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Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Update: Caylee dollmaker sued by Florida's attorney general

9

April

When last we left the story of the makers of the Inspirational Caylee Sunshine Doll, the doll had been repackaged somewhat with new names that did not invoke the name of the murdered girl. But Showbiz Promotions was still saying that profits from the sale of the dolls would go to charity. But now Florida's attorney general is saying that's not true and is suing the Jacksonville company that makes the doll and Michael Vick chew toys.

Showbiz said that money from the sale of the dolls would go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and that profits from the sale of the chew toys would to to local animal shelters and organizations. But the lawsuit, filed in Duval County, says little or no contributions from Showbiz or its owner Jaime Salcedo went to those organizations. "It is disgusting that a company would exploit a tragic situation for personal gain," said Attorney General Bill McCollum. No comment from Salcedo on the lawsuit.

-- Sherry Robinson

Update:

The Jacksonville company that planned to launch a Sunshine Caylee Doll at noon today decided not to. "After ... listening to the advice of the general public, we feel that it is best to suspend the launch," said the website. The photo of the smiling doll is framed by two black bands that say, "Suspended."

The company had said it planned to donate the proceeds to a charity "as soon as we have a reputable organization who is willing to accept the funds." But after so many people complained about the doll, the post said, "We feel we can be more effective using more traditional methods."

Showbiz Promotions is the company that also brought you the Michael Vick dog chew toy and Sarah Palin boxer shorts.

18568090_640x480 What do you call it when a Jacksonville company creates the "Inspirational Caylee Sunshine Doll," meant to remind you "that Caylee Marie (Anthony) is safe in Heaven, embraced in loving arms forever!"

Capitalizing on grief? Profiting on murder? Sickening to the core?

Caylee's story is not one we'll soon forget. The toddler was missing for five months before her remains were found in December a half-mile from her Orlando home. Her 22-year-old mother is charged with first-degree murder. We watched her endlessly on cable television and reeled when her horrible death was confirmed.

Now comes this 18-inch-tall doll, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt with a "Caylee Sunshine" logo. And, if you press her belly button, she'll sing "You are my Sunshine." She can be yours for $29.99. (Free shipping for orders over $75.) You can also buy a "Caylee Sunshine" T-shirt, an "Awareness Bracelet" or stickers.

Showbiz Promotions says on the doll's Web site that it has no connection to Caylee's family. A statement also says the doll is meant to "raise awareness of such a terrible and recurring crime, while honoring and respecting a beautiful life."

Sounds okay, but this product comes off as nothing more than the shameless exploitation of a child who has suffered the most awful of crimes. She was cheated, discarded and mercilessly disposed of. In life she was betrayed by adults. Now in death, her memory is being manipulated for sheer profit.

-- Amy Hollyfield

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:00am]

    

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