Dr.Jan Garavaglia is a district (chief) medical examiner in Florida and the pathologist who autopsied two-year-old Caylee Anthony.
Caylee went missing in 2008 and her mother, charged with the murder of her daughter was acquitted of the charges on Tuesday.
Not only was Caylee's disappearance not reported for a month, but also, Casey Anthony came up with lies to explain the child's absence - a vacation with a nanny, who doesn't even exist.
When Casey's father, George Anthony smelled what he thought was the odor of human decomposition from the trunk of Casey's car, Casey's mom called the police. Casey Anthony still insisted that the smell came from a garbage bag.
Six months later, Caylee's skeletal remains of the body, with a duct tape dangling from her skull, were found in damp woods near her grandparents' home, along with garbage bags, remnants of clothing and a Winnie the Pooh blanket, a durangoherald report stated.
When questioned, Casey told the police that Caylee drowned in the family swimming pool while Casey's father was minding her. Casey later admitted to hiding the body and lying.
In her defense, she also said that she was afraid of her father because he had sexually abused her.
Police and prosecutors dismissed the story as just another lie on a par with Casey's yarns about the nonexistent nanny, her nonexistent job with Universal Studios and a nonexistent boyfriend with a trust fund, the report said.
The tough job of putting it all together was to be done by Dr. Garavaglia, the medical examiner.
It is definitely a challenge to determine the cause of death from skeletal remains .
Once the body is already decomposed to that extent, the tests for poisons get mostly unreliable. To determine any gunshot or stab wound also becomes difficult as they need not necessarily strike the bones. Smothering or suffocation is impossible to prove. The only option you are left with, is to consider the circumstances.
According to durangoherald report, Dr. Garavaglia couldn't determine the cause of death medically. Based on what she called the only logical conclusion, homicidal violence of undetermined means, on factors that, in her experience, are signs of foul play:
* Caylee's death was not immediately reported.
* Her body was hidden.
* There's no reason to stick duct tape to a child's face either before or after death.
Dr. Carol J. Huser, a forensic pathologist says, A research paper published by the University of California, Irvine, School of Law suggests, that even when the medical examiner clearly states that his/her determination is based on circumstances, jurors may not grasp that medical examiner evidence and circumstantial evidence are not independent. They double-count the same evidence - 'The circumstances suggest Caylee was murdered, and the medical examiner says so, too' - giving it too much weight.
She says that when circumstances are suspicious and the defendant is guilty, the medical examiner's determination reinforces circumstantial evidence and makes it more likely that the jury's verdict will be correct.
But, when an innocent defendant is trapped in suspicious circumstances, the jury's verdict - influenced by misleading evidence and supported by a medical examiner's opinion based on that same evidence might bring out a catastrophically wrong decision.
Perhaps the jury in Casey Anthony's case considered that fact.