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A High-Profile Trial
After 2-year-old Caylee Anthony vanished in June 2008, her mother, Casey Anthony didn't report her missing for more than a month. Instead, Anthony, then 22, went to the clubs, got a tattoo, and even went on a spending spree with a friend's stolen checkbook. Anthony's mother, Cindy reported Caylee missing in July 2008, sparking a nationwide search for the toddler. By the time a meter reader found Caylee's remains in a wooded lot less than a half mile from the family home, Anthony was charged with murder.
Her 2011 trial became an international sensation. More than 1,000 protestors showed up at the Orange County Courthouse. Nielsen estimated that more than 40 million Americans watched at least part of the trial, and Anthony's name trended on Twitter for 27 consecutive days – then a record for the social media platform.
Anthony's defense was simple: that her daughter had drowned in the family pool and that her father, George Anthony, had disposed of her body. For nearly six weeks, the prosecution and defense introduced jaw-dropping evidence and shocking witnesses to the 12-member jury.
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A Family Divided
Both George and Cindy Anthony testified during their daughter's trial. George Anthony denied his daughter's allegations that he had disposed of Caylee's body. During the defense's cross examination, he angrily denied Anthony's claims that he had molested her as a child.
Meanwhile, mother Cindy Anthony seemed to take responsibility for some of the state's evidence, testifying that she had made incriminating searches for chloroform and neck-breaking on the family computer. While listening to a recording of her 911 call, Cindy Anthony doubled over on the stand, weeping audibly as the jurors looked on.
While the Anthonys publicly stated their support for their daughter, they have a difference of opinion on their daughter's guilt. George Anthony would later say that Casey is guilty, while Cindy still believes that she is innocent.
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The Shocking Verdict
As the trial continued in the summer of 2011, the general public overwhelmingly believed that she would be convicted of first-degree murder, which carried the death penalty. The jurors, however, seemed unmoved by much of the evidence.
On July 5, 2011, in front of a hushed courtroom, the jurors rendered their verdict of not guilty of all the most serious counts, including murder, manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. Anthony was convicted of four counts of lying to police. She had already completed her sentence during the time she served while awaiting trial.
About 1,000 outraged protestors gathered at the courthouse while dozens more gathered at the Anthony family home and at the site where Caylee's body was found.
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Casey Goes Free
Anthony was released from jail on July 17, 2011. Hundreds of angry protestors held signs and screamed at her as she emerged from the jail at midnight. She got into a black SUV and was whisked away to Orlando Executive Airport, where she boarded a private plane bound for northern Florida. She has not been spotted in the Orlando area since.
Unlike other infamous murder defendants, Anthony has kept a low profile since her acquittal, making very few public appearances and only participating in one print interview.
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Her Video Diary
Several months after walking out of jail, Anthony reemerged in a series of video diaries. It was unclear how the diaries were released, but she talked about her new life as a free woman. Staying with a pastor and his family in South Florida, Anthony got a dog. She bleached her hair blonde, began wearing glasses, and went out to local bars and restaurants.
Anthony, who was still on probation, listed no job or source of income. She spent most of her days surfing the web and chatting with friends.
While staying with the pastor, Anthony fired her attorney, Jose Baez. She also declared bankruptcy, partly to protect herself from civil lawsuits that had been filed against her.
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Her Quiet Life Now
In the 6 years since her release, Anthony has been photographed doing mundane things: picking up Starbucks, shopping for clothes at Old Navy, visiting a garage sale. After she moved out of her pastor's home in 2012, she moved in with her lead investigator, Pat McKenna.
Anthony filed the paperwork to start her own photography business, but it remains unclear if she has landed any clients. To make money, she began working as an assistant for her investigator, specializing in internet searches. Sources tell PEOPLE that she finds her life "boring" and that she has a very small circle of friends.
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In February, Anthony appeared at Mar-a-Lago in South Florida to protest president Donald Trump. Accompanied by two friends, she kept a low profile throughout the protest – but was photographed by another protestor. The pictures soon went viral.
During the protest, Anthony caught the eye of someone else: a reporter for the Associated Press, who struck up a rapport with her and began having several conversations with her.
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Casey Speaks Out
In her 9 years in the public eye, Anthony only spoke out once. In March 2017, the Associated Press ran several days of interviews with Anthony. "I didn't do what I was accused of," she told the reporter.
Additionally, Anthony said that she would not be "stupid" enough to have another child, and that she still sleeps well at night. She claimed to sleep with a picture of Caylee by her bed, and said that she doesn't have a relationship with her father.
As of June 2017, Anthony is still living in South Florida with her investigator and keeping a low profile. She is now 31.
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