In the summer of 2008, 2-year-old Caylee Anthony vanished from her home in Orlando, Florida. Her mother, Casey Anthony, didn’t report Caylee missing until a month later, and she was initially arrested for child neglect. In December 2008, Caylee’s skeletal remains were discovered in a wooded area near the family home.
The courtroom battle that played out over the following months was dubbed "the social media trial of the century" – and ended in Casey being acquitted on charges of first-degree murder, manslaughter and child abuse.
On Saturday, May 19 at 8/7c, Oxygen will reexamine the toddler’s tragic death in a new three-part series, “The Case of: Caylee Anthony.” Alongside a team of investigators and forensic experts, former NYC prosecutor and retired FBI supervisory special agent Jim Clemente and former New Scotland Yard criminal behavioral analyst Laura Richards will comb over the evidence to try to find out what led to the toddler’s mysterious death.
During an Oxygen.com interview ahead of the network’s “The Case of: Caylee Anthony” premiere, Clemente explained why it took investigators almost five months to locate Caylee Anthony’s body.
“In the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, we have a child abduction response plan, and in it, it says to immediately search concentric circles around the last known sighting area, which was Caylee Anthony’s home,” Clemente told Oxygen.com. “The problem is that since Casey said that Caylee was last seen far away from her home, I think it put people’s minds in a place that Caylee must be much farther away.”
Along with this setback, Clemente believes many of the search volunteers who looked for Caylee probably didn’t have the training required to successfully locate a missing child.
“I don’t think they actually were searching thoroughly. What has to be done is a thorough search, a forensic search, which doesn’t mean that you just walk by, or look at things or push things aside,” explained Clemente. “It means you do a grid search and you literally take apart or open every child-sized container. Anything that a child’s body could fit in you have to open it up.”
According to Clemente, the place where Caylee’s remains were eventually found — a wooded area less than a half-mile from her home — likely would have been the first place someone would have gone to dispose of her body in a “desolate, hidden or abandoned” area. The woods were “the first available location like that outside of her own neighborhood.”
To find out more about the case, watch “The Case of: Caylee Anthony,” airing Saturday, May 19, Sunday, May 20 and Monday, May 21 at 8/7c.
[Photo: Getty Images]