Shock and frustration are what many parents felt last week after learning the not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial. Casey Anthony, a 25-year-old Florida mother was accused of the 2008 murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Casey Anthony spent the last two years and nine months in jail awaiting her trial as prosecutors worked to build a case against her. Her arrest in October of 2008 came on the heels of her admittance to not knowing the whereabouts of Caylee for quite some time, in addition to a string of lies Anthony fed police about her own possible involvement. Since then, the young mother has been portrayed as a somewhat selfish party girl anxious to return to a life with more fun, and less responsibility—a life without her daughter.
Aside from the images of Casey Anthony drawn by prosecutors and media, her own bizarre behavior somehow seemed evidence enough to brand her guilty of…well, something anyhow. The conjured up nanny (more from the bottomless pit of lies), the nights spent partying while Caylee was apparently missing, and the self-centered, cold demeanor she exhibited in the days following her revealing Caylee as missing. Yet, as we all know, telling lies and making poor decisions doesn’t necessarily mean Anthony was capable of murder. However, the many other odd coincidences do speak volumes, such as not telling anyone her daughter was missing for FOUR weeks, evidence of Caylee’s hair found in the trunk of her car, the horrific and death-like odor emerging from that same vehicle, and finally, the discovery of little Caylee’s badly decomposed body—less than half a mile from the Anthony home. I’m not one to usually judge based on circumstantial evidence, but wow, Casey, how could you NOT be involved in this horrific crime?
As the mother of two small children, one, a daughter the same age as Caylee, I’ve found it especially difficult to follow this story and learn of the brutal manner in which a beautiful, innocent 2-year-old died. I would guess that almost every parent reading this feels the same way. We know of that bond that exists between ourselves and our children, and we know that we’ll do nothing to break it, or extinguish it—no matter how bad life can get. Perhaps that is why so many of us have been so drawn to the details and the emotions associated with the Casey Anthony trial—we simply can’t fathom the idea that a mother who should have shared that same bond with her own daughter might be capable of murdering her. It’s true that every parent experiences the overwhelming and often intense emotions associated with parenting. Maybe once we wanted to walk away from our child when he threw an embarrassing tantrum at the grocery store, or maybe we’ve been angry enough to scream as we discovered red crayon smeared across an entire bedroom wall. Most of us can recall an instance or two when we’ve temporarily lost it, but because of that bond I mentioned, most often we take a few deep breaths, collect our wits, and deal accordingly with the issue at hand. We don’t murder our children.
Yet among us, there are those who just aren’t capable of handling the stresses, or the pressures of parenting, and there are also those who just don’t want the added responsibility of children. There are those mothers who, simply put, do murder their children. In fact, according to the American Anthropological Association about 200 mothers kill their children in the United States each year, and a shocking three to five children are killed every day by their parents or other relatives. The logic in me insists that for a parent to be capable of murdering their own child, they must be suffering from extreme and uncharacteristic behavior or some kind of untreated mental illness. Or, they must have experienced severe trauma of their own, and have deep rooted (and again, untreated) relating issues. Then there are illogical explanations where a mother just may want more uninterrupted time with her boyfriend, or to not have to pay a babysitter while she is out participating in hot body contests. Maybe, just maybe.
As the Casey Anthony trial wrapped up and presented a not guilty verdict, it became more and more evident that this case, this tragedy, is far from being over. The fact of the matter is that two-year-old Caylee Anthony died in some terrible way, and more likely then not, she died at the hands of someone she knew, someone she trusted, and someone who most likely loved her. Jennifer Ford is one of the few jury members who has opted to speak openly about the final verdict in the Casey Anothony’s murder trial. “I did not say she was innocent,” she said. “I just said there was not enough evidence.”
Somewhere out there, there is someone who knows the whole truth about Caylee Anthony’s story, about her tragic death. How unforgivable would it be if that someone is the one person who should have protected Caylee against anything bad in this world, the one person who was also found not guilty in her death, and the one person who is about to walk free.
Kate, a freelance writer and mother of two, most often finds creative inspiration in writing, but occasionally at the bottom of an empty wine glass. She has hijacked her family’s former lifestyle and is in the midst of creating a simpler and greener approach to life. To follow her family’s challenges and successes in this endeavor, visit her blog, at Kate’s Musings. She and her family have lived in Birmingham since 2009.