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Ex-fiancé to missing tot’s mom: ‘Tell the truth’

Casey Anthony’s former fiancé appealed to the mother of missing Orlando toddler Caylee Anthony to stop lying about what happened to her daughter.“Casey, tell the truth. This isn’t about you anymore. This is about Caylee,” Jesse Grund said at the end of an interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer Thursday in New York. “Stop dragging people’s lives through this. Stop destroying people’s li
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Casey Anthony’s former fiancé appealed to the mother of missing Orlando toddler Caylee Anthony to stop lying about what happened to her daughter.

“Casey, tell the truth. This isn’t about you anymore. This is about Caylee,” Jesse Grund said at the end of an interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer Thursday in New York. “Stop dragging people’s lives through this. Stop destroying people’s lives and tell the truth. What happened to Caylee?”

Grund spoke out a day after law enforcement officials in Florida named the 22-year-old Anthony the sole suspect in the June disappearance of Caylee, who would now be 3. Police are treating the case as a homicide.

Not the father, but like one

Grund talked about the bright and witty 19-year-old he fell in love with three years ago, his involvement in Caylee’s life when she was an infant, and the dramatic change that came over Anthony in the time just before Caylee disappeared in June.

Interview tapes released by Orlando police show Cindy Anthony telling authorities that she felt that Grund was responsible for Caylee’s disappearance.

“My number one suspect has been Jesse all along," Cindy Anthony tells a detective, who replies: “We know that Jesse doesn't have Caylee." Grund confirmed that he has taken a polygraph test to clear his name, and told Lauer he’s been cooperating in the investigation into the disappearance of the little girl.

When Casey Anthony became pregnant with Caylee, she initially told Grund that he was the father. Even though he didn’t think it was possible — they had broken up before she became pregnant — he involved himself with Caylee and treated her like a daughter.

“I petitioned for a paternity test, and there was zero percent probability” that he was the father, he told Lauer. He also explained why he took a paternal interest in Caylee when she was born: “My attitude was, until the paternity test comes out, I’m not going waste time or miss out if this really is my child.”

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Jesse Grund with ex-fiancee Casey Anthony in happier times.

TODAY

1PfalsefalseA different Casey

Casey Anthony never graduated from high school, but when Grund met her he was immediately attracted to a beautiful young woman full of life.

“When I first met her, she carried herself not like a 19-year-old girl — we were 19 when we met,” Grund told Lauer. “She was very energetic. She had a sarcastic sense of humor. She’s very smart. She was very fun to be around. She was just the type of person that everyone was attracted to.”

Since the disappearance, Casey Anthony has been portrayed as almost a pathological liar. Police interview tapes show detectives telling her that everything she told them about the disappearance had proved to be lies. Lauer asked Grund if he saw evidence of that.

“At the very end of our relationship, absolutely,” Grund replied. “At the very end, she started to lie about things. I was one of the ones she stole money from. She stole $250 from me, and then made up an excuse why she couldn’t pay me back, or made up excuses why she couldn’t be places with me. I found out she was actually seeing someone else at the end of our relationship.”

It was a radical change from the young woman he had been briefly engaged to.

“She was a very good mother, Matt,” Grund said. “She was very doting. She was devoted. Caylee was the center of her universe.”

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TODAY

Casey Anthony with now-missing daughter Caylee. Jesse Grund says that Anthony was a good mother at first.

1PfalsefalseChanging lifestyle

Lauer asked if he saw any indication that Casey Anthony was having trouble coping with being a single mother.

“Absolutely not. No, not at the beginning,” Grund said, “Not when Caylee was a baby. There was no indication she was having any problems being a mother.”

Casey Anthony has been portrayed as a woman more interested in partying than in being a mother, but Grund repeated that in the beginning, she wasn’t like that at all.

“She was very much into being a homebody and loyal, and she was wanting to spend the rest of our lives together,” he said. He traced the transformation in Casey Anthony to when she formed a closer relationship with her mother, from whom she had previously distanced herself.

“She started to pull away, and it started to become about her,” Grund said. “She started to party and drink — this lifestyle that now we’ve seen pictures of out there. And then the lying started to come … [When] she started becoming close with her mother, it started a transformation.”