The Bombshell Moments From Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies

Casey Anthony, who was found not guilty of killing 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony, had a lot to say in a new Peacock docuseries.

By Natalie Finn Dec 03, 2022 1:00 PMTags
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Casey Anthony never testified in her own defense at trial.

But 11 years later, she's got a lot to say in the Peacock docuseries Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies, featuring Casey's first time sitting down on camera to detail her side of the story surrounding the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony.

The very idea of which had critics coming in hot before they'd heard one word.

"I wanted to listen to her and give her a fair shake," series producer Alexandra Dean told People of her approach to the controversial project. "She has been given the tabloid treatment, and she needed someone to listen to her."

Casey was found not guilty of murder and aggravated child abuse in 2011, but the question of what really happened to Caylee—the medical examiner ruled the toddler's death a homicide "by undetermined means"—remained unanswered. And those who hung on every word of the media coverage and followed the trial passed their own form of judgment on the inscrutable defendant. 

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In their opening statement, the prosecution painted a picture of a young woman who spent a month "gallivanting around Orlando" after her child died, not reporting Caylee missing because she knew what had happened.

The defense argued that Caylee's death was accidental and Casey believed her kid was alive for the 31 days before her mother, Cindy Anthony, eventually called police to report her granddaughter missing on July 15, 2008. Casey was arrested the next day and remained in jail until the trial was over.

"It's a deeply confusing case," Dean told People. "But there were a lot of angles that police didn't follow up on. There are a lot of question marks—territory that wasn't covered."


In episode one, the self-proclaimed "convicted liar" (Casey was found guilty of lying to authorities during the course of their investigation), said that becoming a mom had been the high point of her life and she's suffered every day since Caylee died.

Nowadays, the 36-year-old is "a little too honest," she described herself. "I'm blunt, direct—almost painfully so."

And Casey did not hold back for the cameras here. These are the biggest bombshells she dropped through the course of Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies:

Casey Anthony Says Her Pregnancy Was a Result of Rape

Casey, who had Caylee when she was 19, had never said who her daughter's father was, and in the series she says she got pregnant at 18 after being drugged and raped at a house party.

She agreed with her parents to hide her pregnancy from friends and coworkers, Casey said, even when it became obvious she was expecting. Then for a time, she recalled, she told people her ex-boyfriend Jesse Grund was Caylee's father, but a paternity test proved he wasn't.

"I lied to everyone," Casey admitted. "That's what I'm saying, it's so f--ked up. It's just years of feeling like I needed to live a certain life or show people I lived a certain life, because I didn't want people to pity me and I didn't want my kid to grow up thinking she was the product of something so bad and that I didn't want her."

Casey Details Abuse Allegations

Casey reiterated her accusation—first made public during her 2011 trial by the defense—that her father, George Anthony, had sexually abused her, starting when she was 8 and until she was 12.

Casey said she had memories of being abused but it wasn't until she was "isolated in jail" following her arrest that she started recalling more details. Then, she continued, she had "very clear images and flashbacks, nightmares and seizures, all because of things that I was reliving from what happened with my father."

Later in the series, Casey said that, from the day Caylee was born, she never let her daughter be alone with her grandfather. 

Where the Truth Lies relays that George, mom Cindy Anthony and brother Lee Anthony turned down invitations to be interviewed and didn't reply to requests for comment on Casey's various allegations. George has repeatedly denied his daughter's claims, in court and in media interviews. He didn't return E! News' requests for comment about the accusations of abuse raised in the series.

Casey Recalls the Last Time She Saw Caylee

The morning of June 16, 2008, she recalled, she made Caylee breakfast but wasn't feeling well, so she went to lie down, bringing Caylee into the bedroom with her and turning on the TV. They were living at Casey's childhood home with George and Cindy.

Casey said she fell asleep for awhile and woke up to her father asking her where Caylee was. She said she started frantically looking for her out in the yard, then walked around the side of the house to find George holding a "soaking wet" Caylee. "I can see him standing there with her in his arms," Casey said. "And handing her to me and telling me that it's my fault, that I did that, that I caused that. And I just collapsed with her in my arms." 

Casey said Caylee felt "heavy" and "cold," and she herself was "hysterical." George, taking Caylee from her, "immediately softens his tone and tells me, 'It's going to be OK,'" Casey said. "That she was 'going to be OK.' That's what he said to me. I wanted to believe him because I wanted her to be OK."

After pausing for a few seconds in the interview, her face tear-stained, she continued, "And I don't know how long I sat outside, I don't know where he went. He took her from me and he walked away. I know he went back in through the screen doors and he went back into the house. And I don't know where she went. And I don't know what he did. I just want her back."

Testifying at Casey's trial, George denied having any knowledge of how Caylee died or being involved in disposing of her body. "I would have done everything humanly possible to save my granddaughter if what was said happened, happened," he said, adding that he "never knew of anything that happened to Caylee" until she was confirmed dead.

Casey Questions Her Own Behavior

"I know people are going to question, Well, why didn't I make a phone call? Why didn't I call 911? Why did I even wait to tell my mom anything?' And I didn't tell her anything. 'Why lie? Why not do a hundred things a hundred different ways?'" Casey said of the reaction she described having. "I have to live with that, knowing that I failed to protect my child, and that I kept failing her even after that. I failed her again and again and again, 'cause I still protected the person who hurt me."

Cut to footage of Casey talking animatedly to her father when she was in jail.

"It was like I was brainwashed," she said, "and it wasn't until much later that I started to really realize why."

Casey Talks About the 31 Days Before Caylee Was Reported Missing

After that, Casey said George told her to "act normal," hence the widely circulated photos taken of what appeared to be the 22-year-old having a grand time during the month following this alleged accident. "That was not partying," Casey said, explaining that she was out helping then-boyfriend Tony Lazzaro (who turned down the series' interview request) with club promotion and noting that none of the photos showed her with a drink in her hand.

She was in contact with her father every day, she said, and he kept telling her Caylee was OK. "During the 31 days, I genuinely believed that Caylee was alive," Casey said.

Even after she was arrested July 16, 2008, on suspicion of lying to law enforcement, possible child abuse and obstruction of a criminal investigation, Casey said she was desperately clinging to the belief that Caylee—whom she admittedly hadn't seen for a month before her mother called 911 on July 15—was fine.

Caylee's remains were found in a wooded area less than a mile away from the Anthony family's home on Dec. 11, 2008.

Casey Turned Down a Plea in Capital Case

Offered the chance to plead guilty in Caylee's death and spend 20 years in prison in exchange for prosecutors taking the death penalty off the table, Casey—charged with first-degree murder—refused, according to her and members of her defense team interviewed in Where the Truth Lies.

"She was not having it," recalled attorney and now longtime friend Lisabeth Fryer.

"I would rather have been found guilty and spent my life—the rest of my life—on death row, fighting for my life and my innocence than to have ever pled to something I didn't do," Casey explained. "I lied to the cops, I wrote those checks—I admitted guilty on each of those. That was it. It was never a consideration, ever."

(She pleaded guilty in 2010 to check fraud for stealing a friend's checkbook and writing almost $650 worth of checks, and was sentenced to time served.)

Casey Said She Was Blindsided by Her Own Attorney's Strategy

Casey said she didn't know her lead defense attorney, Jose Baez, was going to introduce her sexual abuse allegations against her father in his opening statement on May 24, 2011.

"Didn't tell me," she said. "He did not even come to see me before we went into court. He didn't tell me anything. He wanted to make sure my reaction and my response were as real and raw as possible, so he didn't want me to be prepped, for this."

Reviewing footage of herself wiping away tears during the televised trial, she continued, "What I am feeling in that moment, listening to Jose Baez tell the world about the abuse that I suffered, was absolute shame. I remember that feeling like it was yesterday. There's always going to be that part of me that's going to feel like I'm not enough because of what happened. Like I'm not good enough because of all the things that have happened to me... that I'm tarnished, tainted. That's a really, really, really, hard moment."

Testifying on the same day Baez gave his statement, George flatly denied ever sexually abusing his daughter.

Casey Disputes Drowning Theory

Also in his opening statement, Baez introduced the theory that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and George covered it up, but Casey said in Where the Truth Lies that she doesn't believe that's what happened. She said that was a possibility her mother suggested to Baez and he went with it.

Caylee being soaking wet, as she herself remembered it, was "still something I can't piece together," Casey said.

As for her father, "I'm not accusing him of murder," Casey noted, "but it wasn't an accident in the pool."

Authorities never considered George a suspect in connection with Caylee's death. At trial and in media interviews during and since, he has denied that his granddaughter drowned on his watch, or that he had anything to do with disposing of her body or covering up what happened. He did not respond to E! News' requests for comment on the allegations raised in the series.

In June 2011, his client having denied the defense's accusations on the stand, George's attorney Mark Lippman said in a statement, "Mr. Anthony has and will continue to maintain the position that he had nothing to do with the death of Caylee Marie Anthony or any of the events that occurred afterword regarding the actions of the Defendant Casey Anthony established by the State of Florida in the presentation of their case."

The Defense Recalls Death Threats

Casey's attorneys recalled feeling jubilant about her acquittal but then immediately worrying about what would become of her—right outside the courtroom, let alone in the years to come.

"We were really afraid for her life," said lawyer Dorothy Clay Sims, the defense team's forensics expert, recalling how they all looked at each other, thinking, "Now what do we do?"

They all received death threats, Dorothy said, and Casey couldn't even leave the country to lie low because she couldn't get a passport with a felony conviction.

Casey Bonds With Her Defense Team

Casey said her lawyers helped support her financially and emotionally as she tried to restart her life. She lived with investigator Pat McKenna's family for years and continues to work for him to this day—mainly, she said, doing research for criminal defense cases. 

Pat said in the series that, in the last 10 years, he'd never caught Casey in a lie and she'd become "like a daughter" to him.

"He's the guy that would walk me down the aisle if I was ever dumb enough to get married," Casey said. "He's the closest thing to a real dad that I've ever had."

Casey Says She Never Reached Out to Her Father

Filmed watching a January 14, 2019, episode of Dr. Oz in which her parents were interviewed after George had been seriously injured in a November 2018 car crash, Casey reacted with derision when Mehmet Oz asked if their daughter had been in touch and George said, "She did reach out to see how I was."

Casey scoffed, "No, I didn't."

She also watched footage of Cayley's funeral, apparently for the first time, which she missed while she was in jail, and she cringed at her father's eulogy.

Asked by a producer who's heard, not seen, if she did everything she could have done to protect her daughter, Casey tearfully replied, "I thought I did. I tried. I didn't leave [her parents' house] when I should have, the moment I found out I was pregnant, I should've just left."

Casey Is Asked What Happened to Caylee

Ultimately, the big question remains unanswered.

"I'm never going to have full closure," Casey said. "The irony for me is that, I think that's part of the reason why people are still so hooked on this, because they feel they need closure."

Acknowledging the inherent dissatisfaction in not knowing, comparing it to a disappointing movie ending or bad reality TV, she said, "I didn't get the ending that I wanted because I didn't get my kid back. That's the only ending I wanted. That's the one thing that I will never get out of all of this." Coping, she said, got "not easier—harder. Waking up every day, wishing that some days I would wake up and look over and she'd be right there."

Casey concluded, "It's a hard thing to deal with. It's a hard thing to live with every day. 'Cause nothing's going to bring her back. Nothing. Even if I someday get the answers that I need, it's never going to be enough."

Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies is streaming on Peacock.

(E! and Peacock are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

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