It was Father's Day 2008 when 2-year-old Caylee Anthony was last seen alive. Since then, a multimedia maelstrom has churned details about the toddler's disappearance, the search and recovery of her body and the trial of her mother, Casey Anthony, who was accused of killing her baby girl.
On Tuesday, a jury acquitted 25-year-old Casey Anthony of her daughter's death. The prosecutors said the child was suffocated with duct tape by her young mom who partied, tattooed herself and lied to investigators in the month her daughter was missing. The defense argued the toddler accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool and that her mother suffered from emotional distress caused by sexual abuse from her father. The consensus in the court of public opinion is that Casey Anthony got away with murder.
It seems everyone has gotten on the Nancy Grace bandwagon. The HLN host didn't hold back on her assessment of the verdict, saying Tuesday, "The devil is dancing."
Why has this case fueled such disdain?
Stuart Fischoff, a senior editor at the Journal of Media Psychology, told the Los Angeles Times: "This is scarier than the average murder case because there's a sacredness that we assign to motherhood. The idea that a mother could kill her child flies in the face of every archetypal notion we have. It's monstrous. And we're revolted by that, but we're also fascinated. And we want revenge."
As a mom, what has happened in this case has left me unsettled. Like the jury, I don't know -- and neither does Nancy Grace -- if Anthony killed her child. I wasn't there. I don't know Casey Anthony. I don't know how Caylee died.
What I do know is that moms make mistakes. My husband and I have spent countless sleepless nights strategizing on better ways to be a parent. We've agonized over what we've done wrong and how we've potentially screwed up our children's lives. But we try to do better and we hope we've learned from our mistakes.
- --Casey Anthony never reported her child was missing or dead. In fact, it was her mother, Cindy Anthony, who called 911 to report Casey for stealing her car, saying it smelled like a dead body on July 16, 2008. Minutes later, Cindy called back to report Caylee missing after Casey admitted she had not seen her for weeks.