Sunday, February 18, 2018
Public safety

Casey Anthony investigation missed 'fool-proof' suffocation clue, office confirms

ORLANDO — The sheriff's office that investigated the disappearance of Casey Anthony's 2-year-old daughter overlooked evidence that someone in the home did a Google search for "fool-proof" suffocation methods the day the girl was last seen alive.

Orange County sheriff's Capt. Angelo Nieves said Sunday that the office's computer investigator missed the June 16, 2008, search. The office hadn't consulted the FBI or Florida Department of Law Enforcement for help in searching the computer.

The admission was first reported last week by Orlando television station WKMG. It's not known who performed the search, but the station reported it was done on a browser primarily used by the girl's mother, Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of her murder in 2011.

Anthony's attorneys argued during trial that Casey Anthony helped her father, George Anthony, cover up Caylee's drowning in the family pool.

WKMG reported that investigators pulled 17 vague entries only from the Internet Explorer browser, not the Mozilla Firefox browser. More than 1,200 Firefox entries, including the suffocation search, were overlooked.

Whoever conducted the search looked for the term "fool-proof suffication," misspelling "suffocation," and then clicked on an article about suicide.

A computer expert for the defense found the search before the trial. Anthony's lead attorney, Jose Baez, mentioned the search in his book about the case but suggested it was George Anthony who conducted it after Caylee drowned because he had wanted to kill himself.

Not knowing about the search, prosecutors had argued Caylee was poisoned with chloroform and then suffocated by duct tape. The girl's body was found six months after she disappeared in a field near the family home and was too decomposed to determine an exact cause of death.

Prosecutors Linda Drane Burdick and Jeff Ashton didn't respond to emails Sunday from the Associated Press.

But Ashton told WKMG that "it's just a shame we didn't have it. This certainly would have put the accidental death claim in serious question."

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