Missing girl's mom charged with murder

October 14, 2008 6:29:59 PM PDT
The mother of a missing 3-year-old girl was accused Tuesday in an indictment of killing her daughter, prosecutors said, even though the child's body has not been found during an exhaustive four-month search. A grand jury returned charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of lying to investigators against Casey Anthony in the death of her daughter, Caylee, State Attorney Lawson Lamar said. The mother is being held without bond.

A few hours before the sealed indictment was issued, the 22-year-old Anthony stood silently, sometimes crying, as her attorney told reporters she is innocent.

"Casey is going through a nightmare," Jose Baez said. "I sincerely believe that when we have finally spoken, everyone, and I mean everyone, will sit back and say, 'Now, I understand. That explains it."

Casey Anthony's father, George, testified Tuesday behind closed doors to the 19-member grand jury along with a detective, a cadaver dog handler and an FBI agent.

The child's grandmother first called authorities in July to say that she hadn't seen Caylee for a month and that her daughter's car smelled like death.

Casey Anthony told authorities that she had left her daughter with a baby sitter in June, and that the two were gone when she returned from work. She says she spent the next month trying to find her daughter and didn't call authorities because she was scared.

Investigators immediately started poking holes in her story. The apartment where Casey Anthony said she had left her daughter had been vacant for months, they said. They said she also lied when she told them she had been working at an area theme park as a photographer.

Investigators also accused her of stealing checks from a friend and cashing them. She was charged with felony child neglect and making false statements along with forgery and theft. She was released on $500,000 bail and confined to her parents' home.

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