The grandmother of a missing Orlando toddler told police that her daughter’s car “smelled like there’s been a dead body in the damn car” when she made a 911 call to report the child missing — but Cindy Anthony later told investigators that the smell may have been caused by a piece of pizza left in the trunk of the car.
On Friday, TODAY’s Meredith Vieira asked her why her statement had changed.
“There’s a lot of facts that have been stated erroneously,” Cindy Anthony replied. “If my daughter ever has to come to trial, that will be part of her defense.”
Anthony’s daughter, Casey, was jailed the day after the 911 calls were made on July 15. In one of the calls, Casey Anthony tells the dispatcher that her daughter, Caylee, had been missing for 31 days.
Casey Anthony is being held on $500,000 bail, and her attorney, Jose Baez, has filed a request with the courts to reduce that amount. She is charged with child endangerment, lying to authorities and criminal obstruction.
Baez told Vieira that his client will help police try to find the girl, but won’t answer questions that may lead to additional charges being filed against her.
“I want to be clear about something: I’m not going to expose my client to possible further charges,” Baez said. “I will answer any questions that can help find Caylee, and that’s what my client has instructed me to do.”
From calm to frantic
Baez and Cindy Anthony spoke a day after the Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Department released tapes of the latter two of three 911 calls Cindy Anthony said she made on July 15.
In the first of the released calls, the grandmother is calm as she tells the dispatcher she wants her daughter arrested for stealing a car and money. But in the second, she is frantic and sobbing as she tells the dispatcher that Caylee has been missing for a month.
“I found out my granddaughter has been taken, she has been missing for a month. Her mother finally admitted that she's been missing,” Cindy Anthony said on that second call. “Oh, my God, they finally admitted that the baby sitter stole her. I need to find her.”
She also told the dispatcher, “There's something wrong. I found my daughter's car today and it smelled like there's been a dead body in the damn car.”
Vieira twice asked Cindy Anthony about the discrepancy between her statement about the smell in the car on the 911 call and her later story that it might have been rotten pizza. She has also told local reporters that the smell might have been a dead squirrel, according to published reports.
Cindy Anthony did not directly answer Vieira’s question. Instead, she said, “I know what I said. A lot of the stuff that is going on … they have all of my statements.”
Investigators are testing hair and stains found in the trunk of the car. They believe the smell in the car was caused by human remains based on the reaction of a cadaver-sniffing dog.
The Anthonys maintain that Caylee was abducted by a baby sitter, but the address Casey Anthony gave police as the sitter’s home turned out to be an apartment that hadn’t been occupied for several months. Cindy Anthony has maintained that Caylee, who is nearly 3, was sighted at the Orlando airport and more recently in Georgia.
‘I know who has her’
On the night Cindy Anthony made the 911 calls, she put her daughter on the phone to talk to the dispatcher.
“I know who has her; I've tried to contact her,” Casey Anthony said. “I actually received a phone call today, now from a number that is no longer in service. I did get to speak to my daughter, for about a moment, about a minute.”