Sheriff: Clues link body to AnthonyJames Cohen in myFOX: Orlando, December 12, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A medical examiner found evidence among a child's remains that link them to the home of a missing toddler, Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said Friday, offering the strongest indication yet that the remains may be those of Caylee Marie Anthony.
Sheriff Beary told NBC's "Today" show that investigators searched the home early Friday after the medical examiner found "some clues that came out of the remains" that "linked it to the house." He did not elaborate on what those were.
The remains were found Thursday by a utility worker on a wooded lot less than a half-mile from the house where 3-year-old Caylee lived with her grandparents and her mother, 22-year-old Casey Anthony.
Defense team grows
If Linda Kenney-Baden's name sounds familiar, you may recognize her as an author, trial attorney and legal commentator who has been involved in other high-profile criminal cases.
She recently represented music producer Phil Spector in a murder trial and offered analysis during the controversy surrounding the death of super model Anna Nicole Smith. Her husband is forensic expert Dr. Michael Baden of the HBO series Autopsy.
Kenney-Baden will be joining Casey's attorney, Jose Baez, in court at 11:30 a.m. Friday morning for an emergency hearing to preserve evidence gathered on Thursday. The motion was filed by Baez on Thursday afternoon. We will be streaming the hearing live on MyFoxOrlando.com.
"I'm concerned about my client, period. We are requesting to have access to this information," said Baez. "As it [evidence] is being tested, we would like our people present, especially if it's destructive in nature by the testing."
"There are basically two kinds of test that government and medical investigators will conduct," said FOX 35 Senior Legal Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. "One is a visual observation of the scene. The other type of test is on tissue and materials from the contents of the bag."
Judge Napolitano said those tests can frequently destroy the tissue on which the tests were taken, which gives cause for Baez to file the motion.
"The defense wants to be there to be sure they physically observe the tests, so if the government says, 'we physically tested this bone and here's what it showed us,' then the defense investigators will know, in fact, that it was this bone. As well, if there is only a small amount of physical evidence that they want to test, they may both need to run their own tests at the same time, because this small amount of whatever it may be -- let's say skin or tissue -- may be gone forever," Napolitano added.
Remains could bolster case against Casey Anthony
Prosecutors looking to convict a central Florida mother in the death of her missing daughter are waiting to find out if they have the crucial evidence they need: a body. The remains could solve a six-month-old mystery of where the girl went, legal experts said.
Caylee's mother, 22-year-old Casey Anthony, was indicted in October on first-degree murder and other charges, even though the toddler's body hadn't been found. She has insisted that she left the girl with a baby sitter in June, but she didn't report Caylee missing until July.
"If the defense had been able to go to trial without a body being discovered, hopes for reasonable doubt might have been compelling. If the body proves to be Caylee, then it immediately becomes an uphill case for the defense," former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey said.
There was nothing that immediately indicated the skull found Thursday was Caylee's. But Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said his investigators and the FBI would work around the clock and through the weekend to identify the child.
Depending on what the evidence yields, the discovery could also help defense attorneys.
"If the body was tampered with, if wild animals got to it, if the evidence they get with it is contradictory in some way, then the job [for prosecutors] just got tougher," said Jim Cohen, a law professor at Fordham University in New York.
A spokeswoman with the state attorney's office said Thursday that officials wouldn't comment until the investigation was complete.