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Video: Did mom chloroform Caylee?

By
TODAY contributor
updated 9/5/2008 9:28:48 AM ET 2008-09-05T13:28:48

The detection of chloroform in the trunk of the car driven by Casey Anthony, along with evidence that she researched the chemical on the Internet, does not bode well for the mother of missing 3-year-old Caylee Anthony, in the opinion of investigative criminal profiler Pat Brown.

“I think it’s pretty damning information,” Brown told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira on Friday. “There’s no reason for chloroform to be in that trunk. You’re not going to use it as a cleaning fluid around your house.

“It would only be in some kind of criminal act,” Brown opined. “Therefore, if you have somebody looking for it on the computer and it’s in the trunk and there’s evidence Caylee was in the trunk, there you go — you’ve got a pretty good case.”

Caylee Anthony was last seen in mid-June, and was reported missing to authorities on July 15.

Her mother, Casey Anthony, 22, has told investigators she left the child with a baby sitter, who cannot be found. Cindy Anthony, mother of Casey and grandmother of Caylee, has supported her daughter’s claims despite mounting evidence and public outcry against her.

Today, Casey Anthony is expected to be released from jail for a second time after her family made arrangements for $500,000 bail on charges of child neglect and giving false information to authorities.

Brown said that Casey Anthony and her attorney, Jose Baez, have their work cut out for them.

“I’m sure when she gets together with her lawyer and sits in that back room, they’re going to come up with something that would be equivalent to an accident,” Brown said.

Potentially deadly chemical
Casey Anthony has been a “person of interest” in the investigation of Caylee's disappearance ever since Cindy Anthony made a 911 call explaining she had not seen her granddaughter in several days and that her daughter Casey’s car smelled like a dead body.

TODAY
Criminal profiler Pat Brown.
Cindy Anthony later claimed the smell had actually come from an old pizza and trash in the trunk. But investigators said the trunk smelled strongly of human decomposition, and hair samples appearing to belong to Caylee were also found.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday that chloroform traces were also found in the trunk and, through sources, said there was evidence showing Casey Anthony had Googled the topic of chloroform.

Chloroform is a dangerous chemical compound that can be used as a reagent or a solvent. It is also considered environmentally hazardous. In older movies and television shows, it has been applied to rags to cover the mouth and nose of victims to make them lose consciousness. If too much of the chemical is inhaled, the results can be fatal.

Vieira asked Brown if performing a Google search on chloroform would make someone guilty of murder.

“Like I said, there’s no really good reason to look up chloroform,” Brown alleged. “And if you combine that with the fact that it was found in the trunk, then you’ve got a whole bunch of evidence — putting [it] together, the puzzle all fits, and you have a cause of death which would then lead up to murder.”

New explanation?
After her release today, Casey Anthony is expected to live with her parents at their southeast Orange County, Fla., home. She must wear an electronic monitor at all times.

TODAY
Casey Anthony, mother of the missing toddler.
With the possibility of serious charges looming, Brown wondered if Anthony’s attorneys might attempt a new explanation about Caylee’s disappearance once they are presented the new evidence.

“ ‘I bought chloroform because I was going to make some cleaning fluid out of it, and I left it around the living room and Caylee got into it,’ ” might be such an explanation, Brown suggested.

But, Brown added, “the fact that [Casey] would go out partying right away and have absolutely no remorse over what happened would show that it doesn’t seem like much of an accident.”

Brown also said it might be time for her family to break from Anthony’s original story.

“I think I’d like to see them all on a polygraph,” Brown said. “I think they’d all fail.”

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