ORLANDO — Evidence mounted Friday that a child's skull discovered near Caylee Anthony's home was the missing toddler's, although investigators cautioned that it could be a week or more before they have conclusive DNA evidence.
Caylee's mother, 22-year-old Casey Anthony, was charged with first-degree murder months after the girl disappeared in June.
A day after a utility worker found the remains of a child in a wooded lot, a defense attorney said characteristics of the remains, including hair color, matched those of Caylee, who was 2 when she was reported missing.
Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said Friday that a search of the grandparents' home, where the mother and the daughter lived, had also yielded links to the remains. He would not elaborate.
Asked whether he believed the body was Caylee's, Beary said, "My gut says yes."
There are no other similar missing-child cases in the area.
Also Friday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that the skull found inside the bag of remains was wrapped in duct tape. Investigators also found other, unspecified items inside the bag, the newspaper said.
The tape could have picked up materials such as carpet fibers, soil samples and fingerprints that could be matched with DNA evidence gathered from the Anthony home or from the trunk of Casey Anthony's car, where investigators found evidence of a decomposing body, said Richard Weinblatt, manager of the criminal justice program at Seminole Community College.
Casey Anthony has insisted that she left the girl with a baby-sitter in June, but she didn't report Caylee missing for another month. The child's grandmother first called authorities in July to say that she hadn't seen Caylee for a month and that her daughter's car smelled like death.
Information from the Associated Press and the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.