Mom Charged With Missing Daughter's Murder

The mother of a missing 3-year-old Florida girl went before a judge Wednesday to hear charges she killed her daughter, a day after she was indicted after four months of searches yielded no sign of the child.

Casey Anthony, 22, appeared before Judge John Jordan, who read the charges against her and denied bond. Dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit, Anthony made no comment during the 90-second hearing. Her attorney, Jose Baez, declined comment afterward. She will be arraigned in about 30 days.

Anthony was arrested Tuesday after a grand jury indicted her on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of lying to investigators about the disappearance of her daughter, Caylee.

The case has captivated the Orlando suburb where the family lives, and teams of volunteers have looked for the doe-eyed child with brown hair and bangs for months. No body has been found, and prosecutors have questioned why the child's mother didn't contact authorities even though the girl had been gone for a month.

Casey Anthony wept before the indictment was handed up Tuesday, and her attorney said she would be vindicated.

"I sincerely believe that when we have finally spoken, everyone, and I mean everyone, will sit back and say, 'Now, I understand. That explains it,'" Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez, said Tuesday as he stood next to his client before the indictment was issued.

Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said investigators' satisfaction that the indictment had been issued was tempered by what it concludes: That Caylee was apparently killed.

"Speaking as a father, a day doesn't pass where I wish the evidence that we have gathered didn't add up to the painfully obvious," he said, adding that investigators will continue looking. "Sadly, I cannot change the facts surrounding the investigation."

If convicted of first-degree murder, Anthony could face the death penalty or life in prison. Prosecutors said no decision has been made on whether to seek the death penalty.

After the indictment was announced, Baez spokesman Todd Black said Lamar was rushing the case to the grand jury as a ploy to get re-elected.

Casey Anthony's father, George, testified Tuesday behind closed doors to the 19-member grand jury along with a detective, a cadaver dog handler and an FBI agent.

For part of the grand jury hearing, the external audio system of the courtroom was left on, feeding into media trucks outside. Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. warned members of the news media that they could be charged with criminal contempt if they made public what was said, since grand jury proceedings are secret. Perry said he didn't know what may have been heard.

The child's grandmother first called authorities in July to say that she hadn't seen Caylee for a month and that her daughter's car smelled like death.

Casey Anthony told authorities that she had left her daughter with a baby sitter in June, and that the two were gone when she returned from work. She says she spent the next month trying to find her daughter and didn't call authorities because she was scared.

Investigators immediately started poking holes in her story. The apartment where Casey Anthony said she had left her daughter had been vacant for months, they said. They said she also lied when she told them she had been working at an area theme park as an event planner.

Investigators also accused her of stealing checks from a friend and cashing them. She was charged with felony child neglect and making false statements along with forgery and theft. She was released on $500,000 bail and confined to her parents' home.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

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