The Florida sheriff's office that
investigated the disappearance of Casey Anthony's 2-year-old daughter
overlooked evidence that someone in their home did a Google search for
"fool-proof" suffocation methods on the day the girl was last seen
Orange County sheriff's
Capt. Angelo Nieves said Sunday that the office's computer investigator
missed the June 16, 2008, search. The agency's admission was first
reported by Orlando television station WKMG. It's not known who
performed the search. The station reported it was done on a browser
primarily used by the 2-year-old's mother, Casey Anthony, who was
acquitted of the girl's murder in 2011.
Anthony's attorneys argued
during trial that Casey Anthony helped her father, George Anthony, cover
up the girl's drowning in the family pool.
WKMG reports that sheriff's
investigators pulled 17 vague entries only from the computer's Internet
Explorer browser, not the Mozilla Firefox browser commonly used by
Casey Anthony. More than 1,200 Firefox entries, including the
suffocation search, were overlooked.
Whoever conducted the
Google search looked for the term "fool-proof suffication," misspelling
"suffocation," and then clicked on an article about suicide that
discussed taking poison and putting a bag over one's head.
The browser then recorded activity on the social networking site MySpace, which was used by Casey Anthony but not her father.
A computer expert for
Anthony's defense team found the search before the trial. Her lead
attorney, Jose Baez, first mentioned the search in his book about the
case but suggested it was George Anthony who conducted the search after
Caylee drowned because he wanted to kill himself.
Not knowing about the
computer search, prosecutors had argued Caylee was poisoned with
chloroform and then suffocated by duct tape placed over her mouth and
nose. The girl's body was found six months after she disappeared in a
field near the family home and was too decomposed for an exact cause of
death to be determined.
evidence that someone in the Anthony home searched online for how to
make chloroform, but Casey Anthony's mother, Cindy, claimed on the
witness stand that she had done the searches by mistake while looking up
information about chlorophyll.
Many jurors apparently went
into hiding amid public outrage over the verdict and refused to
comment, but two have said prosecutors couldn't conclusively prove how
Prosecutors Linda Drane Burdick and Jeff Ashton didn't respond to emails from The Associated Press on Sunday.
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."
Baez didn't respond to
phone or email messages Sunday from The Associated Press but told WKMG
that he expected prosecutors to bring up the search at trial.
"When they didn't, we were
kind of shocked," Baez, who no longer represents Anthony, told the
station. Her attorney, Cheney Mason, who was also on the trial team,
didn't return an email message from AP Sunday, and his office answering
service refused to take a phone message.
The sheriff's office didn't
consult the FBI or Florida Department of Law Enforcement for help
searching the computer in the Anthony case, a mistake investigators have
learned from, Nieves said.
2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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