Decomposing body was in Casey Anthony's trunk, air-sample tests show
Amy L. Edwards, Sarah Lundy, Bianca Prieto and Walter Pacheco
Sentinel Staff Writers
7:26 PM EDT, August 27, 2008
Air sample tests from Casey Anthony's car show a decomposing human body was inside the trunk, a Sheriff's Office official confirmed Wednesday.
Officials have offered Anthony a partial immunity deal if she admits 3-year-old Caylee Marie died as a result of an accident. If she takes the deal, any information Anthony provides to law-enforcement could not be used against her in prosecution.
Danielle Tavernier, spokeswoman for the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office, said they are not disclosing any details of their prosecution, but that Anthony had been "invited to our office to shed light on the disappearance of the victim in this case."
During a bond hearing in July, investigators said they had found strands of hair, a questionable stain and bits of dirt in the trunk of Anthony's white Pontiac. That evidence led Orange County Sheriff's Office investigators to think it's possible that Caylee Marie is dead and her mother may be involved.
Family members initially said the smell came from a rotting pizza. But a 911 recording shows Cindy Anthony -- the missing girl's grandmother -- said it "smelled like there's been a dead body in the damn car."
Air samples from her car were sent to the University of Tenn. Body Farm and those results confirmed the investigator's preliminary conclusions.
Investigators with the Orange County Sheriff's Office went to defense attorney Jose Baez's Kissimmee office earlier today, where Anthony and her mother Cindy Anthony were meeting.
Neither Casey nor Cindy Anthony commented to reporters when they left the law office.
Baez made a brief statement and answered a few questions outside the Anthony home, but would not say what the detectives said at his office or whom they spoke with.
Baez said the investigators did not speak to them about the air sample tests or immunity. Baez said it is his policy to not discuss what he says with law enforcement or the State Attorney's Office.
Earlier in the day, California bounty hunter Leonard Padilla told the Orlando Sentinel that Anthony has made no effort to help him find Caylee.
"She has not communicated with us at all," Padilla said. "She has no interest in communicating with us."
Padilla, whose nephew posted Anthony's $500,200 bail last week, said if he knew what he knew today about the case, and that the 22-year-old wouldn't cooperate with him, he probably would not have helped get her out of jail.
Padilla said he still thinks Caylee is alive and that Anthony handed her off to someone. But he does not believe the toddler was dropped off with a baby-sitter named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, which is what Anthony has told detectives.
"We don't believe [Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez] exists," Padilla said.
"[Anthony's] got an invisible friend that's called Zenaida," he said. "She's got a world that she lives in that's apart from ours."
Padilla said he is using Anthony's cell phone records as part of his own investigation and has spoken to some of her friends.