ORLANDO — The mother of a missing 3-year-old girl was arrested Tuesday and charged with killing her daughter, even though the child's body has not been found during an exhaustive months-long search.
A grand jury indicted Casey Anthony, 22, on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of lying to investigators about the disappearance of her daughter, Caylee, State Attorney Lawson Lamar said.
Prosecutors said no decision has been made on whether to seek the death penalty.
"Speaking as a father, a day doesn't pass where I wish the evidence that we have gathered didn't add up to the painfully obvious," Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said.
Lamar said after the indictment was unsealed: "The investigation contains intricate forensics that are on the cutting edge of science."
Randy Means, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, told the Orlando Sentinel by e-mail that "In late September, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, FBI and this office received a letter of confirmation from the University of Tennessee. They had concluded their examination of the forensic material … contained relevant information to the disappearance of Caylee Anthony. … This was the piece of the puzzle, as prosecutors, we were waiting for."
The University of Tennessee Body Farm tested air samples and other material from Anthony's car. In August an Orange County sheriff's official said air samples showed a dead human body had been inside the trunk.
Family members initially said the smell came from a rotting pizza. But a 911 recording shows Cindy Anthony, Caylee's grandmother, said it "smelled like there's been a dead body in the damn car."
The grandmother called authorities in July to say that she hadn't seen Caylee for a month.
Casey Anthony then told authorities that she had left her daughter with a babysitter in June, and that the two were gone when she returned. She says she spent the next month trying to find her daughter.
Investigators immediately started poking holes in her story. The apartment where she said she 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.
Information from the Orlando Sentinel and the Associated Press was used in this report.