At 8:44 p.m. on July 15, 2008, Cindy Anthony called Orange County 911. After initially reporting that she wanted her 22-year-old daughter arrested for stealing her car, Cindy told the dispatcher, "I have a 3-year-old that's missing for a month." Caylee was then three weeks shy of her third birthday.
The dispatcher sounded shocked when she asked if Cindy had reported the missing baby.
"I'm trying to do that now, ma'am," Cindy said. She explained to the dispatcher that her daughter had stolen her car and some money and had disappeared four weeks ago. "She's been missing for a month," Cindy said. "I found her, but I can't find my granddaughter."
An hour later, Cindy called 911 again. This time she sounded panicked. "There's something wrong," she told the dispatcher. "I found my daughter's car today. It smells like there's been a dead body in the damn car." Cindy said she had not seen her granddaughter since the middle of June.
The dispatcher asked to speak to Caylee's mother. Casey got on the line. "My daughter's been missing for 31 days," she said. "I know who has her. I've tried to contact her." Casey told the dispatcher she got a call from Caylee earlier that day, but the call only lasted a minute before someone hung up the phone. When she tried to call the number back, Casey said, it was out of service.
Casey claimed her nanny, a woman she identified as Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, whom she said had been babysitting Caylee for nearly two years, had kidnapped the little girl.
"Why are you calling now?" the incredulous dispatcher asked. "Why didn't you call 31 days ago?"
"I've been looking for her and going through other resources to try to find her, which was stupid," Casey said.
From the beginning, something about the story didn't sound right. A young mother waiting an entire month to report that her daughter, not quite 3 years old, had been kidnapped? Soon, though, the story would take an even more sinister turn and would capture the attention of the nation.