Casey Anthony is back in the national spotlight more than a decade after she was acquitted of killing her 2-year-old daughter.
In a new three-part docu-series streaming on Peacock titled “Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies,” Anthony tells her version of what she says led to Caylee’s death. Anthony never testified during her trial, so this is the first time the public has heard from her on camera, according to the show’s producers. Peacock did not respond to CNN’s request for further comment.
For three years, between the time Caylee disappeared and Anthony’s acquittal, the Florida case spoiled the nation as it unfolded on both social media and in traditional news media. The prosecution sought the death penalty, says Caylee’s death occurred during aggravated child abuse and was committed in a “cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any moral or legal justification.”
After nearly six weeks of testimony, the jury rejected the prosecution’s claim that Anthony gave her child chloroform, suffocated her with duct tape and dumped her body in the woods. They found her guilty of four lesser charges of lying to law enforcement officers.
Anthony spent about three years in prison awaiting trial, and was released after getting credit for time behind bars. Outraged protesters took to the streets, calling her a “baby killer” and demanding justice for Caylee.
In the documentaries, Anthony and her defense team make several bombshell claims in the decade-long mystery surrounding her daughter’s death. Here’s what you need to know about “Where the Truth Lies”:
Time magazine dubbed Anthony’s story social media trial of the century in 2011. Years later, the mystery surrounding Caylee’s death is still the subject of much discussion.
In July 2008, Anthony’s mother called 911 and reported that she had not seen her grandson in a month. Photos of a partying, smiling Anthony, taken between when Caylee was last seen and when she was reported missing, were soon plastered across television screens across the country. Tabloids and social media users were fixated on the idea of a mother partying with her friends and getting a tattoo that read “Bella Vita” – Italian for “Beautiful Life” – while her daughter was missing.
In the documentaries, which have sparked fresh controversy on social media, Anthony says this period was “the antithesis of what my life really was.”
She has since covered the tattoo with flowers, which she described as a symbol of growth and rebirth.
“It was my whole life up until that point, acting like everything was okay, but knowing nothing was okay,” she says.
At the beginning of the documentary, Anthony talks about why she decided to speak out after several years of silence.
“I spent the last 10 years making sure I knew who I was, that I started to cope with this loss and that I had something to say to make my daughter proud, but also to honor her properly, ” she says. “And that’s part of it.”
Anthony and her defense team admitted she lied many times. After Caylee disappeared, she lied that she worked at Universal Studios. In another lie, she said a nanny named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez stole her child. She admits in the documentaries that the story was made up and that the only other person who cared for Caylee besides her was her mother.
In the documentaries, she also reveals that she lied to an ex-boyfriend that he was Caylee’s father because she was too embarrassed to admit that she was raped at a party and did not know who the father was. A paternity test showed he wasn’t.
“I’m a convicted liar,” she says. “I lied to everyone… it was years of trying to show everyone that I was living a certain life because I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me,” she says. “No lie was off limits, no lie was off limits.”
For months, Anthony and her parents maintained that Caylee was alive.
During the trial, the defense said the child drowned in the Anthony family pool on June 16, 2008, and that Anthony and her father covered up the death. In the docu-series, Anthony offers a conflicting theory that blames her father entirely.
She also repeats her claims that her father sexually abused her as a child – claims he refused during the trial along with any involvement in Caylee’s death. In the documentaries, Peacock says that George Anthony turned down an offer to appear on the show. CNN has reached out to the elder Anthony.
Anthony now works with one of the lead investigators on her defense team, Patrick McKenna, who runs a private investigation firm. In the documentary, McKenna says he believes she is innocent. Anthony stayed with her family for a while after the trial ended because of fears for her safety, McKenna says, adding that she is like a daughter to him.
Anthony admits she still doesn’t have an answer.
“It’s difficult because a thousand questions go through my head. I’m responsible for answering all the world’s questions about her, about what happened,” says Anthony. “I still don’t know what happened to Caylee. I know what I’m afraid of. I know what eats at me at night.”