Monday, August 4, 2008

Did Beautiful, Young Florida Mom Kill Her Baby Girl? Two Legendary Homicide Detectives Weigh In

Along with the rest of the nation, Women in Crime Ink has been following the mysterious case of Caylee Anthony, the missing toddler whose mother, Casey, has been jailed in connection with her child's disappearance. We asked two veteran Texas homicide legends, Detective Roger Wedgeworth (above left) and his partner Detective Harry Fikaris (right), to give us their seasoned take on the case. Specifically, did a beautiful, young Florida mom kill her baby girl?

Q: What do you think happened to Caylee Anthony?

A: The case is very bizarre. If we’ve learned anything over the years, it's that you can't look at people like Casey Anthony and compare her to a normal person. People who have kids and are from a semi-functional family cannot even comprehend how a toddler like Caylee can go missing for an hour, much less 31 days, without getting police involved. The mother’s nanny story is a complete lie because there is not one person or piece of evidence that can prove the "nanny" ever existed.

Homicide 101 says you have to clear the mother first and her lack of cooperation has made it impossible to eliminate her as a suspect. Every part of this unfolding story points to the mother having killed her daughter and disposed of the body. Make no mistake. This woman knows what has happened to her child. Her calm, matter-of-fact attitude, her lies to police, and her clubbing with friends after her daughter was allegedly kidnapped, all raise plenty of red flags.

There has been speculation that Casey sold her daughter. We believe if the girl had been sold, Casey would have already given that information up just to get out of jail. We can only believe the worst has happened.

Q: Do investigators have as little to go on as it appears?

A: Trust us when we tell you that investigators are not giving out all the information. That’s a strategy detectives use. Sometimes you withhold information so people will come forward with everything they know. People are often scared but if some evidence is withheld, especially in an emotional case like this, the burden will start weighing on the person who knows something.

Investigators are looking at every credit card receipt and every cell phone call Casey made after her daughter disappeared. Every time she made a call, there’s a record of her location based on cell phone towers. If she made calls or bought anything on her credit card from an odd remote place, then that gives investigators more clues to what happened.

Q: What does Casey Anthony's behavior suggest to you?

A: Casey Anthony’s completely cold, matter-of-way she discusses her missing baby girl is a disturbing clue not just to any homicide detective but to any normal person. In our experience, this can only mean two things. She is extremely mentally ill, which we do not believe is the case, or she is responsible for what happened to her daughter.

We’ve interviewed parents who killed their kids, and we’ve interviewed parents whose kids were actually kidnapped. There is a huge difference. The killer parents speak cold, calmly, matter-of-factly and are worried more about themselves more than their children. That fits Casey. The only time we've seen her cry is for herself at her bond hearing (shown right). If killer parents do appear upset, you can tell the emotions are not sincere, but in this case Casey isn’t even faking concern. Her hateful phone calls from jail with friends and family highlight her selfishness. She never once during the 13-minute phone call expresses concern for her Caylee—only anger that she had been arrested.

One of us worked with a special F.B.I. task force in June involving a Texas dad who killed his two children but had reported them missing. The dad, Randy Sylvester, waited six hours to report the kids’ “abduction” to police. As Sylvester discussed his missing children, he was calm and matter-of-fact. He led investigators on wild goose chases to ponds and lakes.

After a
week of lies, investigators got a somewhat controversial community activist—"Quanell X"—involved. He was able to get the suspect to lead investigators to the bodies. Some people might criticize investigators for bringing in a controversial figure. But we believe you do what it takes to find missing kids and prosecute the killer. When no one else could establish rapport with this father, the activist could. In Florida, the police need someone to help them establish rapport with Casey unless evidence solves the case.

Q: The latest pictures show Casey Anthony clubbing with friends one week after her daughter was “kidnapped.” What does that tell you?

A: This shows us the child was a burden to her and interfered with her lifestyle. When you see suspects enjoying life so soon after a tragedy, especially with a child missing, it almost always means they are guilty.

We worked a case in the early '90s where a father and two sons were killed in an upper-middle class suburb of Houston. The night of the murders, the “grieving” woman who lost her husband and sons was acting weird. She was drinking and cutting up with neighbors. Her behavior was not appropriate for someone who just lost her three immediate family members. A year later, the mother married her tennis coach. All evidence pointed to a murder-for-hire. Unfortunately, we never got the evidence to prosecute her. The woman later died of alcoholism. We believe her guilty conscience killed her.

Q: What should detectives look for?

A: Mistakes, slip-ups, telling inconsistencies. Many murderers are so vain and narcissistic they think they are smarter than everyone else. Most often, they make a mistake through physical evidence or something they said. We believe the investigators in Florida are carefully getting Casey Anthony’s friends to recount every word she said to them in recent months.

What her friends say about how Casey was acting while she was conducting “her own investigation” will be a major clue. She may have told a friend that her life would be a lot easier if she didn’t have a daughter. That would be compelling evidence to a jury. It’s part of the puzzle.

Q: What do you make of the 911 calls?

A: Those initial 911 calls to police by the grandmother are instructive about the family. Is the grandmother that naive? Her daughter (Casey) had lied to her for a month about her grandbaby Caylee, but during the first call, Grandma wants Casey arrested for stealing her car and her money? . . . Then Grandma frantically calls back and tells the dispatcher "it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car."

As homicide detectives, we have smelled hundreds of dead bodies. We can tell you that the smell of a dead body is unmistakable. Once you’ve smelled it, you know it’s not a decaying animal or "rotten pizza." Death's smell is unique and unforgettable.

Last year, our homicide squad solved a murder where a man confessed to killing his girlfriend and then barbecuing her body. Neighbors described his “barbecue” as the most foul odor they’ve ever smelled. Detectives found plenty of evidence that Tynesha Stewart, an intelligent 19-year-old freshman engineering student, had been mutilated in the house, dismembered. After all, you can’t barbecue bones.

As for the trunk of the car in the Anthony case, the sheriff’s spokesperson said in his first statements that forensics found a blood stain, dirt, and hair in the trunk consistent with the child's hair. The investigators are playing their cards close to the vest, as they should, and not releasing much information.

Q: What if investigators never find Caylee?

A: It’s not impossible to prosecute a case without a body, but sometimes it takes patience. We’ve done it successfully. In the case of beautiful 24-year-old Tracy Jo Shine, we never found her body because the killer cut it into pieces and destroyed it in barrels of acid. It was 1987, and we didn’t have the advanced DNA testing we have now. We confiscated the refrigerator that we believed the suspect used in some way. We later determined he used it to move the body before he dismembered it.

A decade later we reopened the case. DNA testing confirmed the victim’s DNA was on the back part of the refrigerator on the wiring harness. Her DNA was not found anywhere else in that refrigerator because the boyfriend-killer had cleaned it thoroughly except for that wire. The killer is sitting in prison today.

Q: What's it going to take to crack this case?

A: We are confident the detectives in Orlando will solve this case and determine what happened to Casey. If we were questioning Casey Anthony, we would try to keep her talking about anything. She’s defensive. She has been watching the news and she knows the nation believes she is guilty. A strong-arm approach with her would shut her down and make her more defensive.

The public might not understand this but we would approach Casey in a friendly, "we want to help you" manner. It takes incredible patience with lying suspects like Casey. The first thing you need to do in an interview is establish rapport. Confrontational methods rarely work. The key reason we’ve successfully secured so many confessions is extreme patience.

Often we say “We know you did it, but we know it was a mistake. We just need to know why.” If they curse and deny it, we must stay calm and friendly. A great homicide detective exercises extreme discipline and never loses his or her cool with the suspect. We’ve often stayed up straight for twenty-four hours questioning suspects we knew were guilty of murder.

Q: If Casey is not "extremely mentally ill" . . . could she still be a sociopath?

A: We’ve dealt with sociopaths. They don’t have any feelings for other people. Casey seems to have no conscience in her daughter’s situation. If Casey’s story were true, she should be feeling very guilty for leaving her daughter with a babysitter who would kidnap the child. A normal mother would blame herself for even a kidnapping. The public hasn't seen a morsel of guilt or remorse for supposedly leaving her child with the “kidnapper.”

Sociopaths are known for having an abundance of charm and wit. Casey was a cheerleader in high school (pictured left)—a social, outgoing girl. The pictures of her in the bar show her outgoing nature. Yet the photos also reveal she has no moral conscience for the well-being of her child.

A homicide detective always does a background on the family. Casey’s mother’s behavior alone sets off big warning bells (pictured below smiling and running from media after visiting daughter in jail last week). She goes onto news programs and thinks she can use the public’s airwaves how she sees fit. She shows arrogance and refuses to answer questions about her own daughter’s involvement.

We believe Casey is not a real mother. There are evil people out there and they do evil things—things that are unimaginable to most normal people. We believe the investigators will prove Casey Anthony is a beautiful, sociopathic monster.

Read more about the careers of Legendary Detectives Fikaris and Wedgeworth below in our Mystery Man column promo. Make sure to click on their Biographical Video.


Leah said...

It is pretty obvious that whatever mental illness Casey suffers from, she got from her mother. Neither one have met a camera they didn't love.

Kathryn Casey said...

Fascinating stuff, guys. Enjoyed the read. Hope authorities in Orlando put this one to bed soon! Such a beautiful child. Such an awful waste.

She-Ra, Princess of Power said...

My 24 year old son just had a crisis while traveling in Belgrade, Serbia.

Until I heard from the American Embassy in Belgrade that he was okay I died a thousand deaths.

Any caring mother in the world knows the fear that one experiences for one's child, no matter how old. When they are sick or in crisis, or God Forbid missing, you do not have a moment's peace.

Casey's nonchalance in the face of her child's disappearance is the most damning evidence there is. She doesn't give a damn about that beautiful child.


Leah said...

It is very fascinating but it has to be frustrating for the police too. That they can know so much but it isn't enough to totally solve the mystery of what happened to this beautiful child. How long can they hold Casey before they have to release her from jail??

She-Ra, Princess of Power said...

I heard there is a limit and it might be about 33 days.

I think that civilian pressure could go a long way in tipping the scales towards Casey or her parents cracking.

I think we need to get hordes of people with signs standing outside of the Sheriff's office or the County Jail or the Anthony's house. The signs should be simple, variations on a theme.

They should say something like,"Tell Us the Truth About Caylee." and "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire," And "Justice for Caylee," and "God Knows Where Caylee Is."

I think that because there is no conscience here, no impulse at truth telling or justice seeking for this little girl, the community at large has a right and responsibility.

Let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

While grocery shopping I saw the darling little girl's picture on the covers of the magazines at the checkout stands. I couldn't help but think that these were photos that should have gone out with an "Amber Alert" the very instance the child "disappeared". In reading all the blog, I also couldn't help but think about the women that was written about that had three people killed, then married her tennis coach, finally winding up dead from alcoholism. The alcohol wasn't enough to suppress her deeds. Wonder what is the fate of the person responsible for the disappearance of this beautiful little girl? Does a sociopath require alcohol or something to suppress their guilty conscience or is that what being a sociopath means...that they are devoid of conscience?

Sophia R. said...

Hi Det. Fikaris & Det. Wedgeworth. Thanks for giving an interview to Women In Crime Ink. I am interested in you telling me more about something you wrote:

****The public might not understand this but we would approach Casey in a friendly, "we want to help you" manner.******

Tell us more! How do you accomplish this?

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

Anonymous said...

www . websleuths . com

Sophia R. said...

Sophia here again. Hey if any other homicide investigators out there want to share, please do!!! Mystery writers want to make our stories real. Give us your techniques on sweet-talking a suspect into confessing. Thanks!!!

HOPEFUL said...

I saw a link to here over on the zero gossip forum and came on over to read.

Very good, informative article. I pray that answers are found soon!!

Anonymous said...

a sociopath can never admit to anything embarressing, belittling, demeaning, sinful, or stupid about themselves......Casey the witch will go to her grave before she ever admits to harming her child, or letting harm occur, which is what I think happened ( left in the car overnight, forgotten about, found dead)..
I want to scream at Nancy Grace or Greta.....when these crazy people tell you that Casey says Caylee is "close" and will be home by her birthday, make them ask Casey HOW exactly she knows this...

stupid, arrogant, self centered idiots....I would bet that Casey was the Princess of the house and everybody else her slave....I feel sorry for her brother....I read a sense of dismay in him that he doesn't want to acknowledge but its there.....he has probably put up with Princess Casey his whole life....

Leah said...

I wonder if there is any truth to there being a discussion of immunity for Casey with the State Attorney. Strange since her attorney denies asking for immunity.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone drug tested Casey Anthony? She has all the symptoms of a meth user. Unemotional, uninvolved, lying, stealing, etc. She only cried when her bond was denied. How much of the tax payers money is she wasting with all her games. She knows what she did to her baby but doesn't want to pay the consiquences for her actions. Any one of us would be frantic if we thought our babysitter took our child and would not go two minutes without calling the police and avidly look for them. She has no conscience at all.

Leah said...

Casey knows exactly where her daughter is and that is why she isn't worried about her. I can only guess that since she has a right not to incrininate herself, they can't really make her do or say anything. LE is going to have to solve this case on their own. I am also guessing that Casey must not have had an accomplice since no one else has come forward to help LE.

Anonymous said...

c'mon guys........give us a shout out.......tell us how you'd friendly up to miss casey.......mark fuhrman and every talkinghead on cable told us how theyd do it.............we wanna hear how its done in Texas!

Detective Harry Fikaris said...

The art of interview and interrogation is not rocket science. The only way you get good at it is plenty of practice. You have to be able to look at a person, speak to a person, and then be able to determine what technique will work best for that particular situation. Plain and simple, it's just being a good judge of character. Sometimes is works just like the textbooks tell you it will work...sometimes you fail miserably. In Casey's case, it's obvious she doesn't take criticism well and she is used to being the center of attention. Brow beating and talking bad to a person like her will only make them resent you. You have to find common ground with people like her, something they feel comfortable talking about, and once you establish some kind of rapport you can proceed to other things. Will someone like her ever give up the truth; probably not. But this is the type of case that will stay with you forever. The investigators in this case will never rest until there is justice for Caylee.

Detective Roger Wedgeworth said...

Thanks to all of you who took the time to read our thoughts on the Casey Anthony Case. After watching some of the latest developments, I have a few more thoughts I wanted to add.

Casey has had plenty of time to give self-serving information in order to help herself. Since we can't see the casefile that is being compiled, I can only assume she has not given any information that would lead to the child. This makes me believe even more she has murdered the child and disposed of the body.

In cases like this during the initial interview with the suspect, you would attempt to play on her emotions as a mother...detailing how this baby deserves to be found and given a proper funeral. The problem with that is this mother never bonded with the child and emotionally could care less. As proven by her words and behavior, she is only concerned with her own situation.
The question would you attack Casey mentally.

At this point the chances of getting a confession are pretty slim. My main goal would be to amass as much information as I could to pin her down on her story. I would drag every bit of information I could about...

1. Who was she with during the time that the child was last seen and the time the child was reported missing?

2. What was going on during that period of time?

3. When did everything take place?
The timeline has been too big. If recent reporting by Greta Van Susteren & her show are correct...the timeline is tightening. The grandfather says he saw Casey and Caley leave with their backbacks on June 16th.
A source told Greta's show, that on June 17th Caley's cell phone records show a flurry of calls--repeated calls to family members. None of the calls were ever answered. The neighbor says soon after that Caley borrowed the shovel and backed into the driveway (he remembered seeing her back into the driveway because that was odd--she always pulled into the driveway)
Then around June 22nd, Casey's father says his gas cans were stolen and later he found the stolen gas cans in the trunk of the car Caley had been driving (he told Greta she had tried to keep him from getting into her trunk).
Finally, in July Cindy Anthony finds her daughter Caley and realizes her granddaughter is missing and calls 9-1-1.

Back to the Caley long as she would talk, we would listen and document every lie she told us. Everything she said would be followed up on and would later be used in court. It would be tough to build a murder case against her but not impossible. I believe there is enough circumstantial evidence to get close.

You can see the pieces starting to come together and reveal a horrific picture of what happened to little Caylee.

Sophia R. said...

Detectives - thanks for your thoughts. It seems you both agree that Casey's selfcentredness would keep her from giving (good) info in the interest of her child, proper burial and all that. Ive been trying to think of what it would take to appeal to her selfishness, how it would benefit her ego to tell what she really knows even if it means she would be reveald as a murdering mom...........The only thing I could think of was the book-movie deal thing...........that shed make a lot of money and get even more notoriety if she agreed to a 'tell-all'................but even that wouldnt work because all that jack and publicity wouldnt do her any good if she admits what she did and is in prison somewhere for the rest of her life................ Any thoughts from either of you? How do you 'make friends' or 'make nice' with such a monster???? what possible 'common ground' would you have to establish report?????

And Detective Wedgeworth, I agree 100% that nailing down that timeline (a real timeline) is top priority. This thing is all over the map.

And from both of you, I'd like to know, just HOW LONG would you be willing to listen if she keeps talking???? I mean in jurisdictions as large as yours you wouldnt have all day every day to dedicate to one case, would you????? even with a case as big as this and a child at stake. Am I right in that? Have you ever let someone talk for months even if what most of what they were telling you was worthless???? Is that what we can expect with Casey? I've heard investigators use the method of cutting a suspect off just to tick them off and make them seek more attention, etc. I'm rambling now...............but the real question is HOW LONG? How many hours, days, weeks, months, years((?) would you listen???? Do you have a standard cap?

thanks for everything. This is really cool to be able to ask you 2 questions about how its really done, realworld stuff!


Anonymous said...

What is the condition of her return?
Ransom money? Somebody could easily tell where she is and get reward money.

More than the Anthony's could give them.
Not to tell something to get them and Caylee out of danger/
The FBI could protect them.

Silly that people really think she tells the truth...

Anonymous said...

Cleary this Casey has a problem, but the longer this goes on, the more ridiculous her parents are sounding. I feel embarrassed for them, I think it started to dawn on them that not only is the grandchild gone, but the daugther is on her way to prison for a long time and they are back peddling in hopes of minimizing the damage.

amanda said...

i believe casey is innocent! if anything did happen to little caylee i believe it was a honest accident. i pray that caylee is still alive! i do not think that casey is going to come out and say ANYTHING, if they keep her in jail and keep asking her question after question..she is a mother OF COURSE she is worried about her daughter that is a mothers instinct!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Amanda - do you have your head in the toilet bowl? Did you recently withstand a sharp blow to the skull? When it comes to the safety, well being, and LIFE Of your CHILD - there are no "honest mistakes" and someone as vile & despicable as Casey Anthoy cannot be tagged as "innocent" dear. She looks real worried about her daughter, grinding up against the whore on the dancefloor at Fusion nightclub 5 DAYS AFTER HER DAUGHTER WAS LAST SEEN.

amanda said...

no my head is not in tha fuckin toilet bowl. i dont mean an accident that is caseys fault..she has said two or three times that the babysitter was keeping her for a few days so have you stopped to think maybe she went out knowing that the babysitter had her...

Anonymous said...

im tha shit get tha fuck up out my toilet!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You aren't a parent yet are you Amanda?? You sound very young in your posts. EVERYTHING changes once you become a Mother and yes Casey is GUILTY and deservies to spend the rest of her natural life far away from the rest of us.

amanda said...

i am actually a very proud parent of four! i am eager to hear what makes you think she is guilty..and she only has two charges neiither of them being manslauter or murder so what exactly is she guilty of?

D said...

Everything,the LIES,LIES and more LIES, Decomp smell,fluid in trunk,THE STUPID SMIRK on the no good biatches face when arrested and in court and everything else she has not cooperated AT ALL, was not even going to report the child missing.. If you are a parent of 4, Child welfare needs to keep a VERY close eye on you.

Anonymous said...

Detectives Wedgeworth & Fakaris:
Can you do a similar analysis of the Grandmother in this case? It would be great if you could address how Grandma's behavior relates to the mother's. You can comment on anyone else as well. It's just that he grandmother seems to be running the show. The family extreme deial and behavies antagonistically towards media and police/investigators.

Anonymous said...

Its now 2011 and finally Casey Anthony is getting what she deserves.... How could anyone kill such a beautiful precious child? I am very relieved to know that shes in heaven now and her killer is behind bars!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why does the headline call her a beautiful mom? What idiot editor allowed that? I don't see anything beautiful about Casey Anthony. She's just an average looking, long-faced, 20-year-old. Seems like cheap sensationalism. The focus should be on that poor child. I hope they can make a good case against this monster retard of a mother...partying when her child is missing!

A real mother said...

Casey anthony is a killer it is 2011 and now we no the truth I read in comments amanda post casey is not a killer in 2008 now shut ur mouth it made me sick to my stomach to read u defending a mother who is a killer and u are a mother u need help casey has no feelings at all I am a mother of one and I would not b smileing danceing calm I would lose my mind u are sick amanda talking about u have four kids denfending a monster wat do ur dume as have to say now

Anonymous said...

whats going on in this world today for parents getting away with killing their own child

Anonymous said...

In today's blog we hear about a Special Forces soldier confronting his past and how he owned up to that past.

Anonymous said...

Think so too.