On July 15, 2008, Cindy Marie Anthony dialed 911 to report that her granddaughter, Caylee Marie Anthony, a magnificent little girl just shy of her third birthday, was missing—and had not been seen for a month.
According to Caylee’s single mother, twenty-two-year-old Casey Marie Anthony, she had dropped her daughter off at her nanny’s apartment on June 16. When she’d returned there later that day, both the nanny and Caylee had vanished. Casey claimed she had then launched her own monthlong search to no avail.
The police investigation that ensued uncovered the unthinkable: Casey Anthony had invented much of her life story. She had no nanny. She didn’t have the job at Universal Studios that she had been telling her parents about for years. She hadn’t, as she had told her family, been traveling around the state of Florida with Caylee during the weeks between June 16 and July 15.
Casey Anthony, it turned out, was a kind of ghost—a woman with no real identity; no connection to her rageful, shattered inner self; and no person on this earth who really knew the truth about her.
Caylee was dead. She had been placed in a black plastic trash bag and thrown in the woods near the Anthony home at 4937 Hopespring Drive in Orlando, a cruelly ironic address for a house of horror.
The story you are about to read is about suffocation—psychological suffocation leading to physical suffocation, leading to death.
This is a story about how toxic emotional forces in a family, unfolding over decades, slowly extinguished Casey Anthony psychologically, and then suddenly extinguished her two-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony, physically.
Caylee Anthony was killed by a person who had never lived anything resembling a genuine life—was never really, truly alive at all—and, therefore, assigned no value to a little girl’s life.
This transmutation of psychological death into physical death usually occurs without anyone taking notice. The victim’s remains are buried and, with them, the true story of why that person was killed. The people who remain behind escape any postmortem examination. Even if one of them is tried for murder, the truth about the lethal psychological makeup of that person, or those surrounding her, may never be known. That shall not be the case here. Does the link I suggest between psychological death and physical death surprise you? It shouldn’t. One very often causes the other, though it sometimes takes two generations, or three, or even more for it to happen.
Emotional violence snaking its way through a family tree commonly snaps the newest, most innocent, most exquisitely vulnerable limb.
Looking at the corpse of a child, even combing through the physical evidence surrounding her disappearance, can’t reveal her real cause of death. Hair samples, DNA, a skull left in the dirt all fail to tell the tale. But a painstaking examination of the psychological dynamics of those closest to her often will.
The card security code is an added safeguard for your credit/debit card purchases. Depending on the type of card you use, it is either a three- or four-digit number printed on the back or front of your credit/debit card, separate from your credit/debit card number. To make shopping at Black Expressions® Book Club even more secure, we require that you enter this number each time you make a credit/debit card purchase. Please note that your security code will not be stored with us even if you have saved your credit/debit card information.