In a new bombshell allegation in the Casey Anthony case, the Orange County Sheriff’s office that investigated the disappearance of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony back in 2008 has admitted that it overlooked some incriminating Google searches completed on a computer in Anthony’s home on the last day that her daughter was seen alive, reported the Associated Press.
The new details were exposed by Tony Pipitone, an investigative crime reporter for Orlando TV station Local 6. Pipitone was on vacation in July reading “Presumed Guilty,” the memoir by Casey Anthony’s former lead defense attorney Jose Baez, when he came across something that triggered his curiosity.
In his book, Baez references certain implicating search queries that had been entered on Casey Anthony’s computer. Baez was certain that the prosecution would bring up the evidence during trial, but, as Pipitone writes, “the bombshell never exploded.”
The evidence in question was a search query for “fool proof” methods of suffocation; in “Presumed Guilty,” Baez claims the phrase was searched by Anthony’s father, George, out of a suicidal impulse after Caylee’s death. But according to evidence uncovered by Pipitone, the search was entered when George Anthony had already left for work.
In a timeline presented by Pipitone, he writes:
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- · At 2:49 p.m., after George Anthony said he had left for work and while Casey Anthony’s cellphone is pinging a tower nearest the home, the Anthony family's desktop computer is activated by someone using a password-protected account Casey Anthony used;
- · At 2:51 p.m., on a browser primarily Casey Anthony used, a Google search for the term "fool-proof suffocation," misspelling the last word as "suffication";
- · Five seconds later, the user clicks on an article that criticizes pro-suicide websites that include advice on "foolproof" ways to die. "Poison yourself and then follow it up with suffocation" by placing "a plastic bag over the head," the writer quotes others as advising;
- · At 2:52 p.m., the browser records activity on MySpace, a website Casey Anthony used frequently and George Anthony did not.
- "We were waiting for the state to bring it up," Baez told Local 6, in an interview. "And when they didn't, we were kind of shocked."
Anthony, 26, was acquitted of murder in 2011. Two former jurors have since said that prosecutors were not able to offer conclusive evidence about how Caylee died, according to the AP.
Angelo Nieves, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, told Orlando TV station WKMG that a computer investigator had culled 17 searches from Internet Explorer during the investigation but neglected to check the search history on Mozilla Firefox, the Internet browser used predominantly by Anthony.
According to Nieves, the same person who entered that Google search then clicked through to an article about suicide that referenced taking poison and suffocating oneself by putting a bag over his or her head and later visited Myspace. Although Anthony’s defense team argued during her trial that her father, George, had been stopping by the house to help cover up Caylee’s death after she allegedly drowned in a swimming pool, Casey was the only one in the house to use the social networking site.
Not having been informed about those browser searches, prosecutors made a case against Anthony around evidence that she had poisoned her daughter with chloroform before suffocating her with duct tape. Defense attorneys for Anthony, however, knew about the search, having been informed pre-trial by a computer expert of their own.
"I really believed that [prosecutors] were going to sandbag us," said Baez.
Jeff Ashton, one of the criminal prosecutors in the case, told WKMG, “It’s just a shame we didn’t have it. This certainly would have put the accidental death claim in serious question.”