'Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery' revisits doubts of innocence

The premiere of the three-part series Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery on Investigation Discovery (ID) once again summoned viewers' attention to Orlando, Fla., to relive the death of toddler Caylee Anthony and the acquittal of her mother, Casey Anthony, for her murder in 2011.

It's the second unsolved case the network has tackled in this format, following JonBenét: An American Murder Mystery, which resulted in ID's highest ratings to date when it aired last September.

Henry Schleiff, group president of ID said there are several additional stories that the franchise will cover this year.

"We’ve seen a resurgence of interest in some of these iconic cases and trials – from O.J. Simpson to JonBenét Ramsey and now Casey Anthony," Schleiff said in an emailed statement to USA TODAY. "It’s shocking that we don’t have closure on how and why Caylee Anthony was killed," he continued. "Now, with the benefit of time, our viewers want to understand what happened and uncover the truth."

To help viewers get to the real story, ID's new docuseries includes interviews with investigators and Casey's parents, George and Cindy Anthony. In contrast to the praise Cindy gave her child during the miniseries' premiere, viewers are also introduced to the lies Anthony crafted for police, and the discovery of a car with a very distinct smell, which led police to suspect her of murder.

Zenaida Gonzalez

One of Anthony's inexplicable stories probed by the series involves babysitter Zenaida Gonzalez. In the first episode, John Allen, a former Sergeant with the Sheriff's Office, claims Anthony told Detective Yuri Melich in July 2008 that her two-year-old's babysitter had disappeared with Caylee a month prior.

Allen said Anthony did not inform her parents or the police of the alleged abduction. Allen also revealed that the apartment Casey claimed to be Gonzalez' was vacant and had been without a tenant for months. Casting further shadows on Casey's tale, Eric Edwards, a former corporal in the Sheriff's Office, said no one by Gonzalez's name had ever occupied the property.

When police located a woman by the name of Zenaida Gonzalez, she did not match the description Casey provided and she denied knowing Casey and Caylee, according to Kevin Beary, Sheriff of Orange County during the investigation.

Universal Studios

Anthony's assertion that she worked at Universal Studios and informed two co-workers about Caylee's alleged kidnapping was another fabrication, according to Edwards and Allen. Allen informed viewers that neither Anthony nor the coworkers were current employees of the company.

To catch the mom in a lie, Allen said he and Melich took Anthony to Universal Studios and observed her lying to the guard and waving to supposed colleagues before confessing she was not on staff.

The car

The discovery of the Anthony's Pontiac -- which Edwards explained smelled “like decomposition” -- and forensic evidence led police to believe Caylee might be dead.

Edwards said a cadaver dog alerted officers near the trunk of the vehicle. Further building the case for murder, utility worker Roy Kronk discovered the skull of a small child in the woods as the episode ends.

As much of the country watched, Anthony was found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of lying to police when the jury returned its verdict in 2011, and acquitted of charges of murder. In an interview with the Associated Press published last month, Anthony admitted that she lied to police about a slew of things, but reasoned that being honest wouldn't have changed her fate. "Because cops believe other cops," she stated. "I see why I was treated the way I was even had I been completely truthful."

Parts two and three of Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery air Monday and Tuesday respectively at 10 p.m. ET. ID says new information about the case will be revealed in the finale.

ID did not receive any comments from Anthony regarding the docuseries.

Casey Anthony stands in the courtroom for the entrance of the jury at the Orange County Courthouse on June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. (Photo: Red Huber-Pool/Getty Images)



Casey Anthony’s mother: ‘There’s something wrong … it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car’

What did Casey Anthony’s parents know? How did she get away with so many lies?

The first episode of the three-part series, Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery, aired on Investigation Discovery on Sunday. It highlights the incredulous weeks and months following the discovery that Casey Anthony’s two-year-old daughter Caylee had gone missing — and no one in her family reported it.

It started with a 911 call from Casey’s mother, Cindy Anthony, in Orlando, Florida.

“I have someone here that I need to be arrested in my home,” Cindy says in the call. “My daughter.”

The call was about a stolen car. But Cindy Anthony would later reveal that the vehicle smelled like there had been “a dead body in the damn car.”

Casey Anthony tried to stick to her story: That she had last seen little Caylee when she dropped her off with her nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez, who she said was known as “Zanny the Nanny.”

But no such nanny was found. Orlando police asked Casey Anthony to walk them through the day of June 16, the day Caylee went missing. She took them to an apartment where ‘Zanny the Nanny’ purportedly lived. But the apartment was vacant. There was no record of any Zenaida Gonzalez ever living there.

Casey Anthony also insisted, for a while, that she had gone to work as an event planner at Universal Studios the day she went missing. But when police escorted her to her purported place of work, they backed her into a literal corner – at the end of a hallway of offices — and none of them belonged to her.

She turns around and she says.. I don’t really work here.
Cindy and George Anthony both gave interviews for the Investigation Discovery series. Casey Anthony did not. Both her parents are circumspect about what they think happened to their granddaughter – who they both insist was the light of their lives.  So far, they haven’t explained why they didn’t call the police much earlier, why they weren’t alarmed when Caylee suddenly stopped coming home.

“I know in my heart she’s not far,” Casey says in a jailhouse phone call with her parents. “I can feel it.”

A few months later, Caylee Anthony’s skeletal remains were found in a marshy area near the Anthony family home.

Part two of Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery will air on Monday at 10 p.m. ET.

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