In “Inside the Mind of Casey Anthony,” Keith Ablow, M.D. discloses his theory about the roots of his subject’s psyche as he examines her patterns of behavior before, during and after one of the most talked-about criminal cases in recent history. Here’s an excerpt.
Enabler of Death
After Cindy Anthony visited her father at the Mount Dora Nursing Home, she drove back to have some chili for dinner at her mother, Shirley’s, house, just a few blocks away.
Cindy and her mother had had to deal with some trouble over the past few months. During April, Casey—Caylee’s mother—had stolen $354 from her grandfather Alex’s account, where his Social Security checks were routinely deposited. She had used the money to pay an AT&T bill.
Shirley had found out during May, once she received her bank statement and got around to reviewing it. She’d been livid. After all, it wasn’t the first time Casey had stolen from her. Back in August 2007, at Caylee’s second birthday party, Casey had taken a blank check from her grandmother’s purse, made it out to Publix for fifty-four dollars and supposedly used it to pay for some of the party supplies (although the money might have been spent on other things). Shirley found out, but she let it go. “I was mad, but I forgave her,” she later told investigators. “She apologized, and I told her, ‘Don’t let it happen again.’ ”
But it had happened again, and this time Shirley suggested to the Bank of America that they have Casey arrested and press charges against her. Instead, the bank simply reimbursed Shirley her money and left it at that.
Shirley hadn’t called the police or the district attorney’s office to press charges, either.
Shirley had called Cindy, though, and told her what had happened.
Cindy was no stranger to Casey’s stealing. Casey had not only stolen money from her purse on many occasions, had not only forged checks from her account to buy merchandise from stores like Target, but had also stolen tens of thousands of dollars from her by using her credit cards without permission. Cindy had had to use funds from her retirement account to pay down the balances.
Covering up had become a habit for Cindy. At the end of Casey’s senior year of high school, Cindy learned that Casey hadn’t graduated. But that didn’t stop her from sending out a high school graduation picture of her daughter to relatives and hosting a graduation party. She invited her mother and father, who actually went to the high school graduation ceremony expecting to see their granddaughter walking with her class. Of course, she never did. So they headed over to Cindy’s house for the festivities.
Cindy never returned gifts sent by out-of-town relatives, or told them that Casey didn’t get her diploma.
According to one family member who lives out of state, “I got a graduation announcement and I sent a gift, then I found out six years later or so that she didn’t even graduate. Cindy never told me. She never called me and said, ‘I’m sending your gift back. She didn’t graduate.’ She never even told her own mother. Shirley knew that Casey didn’t go to her graduation ceremony, but she didn’t know why.”
More in books
“Cindy didn’t want any negative news to come out of her house,” Cindy’s brother Rick told me.
Even George had learned not to make waves and bring up inconvenient facts around Cindy. After Caylee was born, Casey had told her father that she was working at the Sports Authority store in Westford Lakes, Florida, in addition to her job at Universal Studios as an “event planner.” George went to the store one day, purportedly to bring her lunch, but also because he had a hunch she might not actually be working there at all.
When George got to Sports Authority, he asked for Casey, but learned that she, indeed, was not working there and never had. He called Cindy and told her, “Well, she’s not here.”
“What are you doing? What are you doing checking up on our daughter?” Cindy demanded.
“Because I need to,” George said. “I need to find out where she’s at. I need to find out what’s going on, why she’s supposed to be somewhere, specifically, and why she’s not there.”
Cindy was extremely upset with him. “Well, why are you following your daughter around?” she demanded. “You know what this is going to do to her? She’ll be irritated.”
George brought up the issue timidly with Casey, who did, indeed, get irritated with him. Then he let it drop. He later said he hadn’t “wanted to upset my wife...that I’m trying to stay with...”
He also had his suspicions about whether Casey’s job at Universal Studios was real, but he let that go, too. “I didn’t bother with any more because, number one,” he said much later, “is it would have upset my wife....[I] decided to swallow it and let it go....Even though, you know, it could have—it bothers me. It bothered me inside and it still does a little bit to this day. But, then again, I’ve got to think about my marriage and some other stuff.”
Yes, well, a father can’t allow himself to be too bothered by stark evidence that his daughter is living a fraudulent, make-believe life, can he? Not when his wife might get upset with him for bringing it up.
Reprinted from "Inside the Mind Casey Anthony: A Psychological Portrait" by Keith Ablow, M.D. © 2011 by Keith Ablow, M.D.. Used with permission of St. Martin's Press.
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive