Casey Anthony Case

Posted on: 13th May 2023


Students will choose 1 publicly famous case which involved forensic investigation.

The case can be solved, unsolved or still under investigation.

Part 1:

Students will describe in detail the case, in a 5-page double spaced typed paper. To describe the case, a minimum of 15 terms and concepts from the textbook must be used. All of the terms and concepts must be from chapters of the text book. For our class, we will be covering only chapters 2-11. In addition to the 15 terms and concepts from the text book, credited outside sources may be

used to assist in explaining each term and concept. Please include your opinion to the case.

Part 2:

A power point presentation must be submitted describing the case, terms, and concepts. The power point should include photos describing what you are reporting on. Minimum of 20 power point slides will be required. Citations and a bibliography must be included at the end of the presentation which do not count

as part of the power point slides.

Final citation slide:

Bullet point each term and concepts. Cite what chapter and page each term and concept came from our book or other location where you got it from.

*Above are the professor's notes*

The case that this paper/project will be on is the Casey Anthony case

The textbook needed is Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation (Forensic and Police Science) 8th Edition by Barry A. J. Fisher (Author), David R. Fisher (Author)

Again only terms from chapters 2-11 should be used. If you can't access the book then I'll do my best to provide some chapters to be used.

I will of course pay extra for the power-point to be done as well. There was just no option to select both a paper and power-point.

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Casey Anthony Case

On July 16th, 2008, the first officer at the scene detective Charity Beasley was informed that a car had been seized from the residence of the missing kid's family and that it was still being probed for the disappearance of a child. Since this case went from a missing kid to a murder, it was challenging from a forensic standpoint. Initially, the Caylee Anthony case seemed to be nothing more than an investigation into the disappearance of a child. However, there was a point at which the issue arose whether the case involved a missing kid or constituted a homicide. Thus, the comprehensive examination of forensics was the only approach to answer this issue.


When defendant Casey Anthony stole a car and money from Cynthia Anthony on July 15, 2008, she called the police to report the crime to after learning of child’s abduction. Cindy claimed the defendant’s vehicle smelt like there was a decomposing body.

 Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, the nanny acted as the eye witness who led the first crime officer to the crime scene. Moran (49) asserts that Casey Anthony was arrested for the negligence of a child, misleading details, and hindering the incident examination due to the contradictions in her statements to the police and the delays in recording a statement in timely manner about the missing person.

Visual Inspection

The first officer at the scene (Fisher and Fisher chp.2 pg. 27) first process involve securing the integrity of the scene ((Fisher and Fisher chp.5 pg. 80) by creating a barricade. This preventing contamination of evidence on the crime scene (Fisher and Fisher chp.8 pg. 194). The first process involved recording the evidence as it appeared; therefore, the officer took photos (photography) (Fisher and Fisher chp.6 pg.135) of the outside and inside of the car. This was the primary activity involved crime scene search (Fisher and Fisher chp.5 pg. 81) to collect any evidence (Fisher and Fisher chp.6 pg.96) to link with the crime. It involved scrutinizing it thoroughly and link the visible evidence with the implied crime. Further, the office recorded the evidence by taking notes to ensure all evidence were documented (Fisher and Fisher chp.5 pg.79). Lastly, to collect the microscopic evidence, the officer used magnifying lenses, petri dish, tapes and other supporting equipment like laser and alternative light sources (Fisher and Fisher chp.6 pg.115).

Testimony in a Court of Law

Human Hair Recovered in the Car

The hair recovered in the trunk strengthened the argument that Casey Anthony put Caylee in the trunk after she was subdued with chloroform. Due to the lack of hair root or tissue, DNA as a means of identification (Fisher and Fisher chp.6 pg.144) of the detected hair was not possible. After analysis, the hairy material recovered in the trunk resembled Caylee Anthony hair sample, however, it failed positively identification. Mitochondrial DNA (Fisher and Fisher chp.9 pg.  212) was utilized to narrow down the individual's identity. However, mitochondrial DNA does not identify a single person (Fisher and Fisher chp.9 pg.225). As a result, the mitochondrial DNA research can only establish that the human hair recovered in the trunk belongs to the Anthony female lineage. DNA was crucial in determination of gender of the victim (Fisher and Fisher chp.6 pg.143). The breakdown features around the root of the human hair recovered in the crime scene were evident in the FBI laboratory study.

Decomposition Detection:

Odor's study of the air in Casey Anthony's trunk was one of the controversial pieces of evidence permitted in the Anthony case. It was crucial in identification of human remains (Fisher and Fisher chp.6 pg.129). They could not agree since odor analysis was still in its infancy and was not widely accepted by scientists. For the Decompositional Odor Analysis Database, his results included a list of substances to be studied. Socia and Brown (359) note that more than 40 percent of the substances identified in Casey Anthony's trunk were linked to the process of decomposition.

 A large portion of Vass' odor analysis research was conducted on the remains of people interred at varying depths in the earth. However, the expert was unable to explain why no chemicals were discovered in the trunk of Casey Anthony's car. An important component in human decomposition and other peer-reviewed studies, were missing from the trunk of the deceased that could provide crucial evidence (Socia and Brown 362). There was no explanation given for the lack of this component. Doctor Furton argued against drawing any conclusions about decomposition from the results.

Also identified in the air samples were amounts of chemicals linked with decomposition. Compounds related to human decomposition were isolated using the gas chromatography-mass spectrometer which constitute a computer program (Fisher and Fisher chp.5 pg.95). Excessive chloroform was one of the compounds analyzed, which raised some red flags.

Stained Paper Towel or Blood Sample

Analysis of a blood stained object (Fisher and Fisher chp.8 pg.  206) discovered with many fly pupa was requested. Acidosere profile was responsible for the discoloration. According to Moran (47) many scientists disagreed with this assertion, believing it to be supported by the fact that adipocere, a substance that may form from fatty acids, was also detected in the trunk's waste.

Presence of Chloroform from Chemical analysis

Analysis of the air in the trunk by Dr. Vass revealed a significant concentration of chloroform. FBI lab also verified that chloroform was found in the trunk. As for whether the chloroform originated from a supposed rotting corpse could not be established because of the lack of evidence. This involved sketching chemical release graph (Fisher and Fisher chp.5 pg.  95) to ascertain decomposition of human body.

Insect Activity:

Dr. Huntington, a defense expert witness (Fisher and Fisher chp.4 pg. 69), questioned the conclusions of the insects. Aside from decomposing debris, this insect activity also often found in human waste. This means that insects in the tree do not prove that the wooden material has decomposed within. Common flies, including larvae, pupa, and adults, are located in the garbage bags that feed on organic matter such as food and fecal matter an mostly used as a source of evidence (Conner 84). However, Dr. Huntington asserted lack of conclusive evidence that the larvae had come from human remains, who explained that the maggots' digestive tracts had not been checked for DNA.

Cyber analysis

The laptop belonging to Casey Anthony was examined by executing a search warrant (Fisher and Fisher chp.2 pg. 29). Chloroform and self-defense were recently searched topics. As evidence of premeditation, the prosecution acknowledged these facts and presented them in court. The search was not tied to Casey Anthony or Cindy Anthony, other than the history found on the laptop. Cindy Anthony stated that she was the one who searched such phrases on the computer, but timestamps (Fisher and Fisher chp.2 pg. 35) from her workplace revealed the impossibility of that happening.

Physical Weapon

Caylee Anthony's head was partly covered in duct tape (Fisher and Fisher 80) and was translated to be a weapon in the case. During the trial, duct tape covering Caylee Anthony's lips and nose was used to illustrate how the tape would suffocate her.


Casey Anthony was declared not guilty by a jury after 33 days of testimony of the accusations of assault, aggravated kidnapping and manslaughter in the first degree are all charges filed against him. She was convicted on four false information charges and checked to forge in a criminal inquiry. An alleged defamation lawsuit was brought by the nanny. The state also requested the defendant to pay for the expenses of lying to the law police and the search. Therefore, Caylee's Law was enacted in numerous jurisdictions due to this incident, making it a criminal in such places to neglect to notify incidence of a missing person (Fisher and Fisher chp.8 pg. 218).

In summation, the case provided a baseline for applying forensic evidence in analyzing cases and making fair decisions for both the defendant and complainant. For instance, the application of expert evidence was crucial in explaining the complex situation in the case that could have led to guesswork. However, the application of scientific evidence can only be accepted if it is certified by the relevant authority to prevent confusion between facts and opinions.


Works Cited

Conner, Heather. "From Crime Scene to Courtroom." Journal of Forensic Identification 64.1 (2014): 84-100.

Fisher, Barry A., and David R. Fisher. Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation. 8th ed., CRC P, 2012.

Moran, Riley. "Casey Anthony and the Social Media Trial." Women Leading Change: Case Studies on Women, Gender, and Feminism 4.1 (2019). 44-56. Retrieved on April 24, 2022 from

Socia, Kelly M., and Elizabeth K. Brown. "“This isn’t about Casey Anthony anymore” political rhetoric and Caylee’s law." Criminal Justice Policy Review 27.4 (2016): 348-377. Retrieved on April 24, 2022 from

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