As Casey Anthony wiped tears from her eyes and looked away, the remains of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee were presented to the jury Thursday morning.
Before the photos were shown, Judge Belvin Perry issued a warning that graphic images of Caylee’s remains were about to be released, asking those who might get nauseous to leave the room during a short recess.
George and Cindy Anthony, Casey’s parents, opted to exit the courtroom.
Bearing photos of Caylee’s skull, crime scene technician Jennifer Welch with the Orange County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office testified to the events of Dec. 11, 2008, when she was called to the area where the remains were found.
While jurors looked on, images of the surrounding wooded area – just a 10-minute walk from the Anthonys’ Orlando home – were first shown, overgrown with vegetation.
Then displaying the photographs of a skull, which was later identified as Caylee, Welch described that a piece of duct tape was found on the front of the skull.
Prosecutors stated that the duct tape, wrapped three times around the skull including the mouth and nose area, was the only evidence indicating the cause of death.
Additional photographs detailed by Welch were also shown, including a black plastic bag, an off-white canvas bag, a pair of shorts, a blanket, a red plastic Disney bag, and other clothing remains – all while Casey cried.
Caylee died on June 16, 2008, but was not reported missing until a month later.
Casey, 25, continues to deny involvement in her daughter’s death, though she is currently charged with first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and misleading investigators, among other counts.
Further speaking about the photos presented on Thursday, Orange County sheriff’s Deputy Edward Turso also took the stand.
Turso, who had gone to the wooded area in December 2008, met with Roy Kronk, a meter reader who said he found human remains. While roping off the area with crime tape, he had Kronk write a statement about the incident.
Defense attorney Jose Baez accused Kronk during his opening statements of placing Caylee’s remains in the wooded area months before his call in order to receive the reward money. Kronk had previously reported finding a skull in August 2008, but the deputy who examined the scene did not find anything.
Casey’s brother, Lee Anthony, also returned to the stand on Thursday to testify once again.
Questioned about computer usage on July 16, 2008, when his sister was first arrested, Lee revealed that he made a search on the computer for Zenaida Gernandez-Gonzalez aka “Zanny” after his sister told him Caylee had been kidnapped by her nanny with the same name.
Recalling a conversation with his sister back in August 2008, Lee explained that Casey told him her nanny called her unfit to be a mother and kidnapped Caylee with the help of Zanny’s sister.
At an Orlando park, Zanny supposedly held Casey down and told her she was taking Caylee away from her to teach her a lesson. Casey told Lee that she didn’t know what to do and was scared.
Lee also testified that Casey told him Zanny had taken over her MySpace page, changing her password and sending her messages from time to time in regards to where she should go to find her daughter. Though she went to each suggested location, she could never find her.
Lee’s testimony conflicted, however, with the initial statement Casey gave to the police when Caylee was reported missing.
Authorities never found the nanny, although they did discover a woman with the same name who denied ever meeting Casey or Caylee. She later filed a civil suit against Casey Anthony for defamation.
Defense attorney Baez acknowledged Casey lied about the existence of a nanny named Zanny and called the purported MySpace messages “imaginary MySpace posts.”
Casey continues to claim that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family’s swimming pool and pleads not guilty.
If convicted for murder, Casey could face the death penalty.