Casey Anthony Homicide Trial: No Soil Match in Shoes, Traces of Chloroform in Trunk

The Casey Anthony murder trial continued Wednesday with several forensic experts specializing in geology, toxicology, and chemistry affirming the defense’s claims that Casey did not kill her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

FBI forensic examiner Maureen Bottrell, an expert in geology, spoke of her soil findings from 22 pairs of shoes she received in 2009 from the Anthonys’ home. She also examined a shovel that Casey borrowed from her neighbor, Brian Burner.

Three pairs of shoes had significant amounts of soil to obtain a test sample and compare with the dirt recovered from the crime scene where Caylee’s remains were found in December 2008.

Bottrell testified that there was no match and she could not scientifically link the shoes to the crime scene.

However, she stated during cross-examination that the absence of soil on someone’s shoes did not necessarily mean that the owner was never present at the scene. She added that soil is easily removed or mixed with soil from another place.

Madeline Montgomery, a forensic toxicologist from the FBI, also took the stand on Wednesday. She tested hair found from the wooded area where Caylee’s remains were discovered for various traces of drugs. Eleven drugs were tested, including sedatives, all of which came back negative.

Montgomery also told the court that a substance like chloroform, which she did not test the hair for, given to someone right before they died would not be present in the hair.

During the cross-examination, she affirmed that hair was not the best way to test for drug exposure.

Another chemistry expert, Michael Sigman, who previously worked with the state’s witness Dr. Arpad Vass, spoke about air samples taken from Casey’s car trunk. He tested several samples from the car.

Though there were traces of gasoline, chloroform, and other chemicals, he could not conclusively report from his findings that there were human remains in the car.

Prosecutor Jeff Ashton, however, pointed out that the samples were taken four days after the trunk’s carpet liner and spare tire cover had been removed and that Sigman’s methods used to analyze the samples were not as good as Vass’ methods.

The witness also admitted that Casey’s trunk did smell, but could not say it smelled of death.

Another chemist examiner named Michael Rickenbach testified for the second time in the case, and discussed his findings from items taken from the crime scene, including a Gatorade bottle and World of Disney shopping bag, along with the car seat, steering wheel from Casey’s Pontiac, and one of Caylee’s dolls.

Crime scene supervisor from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Susan Mears, had identified photos of the two items recovered from the wooded area prior to Rickenbach’s testimony.

The results of his test, which he was only asked to test for chloroform, came back negative.

Levels of chloroform were low enough to call insubstantial in the doll, which were also equally present in another doll he tested that was borrowed from his co-worker.

The Gatorade bottle revealed testosterone and cleaning compounds.

Karen Lowe was the final witness of the day, called back by the defense. An FBI forensics expert, Lowe tested hair found on the trunk liner for decomposition and also compared duct tape found at the crime scene with that taken from the Anthonys’ home.

The hair showed no signs of decomposition while the tape, although the same brand had a different fabric make-up.

She also tested many items containing hair and found no match to Caylee or any others. And only one hair out of the hundreds revealed signs of decomposition.

The prosecution maintains that Casey suffocated her daughter with chloroform and duct tape, placed her in the trunk of her car, and dumped her in the nearby woods.

Casey, 25, pleads not guilty and maintains that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool, which was lately revealed to be a strikingly similar story to a former inmate of Casey’s.

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