-time officers will be receiving 12 new Tasers.

In other cities, the number of Tasers already in use is skyrocketing: Durham, N.C., plans to double its police arsenal from 110 to 235, and a Georgia police chief is hoping to add 1,000 more stun guns to the Atlanta metro.

The Taser company's website includes testimonials from dozens of police departments, from nearly every state in the U.S.; and a statement from New York's Deleware County Sheriff's Department – which armed itself with Tasers last week – claims 13,400 law enforcement, correctional and military agencies in 44 countries use the device, having fired it on a cumulative total of more than 624,000 people.

"Are everyday citizens justified in arming themselves? Get "Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self-Defense," and find out!

The Taser stun gun is the most common brand of a conductive energy device, or CED, which fires 50,000 volts of electricity through its target from as far as 35 feet away, causing uncontrollable muscle contraction and temporary immobilization.

For many of law enforcement agencies now using the device, the Taser is viewed as a safe alternative to guns, nightsticks or physical force in restraining uncooperative subjects.
In Johnsonburg, Pa., Police Chief Bryan Parana is proud to boast the first police department in his county to use Tasers.

"It's one of the most researched electronic devices out there. What I want to get across is it's not electrocution," Parana told the DuBois Courer-Express, "It is an electronic device which incapacitates."

The safety of the device, however, is becoming a matter of hot debate, and, as more and more news stories are beginning to reveal, it's an electric device that can also kill.

Two days after the city of San Jose, Calif., agreed to pay $70,000 to the wife and child of a man who died in 2005 after police jolted him with Tasers, the city is the center of controversy again after area law enforcement officers fired the device into 26-year-old Edwin Rodriguez.

Family members drove Rodriguez to the Valley Medical Center after he suffered an attack of his chronic schizophrenia. When he resisted treatment, however, police pinned him to the ground and stunned him with a Taser, reportedly four times.

Rodriguez died within the hour, the fifth person to have died in the city after being shocked by police since San Jose issued Tasers to officers in 2004.

According to the human rights organization, Amnesty International, deaths like Rodriquez happen too often to be freak accidents.

An Amnesty International report titled "USA: Less than lethal?" records 334 people have died after being stunned by Tasers in the U.S. between 2001 and August 2008, including 55 in California and 52 in Florida.

"Tasers are not the 'non-lethal' weapons they are portrayed to be," said Angela Wright, author of the report. "They can kill and should only be used as a last resort."

Proponents of Tasers, however, disagree that the devices pose any serious health threat. Deputy Dan Deering, a Taser trainer for Michigan's Jackson County Sheriff's Office – which began using the weapons in the fall – told the Jackson Citizen Patriot that there are "stacks and stacks" of medical documents backing the Taser's safety.

"Tasers generate a lot of volts, but not a lot of amps," Deering told the newspaper. "It's not the volts that kill you, it's the amps."

Police also testify that the weapons reduce injuries to both officers and suspects, and that even the threat of a Taser's excruciating pain is often a sufficient deterrent.

In Howard County, Md., which lies between Baltimore and Washigton, police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn told the Baltimore Examiner, "We've actually only had to discharge the devices about once a month because simply having the weapon displayed is enough to get suspects to comply."

Critics worry, however, that the very confidence police officers have in Tasers causes them to underestimate their potentially lethal power.

"We're seeing more fatalities following their use," American Civil Liberties Union attorney Peter Bibring told the Mercury News, "and it raises questions about whether they are as safe as the manufacturer claims."

Southern Christian Leadership Conference President Charles Steele Jr. questions the plan to equip Atlanta's police officers with the stun guns.

"What the problem has been," Steele told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "is that people who've been given permission to use them … say, 'Oh, it's not a real weapon to a large degree, and I'm going to use this gun without thinking of the ramifications."

And while the Taser company, the Associated Press reports, maintains that the devices cannot kill, the increasing use of the stun guns – and the increasing number of deaths connected to their use – is starting to draw critics in both the courtroom and the laboratory.

In June, the San Jose Mercury News reports, a federal jury found Taser International partly responsible for the 2005 death of Robert C. Heston, whom Salinas, Calif., police jolted repeatedly during an arrest. According to California Lawyer magazine, the verdict was the company's first courtroom loss after 70 dismissals and settlements.

And while the Amnesty International report did concede that most of the 334 deaths it recorded were attributed to other medical factors such as drug intoxication, the report cited that coroners have concluded Taser shocks did indeed cause or contribute to at least 50 of the deaths.

A study done by researchers commissioned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and reported by the Associated Press also concluded that over time, Tasers can begin to malfunction and fire with up to 50 percent more power than their manufactured limits. Further, the study found, even stun guns firing at expected electrical levels carry some risk of inducing cardiac arrest.

"Scientists who had evaluated the Taser to start with said, 'Well, there's zero probability of death.' I'm sure that's not the case," Pierre Savard, co-author of the study, told The Arizona Republic. "I'm 100 percent certain that cardiac diseases increase the risk of death after receiving Taser shock. I think there's enough scientific evidence for that."

Taser International, the AP reports, called the study flawed.

"Regardless of whether or not the anomaly (high-firing guns) is accurate," Taser Vice President Steve Tuttle said, "it has no bearing on safety."

"Independent medical and scientific experts have determined TASER devices to be a safer use-of-force option compared to traditional use-of-force tools," asserts the company's website. "Field studies have reaffirmed the life-saving value of TASER devices."

Missing Cruise Passenger Could Be Alive in Warm Waters of Mexico's Gulf Coast

Saturday, December 27, 2008

An American woman who reportedly fell off a cruise ship and disappeared could be alive in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard said Saturday.

Authorities are searching for Jennifer Seitz, a 33-year-old passenger on a cruise liner who vanished Thursday night as the ship roamed the waters off Cancun, Mexico.

There is a good chance Seitz is still alive if she is in good physical condition and grabbed a flotation device before she fell, said Petty Officer Nick Ameen, a Coast Guard spokesman.
Water temperatures in the Gulf are relatively warm — somewhere in the mid-70s — so hypothermia would not pose a danger to her.

The Coast Guard and Mexican Navy are conducting independent searches for Seitz, but the search is made difficult by the eight-hour window during which she could have fallen overboard, the Coast Guard said.

Seitz, who may be a Houston resident, was last seen at roughly 8 p.m. EST Thursday, though her husband reportedly did not notice her missing until 3:50 a.m. the following morning.
Her husband informed the ship's captain, and the ship's security personnel conducted a search confirming that Seitz was not on board.

The Coast Guard resumed their search Saturday using a C-130 airplane. Crew on board will use binoculars and heat-detecting equipment to locate the missing passenger.

A rear ramp on the plane will be partially lowered, allowing the plane's crew a wider view of the water below in order to conduct their search.

The Mexican Navy has also dedicated a 90-foot ship and a helicopter to their search.
Mexico's Fifth Naval Regional Command said in a statement that by late Friday it had found no sign of Seitz and was dealing with "adverse conditions" and strong waves just over 17 miles east of Cancun.

'No apology' from Iraq shoe-thrower

Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush, the US president, has said that he will not apologise for his act, amid reports from his lawyer that he has been severely beaten in custody.

Dhiya'a al-Sa'adi, al-Zaidi's lawyer, told Al Jazeera on Monday: "Muntazer al-Zaidi considers what he did when he threw his shoes at President Bush as exercising his freedom of expression, in opposing and rejecting the occupation, which has brought misery to Iraq."

Al-Sa'adi said al-Zaidi was not considering giving an apology to the US president, "not now, nor in the future".

A spokesman for Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, had said on Thursday that al-Zaidi had acknowledged his shoe throwing during a news conference in Baghdad was "an ugly act".

However, Dhargham al-Zaidi, the journalist's brother, questioned whether the statement was genuine. He said his brother had been beaten with an iron bar as soon as he was taken out of the news conference.

"He does not reject what he has done," his lawyer told Al Jazeera. "His actions were solely targeted at President Bush to tell him that he rejects the occupation and all that it stands for in Iraq. In particular, in light of the inhumane way that Iraqi prisoners have been treated by the American forces."


Al-Zaidi was allowed to see his lawyer on Sunday afternoon, who confirmed initial reports that he had been beaten and that his medical condition "was very bad".

"There are visible signs of torture on his body, as a result of being beaten by metal instruments," al-Sa'adi said.

"Medical reports have shown that the beating he was subjected to has led to him losing one of his teeth as well as injuries to his jaw and ears.

"He has internal bleeding in his left eye, as well as bruises over his face and stomach. Almost none of his body was spared."

Hajar Smouni, a spokesperson for Doha Centre for Media Freedom in Qatar, said: "The way he was arrested was very brutal. Some people say there was blood on the floor when he was held during his arrest.

"Although he was not arrested because of his opinions, we cannot remain silent in the face of the ill-treatment inflicted on him by the Iraqi security forces. It is vital that he should be given access to medical care and be given a fair trial," the centre said.


Smouni said: "The fact that he has seen his lawyer is a positive sign, but the worrying sign is that he is to be tried at the central Iraqi criminal court, because that is a court used to try terrorism suspects.

"[Muntazer] is not even considering, not now, nor in the future, apologising for what he has done."

Dhiya'a al-Sa'adi, al-Zaidi's lawyer"We don't want him to made an example of.

"This is a serious trial. He might be sentenced with up to 25 years in prison, and we want to make sure he is not given an excessive sentence.

"In the past, there have been several outcomes that could be interpreted as not fully showing the independence of the Iraqi judicial system."

Al-Zaidi has filed a complaint against the guards who he said beat him, according to his lawyer, and requested that they be sent to the central Iraqi criminal court.

"The court has accepted his complaint and taken a statement in order to proceed with the necessary actions in bringing these people to justice and punishing them for breaking the law," al-Sa'adi said.

Al-Zaidi shot to fame when he called Bush a "dog" in Arabic at a joint news conference with al-Maliki in Baghdad last week, and threw both his shoes at Bush in a gesture that is a deep insult in Arab culture.

His whereabouts remained unknown four days after he became a hero to those who blame the US president for the tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths that followed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

Al-Zaidi is expected to stand trial on December 31 on charges of insulting a foreign leader.
Is there something we can do for this guy? Does anyone know an address or e-mail of Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki? We went into Iraq to "set them free" and now this poor schmuck is exercizing his freedom and is looking at 25 years in jail...

Cruise Passenger Reported Overboard Near Cancun

Friday, December 26, 2008

MEXICO CITY -- Authorities say three Mexican Navy boats and a helicopter were searching the waters off the Caribbean resort of Cancun on Friday for an American woman who reportedly fell from a cruise ship.

A U.S. Coast Guard search-and-rescue crew using a Falcon jet halted its efforts to find 36-year-old Jennifer Seitz late Friday, but will resume early Saturday morning using a larger C-130 aircraft.

Seitz's husband reported her missing from the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship just before 5 a.m. EST Friday. Her hometown was not available.

Mexico's Fifth Naval Regional Command said in a statement that by late Friday it had found no sign of Seitz and was having to deal with "adverse conditions" and strong waves in the search taking place just over 17 miles (27 kilometers) east of Cancun.

Norwegian Cruise Line says the ship left Sunday from Miami for a seven-day western Caribbean cruise.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Jose Baez witness in Anthony case?

Check this out. On page 1 of the pfd document, Jose Baez is listed as a potential witness. Can someone explain this to me?


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Florida Dad Who Locked Up 9-Year-Old Son Gets 9 Years in Prison

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Florida Dad Who Locked Up 9-Year-Old Son Gets 9 Years in Prison

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A judge said a Jacksonville father who kept his 9-year-old son locked in a bedroom for much of his life should spend nine years in prison himself.

Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper sentenced Randall Warren Piercy, 44, on Friday. Piercy had pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse.

During a day of testimony Piercy's wife, who is also charged with child abuse, testified she and her husband both were victims of childhood sexual abuse and that left them extremely protective of their son.

Piercy told the judge that cameras monitored her son and that her husband used the intercom to let him know when he could come out of his bedroom to eat. He ate alone at the dining room table monitored by two more cameras.

Casey's Closet, Caylee's Room Searched

December 23, 2008

WFTV has learned crime scene investigators stripped Caylee Anthony's room and then raided Casey's closet during a recent search of the home.

Crime scene investigators have confiscated boxes of items from the Anthony home two times in the past week.

Sources tell Eyewitness News last Thursday, investigators were focused on Caylee Anthony. They took her clothes, shoes and her toys.

Over the weekend, another search warrant was executed and investigators came back for Casey Anthony's belongings. They took more of Caylee's clothes, five to eight pairs of Casey shoes and her clothes as well.

Legal expert Bill Sheaffer believes investigators are trying to take as many items as possible to help build their case because they don't have a cause of death.

"Any forensic evidence linking Casey to the scene is extremely important for the states prosecution," said Sheaffer.

We are also told investigators took soil samples from the Anthony home. Once defense attorney Jose Baez found out that the samples were taken as part of the evidence, he sent out his own team and they collected soil from the home for there forensic experts.

Sources tell WFTV, investigators also took two pairs of sunglasses and a pink-zippered bag.


Toys that were collected at a memorial for Caylee were handed out to needy children Monday.
Cynthia Melendez and her four children were forced into the Orlando Union Rescue Mission shelter a month ago.

She lost her job and worried her children wouldn't have a Christmas. Now, she'll benefit from the community's outpouring over the Caylee Anthony tragedy.

"It's a blessing to them, but it’s heartbreaking at the same time," said Melendez.

VIDEO REPORT: Memorial Toys Donated
Employees at the Mission unloaded armfuls of stuffed animals and toys brought from the Caylee Anthony memorial site where the child's remains were found more than a week ago. All 85 children staying at the shelter picked out a toy for Christmas. George and Cindy Anthony said their granddaughter was a giving child who liked to share and would have wanted this to happen.
The children at the mission couldn't stop singing and smiling when they saw the gifts under the tree, Monday morning.

"I feel excited, happy and thankful," said Katherine Lane, one of the children. When asked if she knew who had donated the presents, she answered, "Caylee and her grandparents."

Some parents said they were praying for the Anthonys and a few even said they sympathize with Casey Anthony, who stands accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter. She could go to prison for life is she's convicted. A tentative trial date has been set for March of 2009.
"I hope the courts understand that she was a young mom and there are hard times," said Jennifer Gonzalez.

Dozens of people have contacted WFTV, saying they were upset the Anthonys donated the items instead of leaving them at the memorial. However, parents at the shelter believe it's one way to keep alive Caylee's memory alive and help children who didn't think they'd receive anything this holiday season.

"I will tell my children that this was given to a child who lost her life, but you are living in her memory," said one mother.


A man who once planned to marry Casey Anthony and take in Caylee as his own spoke publicly for the time Monday morning.

Jesse Grund appeared on "The Today Show." Grund reiterated claims made by several of Casey's friends that she had a problem telling the truth. But Grund said the Casey he knew wasn't capable of killing her daughter.

"I don't know what this Casey is capable of," said Grund. "I don't really know her at all they way she is now."

Grund said he believes this case will follow him for the rest of his life.


A hearing scheduled for Monday in a defamation lawsuit against Casey Anthony was cancelled.

George and Cindy Anthony were expected to testify in the civil case filed by Zenaida Gonzales. Gonzales was named as the mystery babysitter Casey claimed kidnapped Caylee. Detectives have long said Casey made up the story and Gonzales was never connected to Casey, Caylee, or the case.

Gonzalez's attorney voluntarily asked the court to delay the scheduled deposition in light of the discovery of Caylee's remains. Casey's attorney is asking the deposition be delayed until after the criminal trial.

Report Says Abuse At Texas Sect Widespread

12 Girls Believed To Have Been Abused
December 23, 2008thedenverchannel.com

SAN ANTONIO -- Texas child welfare authorities concluded in a new report that nearly two-thirds of the families living at a polygamist group's ranch -- targeted in a high-profile raid last spring -- had children who were abused or neglected.

The Department of Family and Protective Services released the report to The Associated Press on Tuesday, saying 12 girls, ages 12 to 15, are believed to have been abused.

Another 274 children were listed as neglected because the agency said the parents knew there was abuse in the household but did not move their children away.

Child welfare authorities conducted investigations into all the families of the 439 children taken from the ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in April.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mother arrested after her child is abducted

Dec 20, 2008

WICHITA, Kansas (KSN) -- A Wichita mother is facing child endangerment charges after a thief drove off in her car with her 18 month old son sitting in the backseat.

Police say the 24 year old woman left her son in the car with the engine running as she tried to borrow money from a friend in the 400 block of North Clayton Friday night around 8:30 p.m.
That's when a suspect described as a white male around 24 years old with a goatee and spiked hair wearing a dark colored jacket and jeans took off in the 2008 black Jetta. The car and the 18 month old boy were found a few blocks away on Joann St.

Witnesses tell police they saw the man running away through neighbors' yards.

The boy was not hurt. He was taken from the scene by relatives when is mother was taken into custody. Police plan to present the case to the District Attorney's office next week.

Kidnap notes plague Mexico pupils

By Stephen Gibbs
BBC News, Mexico City

Some parents have pulled their children from school.
A series of anonymous notes have been posted outside schools in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez threatening to kidnap pupils if money is not paid.

The notes state that teachers should hand over their end-of-year bonuses to avoid the threat to their students. No arrests have been made over the threats, but drug cartels are believed to be responsible.

The city, on the US border, has one of the world's highest murder rates with more than 1,400 homicides this year.

Over the last few weeks several notes have been mysteriously pinned up at the entrance to schools in Ciudad Juarez. They demand money from the staff, and threaten to harm both teachers and pupils if the request is not met.

One of the notes was pinned to a wall outside a kindergarten.

Gruesome violence

The extortion campaign appears to be timed to coincide with the Christmas bonuses teachers in Mexico receive in their December pay packets.

When news of the notes became public, many parents removed their children from school.
Ciudad Juarez is becoming infamous as the place where some of the most gruesome violence in Mexico's ongoing drug wars is concentrated.

More than a quarter of all the murders linked to organised crime in the country this year have been in the city.

As well as schools, hospitals are finding it increasingly difficult to function normally. Last weekend, hundreds of doctors staged a protest in the city denouncing the extreme level of threats and kidnappings they face every day.

There have been several reports of gunmen entering hospitals to finish off wounded rivals, as they are being treated. Several medical clinics have closed permanently.
Government officials say that they are doing all they can to defeat the drug cartels, and say much of the violence is a reflection of their success, as leaderless gangs fight one another for dominance.

But the social consequences of such prolonged and prolific violence might present a future battle for this country.

In many schools in northern Mexico, teachers report that their pupils have an increasing tendency to idolise narco-traffickers as untouchable heroes.

Camera Watches Caylee Anthony Remains Scene

December 21, 2008

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Investigators have cleared the scene where Caylee Anthony's remains were found more than a week ago.

Detectives finished their search of the area late Saturday afternoon. "No Trespassing" signs have been posted and a camera is watching over the property, which is less than a half a mile from the home of her grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony.
George appeared in public for the first time since learning the news that the remains were those of his granddaughter. He didn't make any comments while accepting flowers from a family friend.

Minutes after a convoy of investigators pulled out of the search scene, a crowd of people marched down Suburban Drive so they could have a first look at the area where Caylee was found. Deputies said any cars parked along the road would be towed.

"This is private property," said Capt. Angelo Nieves of the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "Onlookers do not have the right to go in the property. They could be subject to arrest."
Caylee's mother, Casey, is in the Orange County jail, charged with her daughter's murder. She has insisted that she left the girl with a babysitter in June, but she didn't report her missing until July. The babysitter has never been found.

Also Saturday, detectives served a search warrant on the Anthonys' home. They refused to disclose what was in two large boxes and a large bag they removed from the house
"Obviously, we are going to treat this family with respect as well, due to the pain they're going through," said Nieves.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Medical Examiner Says Caylee Anthony Was Murdered

Friday, December 19, 2008 ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. --

Forensic evidence shows remains found near the home of George and Cindy Anthony belong to their granddaughter, Caylee, and that the child was murdered.

"This identification was made from nuclear DNA taken from the remains and compared to a known profile of Caylee Anthony," Dr. Jan C. Garavaglia, the Orange County Medical Examiner, said "There was no trauma to the bones prior to the death. The manner of the death in this case is homicide. The cause of death will be listed as homicide by unknown means."

METER READER: Roy Kronk Speaks Images

The announcement was made at an afternoon news conference. Dr. Garavaglia said a substantial amount of Caylee's skeleton was found. More tests are coming in.

The Medical Examiner's office said reports from a botanist, anthropologist, and toxicologist would arrive at a later date. Garavaglia said there was no tissue found and there was not much chance of determining whether a chemical such as chloroform was used to silence the little girl.

"It will be difficult to interpret levels from these specimens and this will not be definitive in helping determine the cause of death," said Garavaglia. "Should other information become available the cause of death may be revisited."


The meter reader came forward Friday afternoon. Roy Kronk, 46, read a short statement confirming he'd called authorities three times before the remains were discovered.

"I have been and will continue to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation with the sheriff's office and the FBI," said Kronk. "I respectfully decline to get into details about what I saw at the crime scene." Kronk refused to answer questions and said he would not grant any interviews.
"His participation in this matter is strictly as a concerned citizen with a sharp eye and good instincts and perseverance. He has no connection whatsoever to this case. He has no connection to the Anthony family… Those who have speculated to the contrary could not be more wrong," said David Evans, Kronk's lawyer.

Steve Triggs, Director of Communications for Orange County, said Kronk has been a county employee for a relatively short time. Triggs said Kronk is being represented by outside counsel at the county's expense.

Kronk's role in the case has raised issues because the sheriff's office admitted Thursday that he had first notified its call center and Crimeline on August 11, 12 and 13, that he'd spotted something suspicious in the woods.

The sheriff's office is currently investigating at least three deputies who responded to the scene, but cleared it without finding anything. In the August 13 visit, Kronk even accompanied deputies to the scene. Officials aren't releasing the names of any of the deputies involved, but they are under administrative investigation.

"If we missed a window of opportunity we don't know," Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said. "I'm not throwing anybody under the bus because we don't know. That's why we conduct an administrative review."

Sheriff's investigators said Kronk is not under investigation. "He is not a suspect in this case," Captain Angelo Nieves said. "He is a credible witness and we consider him so at the Orange County Sheriff's Office."

Despite the fact that investigators could have found the remains four months ago, in better shape and prevented all the expense to taxpayers of the exhaustive search that's gone on, investigators said they feel very confident about the evidence they have and that it strengthens their case tremendously.


Casey Anthony was notified about the determination by a jail chaplain, Friday afternoon. She refused a visit from her family pastor. Jail officials refused to say what her reaction was. They did say she was not on suicide watch or under psychological evaluation.

Her attorney, Jose Baez, blasted the sheriff's office for not allowing him to break the news to Casey. "That courtesy was not given to us," he said. "That lack of professionalism, I'm really at a loss for words ... She's innocent and we are moving forward and again you really don't know half of the story," said Baez.

The jail said it follows a strict protocol when notifying inmates about a death. George and Cindy Anthony were told the remains where their granddaughter's Friday afternoon. The Anthonys were secluded in their home with their son, Lee. Lee's lawyer, Thomas Luka, said the Anthonys were devastated by the news. They had long held out hope their granddaughter would be found alive.

"As you would expect, the Anthonys are extremely on edge and upset," Luka said. Brad Conway, the attorney representing George and Cindy, read a statement from the family :

"As everyone now knows, the remains recovered off Suburban Drive are those of Caylee Marie Anthony. The Anthony family did not give up hope that Caylee was still alive until we were notified by the Orange County Sheriff's Office at approximately 1:30pm today. The Anthonys want to thank you for your prayers and best wishes that have been said on behalf of Caylee. They now know that their precious granddaughter is safe and hope that she will serve as the angel that protects thousands of missing children and their families. Please continue your prayers for Caylee, the Anthonys and the families that still hope and pray that their children will be found. We would like to thank crime scene investigators for their exhaustive efforts. The Anthonys want the same answers as everyone who has been assigned to investigate and prosecute this case. In an effort to determine the truth, the Anthony family will be available to law enforcement as the investigation continues. As you can imagine, the Anthonys are grieving deeply about this loss. Please respect their privacy and understand they will stand together as a family in order to get through this. Your thoughts and prayers are welcome, but they also ask that you pray for the families who have lost a child under any circumstances. This is a tragic moment in the lives of good and honorable people. Please treat them respectfully so they can grieve with dignity over the loss of this precious child, Caylee Marie Anthony."


Sheriff Kevin Beary defended the long investigation and many searches for the body saying, "I don't put price tags on finding a little child ... I think this has been an open wound in the community and I think we can put some closure to this wound ... No child should have to go through this."

An FBI spokesman said his agency had investigated more than 400 leads nationwide and there were no other suspects besides Casey Anthony. Orange County detectives investigated more than 5,600 leads.

Friday, investigators remained at the scene where the remains were found. They continued their search for clues as a small crowd gathered and put together a memorial to Caylee. Visitors dropped off photos and momentos, some wiping away tears as they passed by.


WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the fact that the medical examiner couldn't determine a cause of death benefits the defense. "This is going to bring the forensic evidence even more to the forefront to show if this child was killed by Casey Anthony," said Sheaffer. Casey's attorneys have talked about having a second autopsy performed on the remains. Sheaffer said that's likely to happen.

"You can look forward to a second autopsy in this case when the body is released to the mother," he said. "We've seen a list of powerhouse forensic witnesses [for the defense] and you can bet they're going to attempt to reach a different conclusion than that of the medical examiner."

Remains ID'd As Caylee; Meter Reader Comes Forward

Friday, December 19, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Skeletal remains found in the woods are that of Caylee Anthony who has been missing since mid-June, and her death is considered a homicide, a county medical examiner said Friday.

LIVE VIDEO: Local 6 News

PHOTOS: Authorities' Pics Of Search Site Part II

A utility worker stumbled upon the remains last week, less than a half-mile from where the girl lived. DNA tests confirm that the remains match Caylee Anthony's genetic profile, said the medical examiner, Dr. Jan Garavaglia.

Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony, 22, remains jailed on first-degree murder and other charges. She has insisted yadda, yadda...

It took authorities several days to analyze the remains, and some tests are still being completed. Some of the bones were as small as a pebble and had been scattered, and the fragments were hard to find by excavators who searched on their hands and knees, authorities said. The bone fragments did not reveal any trauma before death, Garavaglia said, but exactly what happened to the girl remains a mystery.

"Bottom line is, folks, no child should have to go through this," said Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary.

A search team said they did not check the wooded area sooner because it was submerged in water. Beary said his department was investigating reports that the utility worker who called in the tip leading to the discovery of the remains had tried several times in August to call in his suspicion about a bag in the area.

"If we missed a window of opportunity we don't know," he said. "I'm not throwing anybody under the bus because we don't know. That's why we conduct an administrative review."

Casey Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez, was with her at the Orange County Jail shortly after she found out the news from a jail chaplain, said Todd Black, a spokesman for the attorney. She was notified about 15 minutes before the news conference about the positive identification. Black said he wouldn't comment on her reaction.

A message left for the attorney representing George and Cindy Anthony, Casey's parents, was not immediately returned.

The Orange County utility worker, Roy Kronk, identified himself at a brief afternoon news conference. He said that he had contacted the Orange County Sheriff's office in August to report that he had seen "something suspicious, a bag, in the same area."

Reading from a statement, he said he was cooperating with the sheriff's office and FBI and would not discuss details with the media.

David Evans, his lawyer, said Kronk is not involved in the girl's disappearance. "His participation in this matter is strictly as a concerned citizen with a sharp eye, good instincts," Evans said. "Those who have speculated to the contrary could not be more wrong."

Evans asked that the media give his client and other utility workers their privacy...

Snake Scared Deputy, Co-Worker Says

Meanwhile, a co-worker of the man who made the bone discovery said the deputy who checked on the man's first tips -- made in August -- was scared off by a large snake.

The utility worker who made the discovery -- and has not yet been identified -- first called in a tip to Crimeline on Aug. 11, saying he spotted a suspicious bag partially submerged on the side of Suburban Drive, near the area where he later found the skull and human bones.

"The deputy responds out to the scene, takes a look at the area, monitors the area, surveils the area to see what's available here for them to find. (The deputy) does not find anything, and then cleared the call," Orange County sheriff's Capt. Angelo Nieves said.

The same utility worker then called in the same tip on Aug. 12. A detective received the information but did not respond to the area, Local 6 News reported.

"They had information at that time that a detective was handling it, that the area had been searched -- which the area had been searched previously by cadaver dogs we understand -- but exactly what area we are still trying to determine," Nieves said.

The meter reader called in the same tip for a third time on Aug. 13, and an Orange County sheriff's deputy went to the wooded area to search for the bag but encountered a large snake and turned back, clearing the scene a short time later, according to the co-worker.

"That's where we're trying to determine the thoroughness of the follow-up," Nieves said.
The worker then returned to the woods on Dec. 11 -- four months after placing his first tip -- and discovered the bag. He picked it up, and a child's skull rolled out. The worker called the dispatcher who he works with, and his boss placed a 911 call about the finding.

The following is text of part of the conversation the worker had with dispatch:

Meter reader: I'm in the wooded area down by the school. I need you, like, now. I just found a human skull.

Dispatch: OK. I talked to the sheriff's department. They got somebody coming down there. Do not do anything that could cause any attention whatsoever. Just stay right there and they'll meet with you.

Meter reader: Understood. 10-4.

The meter reader, who has been pulled from his job so he can avoid publicity, is not considered a suspect in the case, Nieves said.

Nieves also said more skeletal remains found on Thursday appeared to be those of a small child.
Nieves said accusations made by Casey Anthony's defense team that the search site is being held by authorities longer than necessary are not true. He cited the fact that more remains have been found as proof.

"This is a perfect example of why the public and media should not be prejudging the case," Black said. "I would imagine the meter reader should get an attorney before the sheriff's office accuses him of a crime."

CNN show host Nancy Grace, a former attorney who has been following the Caylee case closely, said the new information could lead to doubt in the minds of jurors if the case goes to trial.

"The remains were not there earlier when the area was cleared apparently by police and cadaver dogs, and therefore, the remains were put there while tot mom, Casey Anthony, was behind bars, ruling her out. That is an obvious argument," Grace said.

Clothing Also Found In Bag With Child's Remains

FBI Analyzing Tooth, Hair Found At Crime Scene
December 17, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The state confirmed Wednesday that clothing was also found in the trash bag full of a child's remains discovered near the Anthony home.

The remains were found last Thursday just blocks away from the home of Caylee Anthony, who was first reported missing five months ago.

Her mother, Casey Anthony, has been jailed on a first-degree murder charge.
The clothing discovery is the strongest sign yet that the state believes the remains belong to Caylee, reported WESH 2's Bob Kealing.

Authorities said they're uncovering new evidence almost every day. Sources said they believe the victim was dumped soon after the slaying.

Prosecutors visited the crime scene along Suburban Drive on Wednesday. They learned that crime scene investigators and FBI forensics experts wouldn't be done processing the area until at least Thursday.

Teams carrying machetes continued cutting into the wooded area, and they expanded the search area from a half acre to an acre.

Investigators said the crime scene continues to give up more and more clues. Crime scene investigator technicians hope to piece together not only who the child was, but how the child died, and perhaps when the remains were dumped there in a plastic bag.

Two prosecutors met with investigators on Wednesday morning for a progress report on the search effort.

A short news conference was held to announce the search would stretch into an eighth day.
"We expected that it might have been late this afternoon that this scene might have been able to be cleared, but as we continue to discover items at the scene, we'll continue to hold the scene irregardless of identification. The medical examiner will make that determination as to when it is proper to make a proper announcement regarding identification," Orange County Sheriff's Office Capt. Angelo Nieves said.

Authorities also announced that FBI analysts began work to identify the remains by using a tooth and hair found at the crime scene.

One woman said off camera Wednesday that she was part of a Texas Equusearch team that scoured this area. She claims to have photographic evidence that proves the remains were not there when they searched. Investigators reviewed the photos and took her statement.
Earlier Wednesday, lead investigators briefed two state attorneys whose job it is to prosecute Casey Anthony on murder charges.

A steady stream of people continued to come to the scene to pay their respects and reflect.
Zenaida Gonzalez Prepares To Fight Further Involvement In Anthony Case

A local woman named Zenaida Gonzalez was dragged into the Caylee Anthony saga, even though she said she doesn't know anyone who is involved. As the case against Anthony moves forward, the question remains if Gonzalez will be dragged in again.

Attorney John Morgan, who represents Zenaida Gonzalez, said if the Anthonys or Casey Anthony's attorney continue to throw out his client's name as a possible suspect, they've picked the wrong person to mess with.

Gonzalez filed a lawsuit against Casey Anthony in September claiming Casey defamed her. Gonzalez was falsely named by Casey as a possible abductor of Caylee even though the two have never met.

Morgan believes with the recent discovery of remains, if they turn out to be Caylee, the defense will likely return to its claim that Caylee was stolen by "Zanny the nanny."

"And they've kicked this dog and they've kicked this dog and all of the sudden it went away. Now OK it wasn't Zenaida, she's still alive and now they've circled back ant they've decided to kick Zenaida Gonzalez one more time, but they're going to find out they've kicked the wrong dog," Morgan said.

Morgan is scheduled to depose George and Cindy Anthony in his office at 9 a.m. Monday. He said if the Anthonys don't show up, he may hold them in contempt of court. Morgan also plans to depose Casey Anthony in jail but her attorney, Jose Baez, said he's going to try to block that.

Casey Anthony has counter-sued Gonzalez, claiming that Gonzalez is simply looking to cash in on a high-profile case.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dad afraid his daughter will be Drew Peterson's next wife

Right: Stacy Cales Peterson, missing since Oct 2007
Lower Right: Kathleen Savio, murdered in 2004

'I'm doing everything i can to get her away from him'

December 18, 2008
DAN ROZEK Staff Reporters

Drew Peterson, under a cloud of suspicion since his 23-year-old fourth wife vanished more than a year ago, has popped the question to another young woman -- drawing anguished pleas from a Chicago father convinced his daughter is the one.

"That ain't going to happen," Ernie Raines said. "I'm doing everything I can to try to get her away from him. . . . I'd like to say to him: Stay away from my daughter, take his ring back and look for his wife before he's out trying to get another young girl."

Peterson's lawyer confirmed the 54-year-old former Bolingbrook police sergeant is engaged to be married. Peterson refused to say who accepted his proposal, but denied that it's Raines' daughter Christina, 24 years old.

Christina Raines, a waitress, also denied that she's the one, saying she's friends with Peterson but never dated him or got a marriage proposal.
But a police source said she is the bride-to-be, and her father insists, "It's her."

Ernie Raines said his daughter is trying to avoid the publicity that has followed Peterson since his wife, Stacy, disappeared in October 2007.

Peterson has been named as a suspect in her "potential homicide" and is being investigated in the 2004 homicide of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Ernie Raines said his daughter told him about Peterson's proposal when he spotted a ring on her finger Friday.

"I said, 'You need to take that back. If you don't want to, I will,' " said Ernie Raines, 53. "I said, why would you want to marry someone like that anyway? He's my age for Christ's sake."

Christina Raines said her dad's got it wrong -- it was just a friendship ring from someone else. She said she doesn't know who Peterson plans to marry.

Joel Brodsky, Peterson's defense attorney, said, without naming names, "Yeah, he proposed and she accepted. I guess he's got to get divorced."

On Wednesday morning, a sleepy Peterson seemed irked that news of his engagement had leaked. "I can't believe this is happening," he said. "How the f - - - did this get out?"

Peterson said several female friends called him Wednesday to complain they were being questioned by news reporters.

"I've got calls from three or four women saying the media is bothering them," Peterson said. "They're bothering everybody I've known since third grade."

He said he wants to keep details of his new love under wraps.

"Last time I had a relationship, you guys screwed it all up," he said, referring to tanning salon worker Kim Matuska, 22. "The police had her, the grand jury had her. I'm not putting her through all that."

Peterson said he does not believe his marital status should prevent him from becoming engaged. "I was married to Kathleen when I was engaged to Stacy," he said.

Ernie Raines said he and his daughter met Peterson at a Bolingbrook laundromat years ago, and that she has been friendly with him for months. Peterson has brought her roses, taken her to "Blue Man Group," promised to buy her a car and even autographed a book for him, Ernie Raines said.

Concerned about Peterson -- "I don't want a third one to come up missing" -- Ernie Raines said he drove to Peterson's house last month to "let him know that I'm here, that I'm around, that I know where he lives."

He said Peterson asked him, "Did you get my book?"

"We talked, I said, 'You know me, I'd kill for my kids, you know that,' " Ernie Raines said. "He told me: 'I will never do nothing to hurt your daughter, that's why I didn't put her name out.' "

Ernie Raines thinks his daughter sees security with Peterson. "He's got a house. He's got money." But, as a father, he sees troubles.

"I said, if you don't answer your [cell] phone, don't worry about it," Raines said. "I'll drive my Cadillac right through his house."

Tipster Who Found Caylee Anthony Remains Called In Tip 3 Times In August

Thursday, December 18, 2008 ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- There are new concerns surrounding the meter reader who found a child's remains believed to be Caylee Anthony.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that the meter reader had been to the scene before and had called police about the area in August (map from location to Anthonys' home).

Investigators interviewed the meter reader at length about what he knows, but he is not considered a suspect in any way.

"He is not a suspect in this case," Sheriff'f Captain Angelo Nieves said early Thursday evening. "He is a credible witness and we consider him so at the Orange County Sheriff's Office."

Steve Triggs, Director of Communications for Orange County, said the meter reader had been a county employee for a “relatively short time” and would appear at a news conference with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Friday afternoon. Triggs said he is being represented by outside counsel at the County’s expense.

The sheriff's office said the meter reader had called in tips about the exact same area to Crimeline and the sheriff's office three times in August, two weeks before Tropical Storm Fay hit and flooded much of Central Florida, including the area where the remains were found last week.
The sheriff's office said it is focusing on its own deputies who came out on August 11 and 13 to inspect the scene. It's unknown what the area looked like on August 11, the first day the meter reader called and reported seeing a gray bag.

Sheriff’s officials said the man called Crimeline on August 12th. A detective checked records and determined the area already had been checked by a cadaver dog.

The sheriff's office is also investigating deputies who came out and cleared the scene on the 13th of August. The meter ready accompanied the deputies but nothing was found.

Officials aren't releasing the names of any of the deputies involved, but they are under administrative investigation.

Nieves said the meter reader went back last week because he had a nagging feeling that it was the place to look.

"He called on the 11th, the 12th and the 13th," Nieves said. "Currently, we are following up on that sequence."

WFTV legal analyst William Sheaffer said the developments would appear to benefit Casey Anthony’s defense attorneys.

“The defense has to regard this information as a godsend,” said Sheaffer. “The defense is ultimately going to make a lot of the fact the remains were discovered after numerous trips from the meter reader… This is probably a game-changer.”


Investigators also released new photos of the scene (see photos) and said skeletal remains were found Thursday afternoon.

Orange County deputies said "significant skeletal remains" were found Thursday afternoon. A late Thursday afternoon media briefing from the Orange County Sheriff's Office revealed new details in the search for more evidence after a child's remains were found less than a half-mile from the Anthony home (map from location to Anthonys' home).

Capt. Angelo Nieves said the search was expanded after "significant skeletal remains" were located Thursday afternoon. He said the newly found remains are consistent with the remains of a young child. Nieves said the area is not going to be released until possibly as late as Saturday.
"We will release the scene when it's appropriate to do so," Nieves said.

Also Thursday, the sheriff's office released dozens of images showing the search scene. The images didn't reveal anything and do not show any actual evidence, but some of the images do give the closest look yet at the search scene from the ground (see images).


As investigators worked on their eighth day looking for clues they believe will solve Caylee's murder, her mother, Casey, is awaiting the jail delivery of her order for snacks, playing cards and sketch art supplies.

Some of the most experienced investigators from the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the FBI, along with bug, bone and botany experts are sifting through the dirt by hand looking for clues that could lead them to a killer.

Even Casey Anthony's defense team admits the remains found are probably Caylee's, but now there's a big about-face by the defense.

After fighting to gain access to the crime scene, making claims that the goal was to preserve evidence, the defense now says it has no need for it any longer.

Nationally-known forensics expert and author Dr. Henry Lee was with the defense team as they tried to barge onto the scene over the weekend, even after a judge told them they had no right to interfere with the criminal investigation.

Eyewitness News has learned Dr. Lee, according to a Court TV report last year, was accused by a Los Angeles judge of hiding or destroying evidence in the murder case against music producer Phil Spector. The evidence could have been the fake fingernail of the alleged murder victim, which could have proven that she did not commit suicide.

Spector's trial ended in a hung jury.

Lee worked with Spector's defense team attorney Linda Kenney-Baden, who is also now on Casey's defense team.


An online social networking site might hold clues in the case against Casey. It might help determine where the duct tape came from that was found on a child's remains located near the Anthony home.

Eyewitness News made the discovery Wednesday as search crews spent another day sifting through dirt and knocking down tree branches. Eyewitness News learned of the duct tape details from somebody who contacted the station through WFTV.com.

An Ontario woman, Gloria Hilker, who has been tracking the Casey Anthony case on WFTV.com, emailed Eyewitness News what she says is Casey's Facebook page with a message about duct tape. She insists it's an authentic page she found and printed in July.

One specific posting in late May, from who appears to be Casey's former best friend Amy Huizenga, reads, "You lost my duct tape. I was excited to have so much left. That's why (sic) I get for giving you my purse."

The date it appeared to be posted, May 26, was around the same time as a "no clothes party" Casey attended. She had wrapped herself in a flag and, according to her, nothing else.

Eyewitness News passed the Facebook information along to law enforcement and they are investigating the possibility that the duct tape mentioned is somehow connected to the case.

Investigators found duct tape on the mouth of the child's skull found less than a half-mile from the Anthony home. Investigators have been very tight-lipped about what they took from the Anthony home shortly after the remains were found and what, if any, evidence it has yielded.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Casey Anthony Visited By Pastor In Jail

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 –

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Casey Anthony received a visitor at the Orange County jail Tuesday. Pastor Thomas Stutzman of the Eastside Baptist Church visited her for the second time. He is the only pastor that is permitted to visit and he may visit once a month.

The pastor is the only person, other than her defense team, who has visited Casey since she was arrested on murder charges for the death of her daughter. Stutzman represents the same church where the Anthonys held a vigil for Caylee.

Channel 9 was told that Casey Anthony was removed from psychological observation, but she remains in protective custody.

This is nice of Rev. Stutzman. I suppose she'll now find Gee-zuss, and use that as a sympathy attempt to avoid the death penalty. If she HAD attended services, she'd have only stolen from the collection plate. Skank.