There is no crime quite so heinous as the killing of one’s own child. In recent years the headlines have been riddled with names of child-killing mothers such as Andrea Yates, Susan Smith, Darlie Routier, and Casey Anthony. New Braunfels true crime writer Diane Fanning analyzes the case of Casey Anthony, the young Florida mother accused of murdering her two year old daughter, Caylee Anthony, in her new book Mommy’s Little Girl.
When two-year old Caylee Anthony was reported missing by her grandmother in June, 2008, there was an outpouring of public sympathy from across the United States. When the little girl’s body was discovered five months later by a utility worker just a quarter mile from the Anthony home, public sympathy was transformed to public outrage. And then when chloroform and gasses from human decomposition were found in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car, the young mother was arrested for capital murder.
Anthony claimed that little Casey had been kidnapped a month earlier by her babysitter. When she pointed out the babysitter’s apartment to the police, the officers discovered that it had been vacant for months. When asked why the kidnapping had not been reported when it happened, a month prior, Anthony was unable to provide a coherent response.
Fanning skillfully traces Casey Anthony’s string of lies, deceptions, and erratic behavior to a logical conclusion: the young mother is the most likely killer of her two-year-old daughter.
Anthony had claimed to friends and family that she was employed by Universal Studios in Orlando when actually she had been fired by that company months before. She repeatedly stole checks and money from her mother, grandmother, and friends. During the one month interlude during Caylee’s “secret” disappearance, Anthony got a tattoo “Bella Vita” (beautiful life) on her shoulder and partied and drank incessantly. When asked by her friends the whereabouts of her daughter Caylee, Anthony claimed that the toddler was with her nanny.
This is a dark and gruesome tale of an unthinkable act of a mother whose cunning and duplicitous acts destroy everyone unfortunate enough to be in her path. It is also a story of a family so dysfunctional that the month-long disappearance of a toddler went unnoticed.
The Casey Anthony trial is set for next summer. Florida prosecutors are asking for the death penalty.
Fanning based her book on a careful review of more than 6000 pages of transcripts of police interviews, police reports, and other official documents, as well as audiotaped and videotaped conversations and interviews, plus information gathered from on-site research and personal interviews.
Fanning is the author of the Edgar Award finalist Written in Blood: A True Story of Murder and a Deadly 16-Year-Old Secret That Tore a Family Apart, as well as nine other true-crime books, the Lucinda Pierce mystery series, and a Molly Mullet mystery.
Fanning will be discussing and signing her book at Read All About It Bookstore in Boerne on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 5:00 pm. Light refreshments will be served. Call Read All About It at 830-249-7323. You can check out Diane Fanning’s web site at http://dianefanning.com.
Book Details: Mommy’s Little Girl by Diane Fanning, ISBN 978-0312365141, St. Martin’s True Crime, November 3, 2009. paperback, $6.99. Available through all booksellers.