Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cindy Anthony: "Nothing in this world"

by Kathryn Casey

“I know Caylee is alive,” Cindy Anthony said. “I know my daughter. There is nothing in this world that could make me believe that Casey did anything to Caylee. There has never been any child neglect, child abuse or anything. This young lady loves her child, more than I love Casey.”

I saw that interview on the Today Show last week, and I've been thinking about it ever since, wondering about Cindy Anthony, the woman who began the search for little Caylee by calling 911 with the words: "It smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car."

Considering the forensic evidence made public in the Anthony case (and assuming it is reliable and correct, which isn't always the case), it does seem most likely that little Caylee is indeed dead. And certainly Casey Anthony's behavior, especially misleading authorities and not reporting her daughter's disappearance for an entire month, suggests Casey is somehow involved. So my question is, for those of us who have followed the case including the pending murder charges, what do we make of Cindy? Do you believe she's legitimately convinced her granddaughter is still alive? Is she hanging onto the last shreds of hope? Or does it appear that Cindy is instead continuing a long-standing pattern of being unwilling or unable to hold Casey responsible?

I read WCI's post by Lucy Puryear last week, Is Casey Anthony Another Susan Smith?, and was impressed with her analysis of Casey Anthony. Admittedly, I am not, as Lucy is, a psychiatrist. Yet I've written about strange folks, many of them murderers, long enough to have covered a variety of types. And I found nothing to quibble with in Lucy's opinion that Casey Anthony's actions suggest she may be a narcissist. Lucy wrote: "I don't know Casey Anthony's history, but her behavior certainly fits one who has little regard for others, is primarily interested in her own welfare and happiness, and will go to great lengths to escape consequences or punishment. Susan Smith confessed to what she had done and felt remorse. Casey Anthony continues to lie and deceive."

So, what does that make Cindy Anthony? I believe there's a clue in her own words above: "There is nothing in this world that could make me believe that Casey did anything to Caylee."

Cindy isn't saying she'd have to hear Casey confess or see her granddaughter's decomposing body with Casey's fingerprints all over it. She is saying "nothing in this world" would convince her that her daughter played any part in injuring her granddaughter.

The prevailing theory is that narcissists don't just happen. As Lucy again so eloquently put it: "The causes for it are not entirely clear, but often there is a childhood history of being highly adulated by parents, not made to take responsibility for mistakes with parents often helping to cover-up or fix problems, and having things given without having to learn the value of hard work and disappointment."

In her interview, linked above, Cindy Anthony blames others for the current state of affairs, most notably the sheriff's department for not following leads, but never Casey. (Is anyone else having O. J. flashbacks?) Certainly mothers can be forgiven for believing in their children, for having difficulty embracing the possibility that their child has committed a heinous act. Yet isn't there something incredibly strange about a woman who can seemingly ignore all evidence to the contrary and declare her daughter absolutely blameless?

As Lucy mentions above, it's been my experience with narcissists that they assume their families, usually a mom and/or dad, sometimes a sibling, has the power to explain away any problem, to cover up for offending acts and make repercussions go away. The current glitch for Casey is that this time around she's facing a murder charge, and mom and dad can't say a few magic words and make everything all right.

Sometime next year, Casey Anthony is headed into a courtroom, where she won't be treated as if she's beyond reproach. Instead, she'll be a defendant on trial, perhaps with her very life hanging in the balance.

Update: A trial date is now set for this case: January 5, 2009.


Jan said...

Cindy Anthony reminds me of the parents of Colton Pitonyak who you wrote about in your latest book. Regardless of the evidence, they seem unable to believe their child is capable of the worst. Maybe they see it as a reflection of their own inadequacies as parents.

Leah said...

I think Cindy Anthony feels responsible for what happened to Caylee and therefore Casey's lack of maternal feelings. As long as she doesn't admit that Caylee is likely dead, she doesn't have to deal with how and why it happened.

Melin said...

Casey left the car because she couldn’t take the smell of her dead child’s body fluids and maggots anymore. She decided to take her (no longer) friend’s car instead. She wasn’t smart enough to realize that her parents would be called to pick up the car, only to discover that “it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car”. That was when heads started to roll and Cindy found her .. thanks to Amy. Based on the “Why do people kill people who kill people only to show that killing people is wrong” was posted on her My Space. It was because Casey knew that she was going to get the Death Penalty for killing her baby. She is expecting it and is prepared for the worst.

luvmypeanut said...

I vote "Or does it appear that Cindy is instead continuing a long-standing pattern of being unwilling or unable to hold Casey responsible?" That coupled with a healthy (unhealthy?) dose of denial.

It must be devestating to lose your grandchild and realize your own child had something to do with it. However George was in law enforcement, the writing had to be on the wall for him, didn't it?

Come on people, for the love of Caylee, get out of denial and get your child to fess up! Stop enabling her crazy alibis and excuses and do the right thing...bring Caylee home!

Anonymous said...

I was interested in hear her answer Merideths questions when she asked them how they felt about Casey's behaviour after Caylee's disappearance and all the lies she told to the police. She never really came out and answered her, she just kept saying she's a good mother and blamed it all on the media.
She has to wonder (if she doesn't know) why Casey told so many lies to the police and gave them false information time after time. I know it has to be terrible to think that your child would commit something so horrible but I would have at least told my daughter to cooperate.
If I was looking at the death penalty the way she is I would certainly tell them everything I know IF I didn't have anything to do with her disappearence. so that makes me wonder why she hasn't. And if that was my daughter I'd tell her to just that.
I think Lucy might be spot on with her opinion.

S westberg said...

This case somewhat reminds me of "Mildred Pierce", where the mom tried to cover up her daughters guilt in shooting her unfaithful husband and where her daughter was the Other woman--until the cops figured it out and told her this time her daughter would have to face the consequences on her own.

Kathryn Casey said...

All interesting comments!

Yes, Jan, they do remind me of the Pitonyaks in A DESCENT INTO HELL. Perhaps even more so: Piper Rountree's sister, Tina, from DIE, MY LOVE.

katfish said...

I think that George and Cindy know that Caylee is dead and
they are holding on to the last shred of hope that they can create reasonable doubt in public opinion and more importantly the state's case against Casey.

It sounds as if Cindy's long standing pattern of covering for Casey's behavior has groomed them all for this day.

So's apparent the stress of carrying this load and grieving for Caylee is taking it's toll on George and Cindy.

Kathryn Casey said...

It is a horrible situation for the family. I do feel sorry for both of them.

I hope Cindy is right and Caylee is alive. Wouldn't it be wonderful to find her? But, if the science is good, that doesn't appear to be a possibility. So sad.

LadySheila said...

Yes and yes to both of your questions. She CANNOT get out of denial and she CANNOT make Casey responsible. As much as we would wish for her to face the evidence, at least, these behaviors are going to have to be changed by one or possibly two things: a realization of these abnormalities with a DESIRE to change, and then, lengthy psychological or psychiatric involvement. Even if the latter were forced on her, unless she wanted to change it isn't going to happen. Maybe, just maybe, the professionals would be able, if she were forced to face certain things (as is being incarcerated which obviously isn't going to happen as she hasn't done anything to warrant that as far as we all know)to help turn around her 'will to want to be healed or changed' thus fascilitating change. Mental illnesses are deep-seated and you just can't 'snap' out of something. That's why you need professionals. Takes many, many years to even begin to start to have the wisdom to know where to begin with someone with abnormal behavior, eh? Yes, if I were to look at Cindy's behavior as a 'normal' person, then she would drive me crazy as well. But, her being around law enforcement, she knows everything is taped, etc. In the beginning, she had a bit of bravery about her when she admitted to the stench in the car. I have had the same each time I try to ride a roller coaster, only to scream, "let me out!" to which they do...I just can't face it, though I want to. My mental illness (phobias are such)just won't allow it even though I am 'willing'. I am probably going to need therapy for my acrophobia if I ever will ride the coaster, as I so desperately want to do. If she doesn't get help, I believe, even if her daughter gets a bad sentence (guilty), she will still not believe it and say she got a bum rap. If, you are open-minded, and listen to all of the testimony thus far, it is no different than putting together a difficult puzzle. But, I think I understand her. Thank you, Ms. Casey

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Cindy's behavior rise to the level of obstruction of justice? Shouldn't she be charged with that? After all, she's reporting false leads and attempting to falsely blame others (Casey's former fiance, for one) for the crime. I believe this is a long-standing pattern of behavior on her part that helped create the monster that Casey is.

LadySheila said...

I am so sorry! I got to rambling and didn't mention that YES I agree with you wholeheartedly (and of course Ms. Puryear). Your focus on "There is nothing in this world to make me believe that Casey did anything to Caylee..." and "It smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car." were the critical pieces of the puzzle for me all along in determining Cindy's state of mind (as a layperson). Thank YOU for shedding light on this. Seemingly a paradox until you accept that both of these statements came from the same person. Case closed.

Kathryn Casey said...

Thanks, All.

The irony is that folks don't go about "spoiling" their kids thinking it'll hurt them. Although overindulgent parents, they aren't usually bad people. Don't most of us want to give our children everything they need and want? Don't we want to always believe in them, to support them?

I do feel sorry for the Anthonys, because I believe their intentions aren't sinister at all. I can't imagine what that family is/has gone through.

That said, parents who don't hold their kids responsible, believing them not the teachers, neighbors, pastor, or friends, when the kids do something wrong, aren't doing their children any favors.

A Voice of Sanity said...

I suggest you avoid using terms like narcissist or sociopath. They are often thrown about by people with no expertise and are no more valid than claims of devil worship or witchcraft. Unless a competent expert has analyzed the person according to recognized procedures, you might as well say their eyes are too close together or ask an astrologer or phrenologist for an opinion.

katfish said...


I too feel sorry for the Anthonys. Noone deserves the nightmare that they are living. I think Caylee was their little blessing. IMO,little Caylee looked just like Cindy too.

Having said that, I believe they know that it is most likely Caylee is dead. Surely they were given the results of the testing before we heard it through the media. If they acknowledged the 95% chance that Caylee is dead (Wasn't that the % Cindy quoted?) vs. the 5% chance she is alive, they would also have to acknowledge the possibility that Casey may be responsible.

I don't think they have "sinister intentions" but are following a long established path of protecting Casey and cutting their losses. As long as Caylee is "alive" , Casey didn't do anything to her.

Kathryn Casey said...

Voice of Sanity: You have a valid point, but Lucy is a psychiatrist.

You're undoubtedly right that they "know," Katfish. But admitting it is another step, one they just may not be ready to take.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Kathryn Casey: She may be a psychiatrist but did she perform a full workup in the proper setting? Dr. DeVore 'analyzed' Scott Peterson via his half sister and made himself a laughing stock - but parlayed it into some sort of TV show. This sort of thing is bad for psychiatry and bad for justice.

LadySheila said...

Anonymous, you have a point. If she were reporting false leads or not cooperating with the detectives I would have to say that it sounds like it could be obstruction of justice. I would also have to say that the detectives would know this and know what they are doing. We're talking about the rule, not the exception to this now. Also, I would like to make it clear that I am not a professional but only a potential juror.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To the person who wrote: "If I was looking at the death penalty the way she is I would certainly tell them everything I know IF I didn't have anything to do with her disappearence."

Then you would be a fool. Once you've been declared a suspect, never forget the Miranda warning - anything you say can and will be used against you, whether you're guilty or not. In high profile cases like this one where the media (including this blog) are beating the drums with hype and speculation before any real evidence is available, any innocuous tidbit can be used to imply guilt even if it's not really probative.

E.g., look at the assumptions in this blog post, where Kathryn supposes she's found a "clue" in the statement "nothing in the world could convince me," as though that's some telling, definitive statement rather than a common turn of phrase. The words are then taken and spun to assume the worst possible motive and meaning by the speaker. Maybe that's right, or maybe this is just demagoguery, as we've seen in other high-profile cases where the initially ID'd suspect turned out not to do it. But in that environment not talking to police is a wise choice. They're no longer looking for the kid, after all, just looking to put the mother on death row. She'd be an idiot to help them, whether she did it or not.

Finally, Kathryn, you're NOT a potential juror. You've already decided the verdict which you've trumpeted from the rooftops before hearing any evidence and would be ousted on voir dire in a heartbeat.

A Voice of Sanity said...

E.g., look at the assumptions in this blog post, where Kathryn supposes she's found a "clue" in the statement "nothing in the world could convince me," as though that's some telling, definitive statement rather than a common turn of phrase.

Is this not reminiscent of the Scott Peterson case where his use of the term 'missing' led to an explosion of pontificating alleging that such use was 'proof positive' of his guilt? Except that it is the exact word used by those who howled loudest, Nancy Grace et al, in many other cases where someone is missing and is, of course, the precise word to be used. It also appears that it was her mother and not her husband who first used the word during the early confusion.

As for your comments about talking to the police, the best summary is this: "If the police want to talk to you they do not have enough material to arrest you. Talking to them will rapidly correct that deficiency".

A more comprehensive view is to watch these YouTube videos

YouTube - Don't Talk to Cops, Part 1

YouTube - Don't Talk to Cops, Part 2

They are very eye-opening. One woman is on death row not for a conversation she had with the police but because she was alone with one cop for 20 minutes and he now claims she confessed -- a claim with nothing to back it up and which she adamantly denies. However this was allowed in as 'evidence'.

Kathryn Casey said...

Hi Voice,

While I appreciate your input, it's interesting that you chose the Peterson case as your example, since we all know how that turned out.

If you've followed the Anthony case, you understand that the quote I used from Cindy was only one of many similar ones she's made in past months. Cindy has been mega-public in voicing unconditional support of her daughter. As well as Cindy's many statements, it's also possible to look at her actions on Casey's behalf, which are consistent with her expressed attitudes.

We don't disagree on your second point, however. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring an attorney to guard one's rights. It's just common sense.


Leah said...

Goerge Anthony is a retired cop so undoubtedly Casey learned a few things from him while growing up and that is why she isn't talking. She knows she doesn't have to and she knew how to handle the cops in the interview. It mattered none to her when they confronted her with her own lies....she would just say, "If I knew where Caylee was, we wouldn't be here right now". She knows what she's doing and so does the rest of the Anthony family. Casey may go down, but the police and DA are going to have to work for this conviction.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Kathryn Casey said... "If you've followed the Anthony case, you understand that the quote I used from Cindy was only one of many similar ones she's made in past months".

I hope I wasn't too oblique. My point was that some sort of mental disease has infected too many people who now feel competent to 'diagnose' guilt based on word choices made under stress. For them, actual evidence is not as important as this sort of ridiculous claptrap which has no place in legal proceedings, but is sometimes shamelessly trotted out by supposedly competent commentators.

Kathryn Casey said...

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, Voice. But I would argue that so are others, including Lucy and I.

I apologize for the confusion above. I read the responses quickly and didn't realize Voice was simply repeating what Grits wrote: Kathryn supposes she's found a "clue" in the statement "nothing in the world could convince me," as though that's some telling, definitive statement rather than a common turn of phrase.

My above point was that Cindy's words weren't a single "turn of phrase" but part of a very public pattern.

Also, Grits, you're right; I'm not a potential juror, if for no other reason than that I live in Texas and this is a Florida case.

Anonymous said...

Trial date set for Casey Anthony
9:50 a.m.Judge Stan Strickland took less than a minute to arraign Casey Anthony this morning on several charges, including first-degree murder. Her attorney, Jose Baez, who was not present, had already entered a not-guilty plea.

Anthony's pre-trial conference is set for Dec. 11 at 9 a.m. Trial has been set for Jan. 5 at 9:30 a.m.

Anonymous said...

Katherine has said repeatedly that she doesn't know that Casey is guilty. In another post she speculated Caylee's death could be an accident and that Casey got worried and tried to cover it up.

She's also questioned the forensic evidence. I think she'd make a good juror. At least she has an open mind.

Bee said...

Listen - its lucky for the whole family that society here has mechanisms in place that will prevent an angry mob taking law into their own hands! Most of us, trying to have a considerate attitude towards grieving grandparents still have the common sense to smell a rat when it comes to their behaviour! My experience comes from being a parent along with my friends - where we have raised children and have interacted with larger community. Therefore we can relate to our children being caught in bending the truth when it comes to being involved in some event or another - AND - that means we can through such experiences over time recognize parents being overly protective or parents teaching children about understanding consequences. So with that in mind - watching the Anthony and esp. Cindy Anthony has me feeling that she knows the difference between right and wrong and likes to bend the rules as she sees fit - is very disrespectful, and even obnoxious. It isn't hard to see how narcisstic this family is! To me, they display a wanton disregard to rules, and even law as she has admitted to falsely providing evidence when asked for it by the FBI.

I have come around to thinking that possibly they have a real disability - causing their behaviour,in spite of the horrible situation they are in.
And saying how everyone is different - is more insulting as many have had to cope with very traumatic situations and have behaved more honestly. They just need to pull themselves together and face the future with better intentions. I don't think in spite of Cindy feeling self-righeously that she's more clever than everyone else, that they realize that the media is using them {and not for good reasons} even when they think that the sources are legit such as the Today Show.

Well, I could go on....I just wonder how much money is being exchanged hands all over the place on this case too! Just sad all around.