Tuesday would have been Caylee Anthony’s sixth birthday.
But there will be no birthday party in the Anthony home. There will be no cake and no presents. Instead, there will be a memorial event near the woods where the Florida girl’s body was found. Members of the public are releasing balloons and butterflies in memory of the toddler who was last seen alive in June 2008.
One month after Casey Anthony was acquitted of murder in the death of Caylee, the case still stirs strong emotion in the Orlando community where Anthony lived. On Tuesday, a steady stream of vehicles drove slowly past the Anthony home. The Orange County Sheriff has stationed three officers on the street.
Near the woods where Caylee’s body was found, several carloads of people came to place flowers and stuffed animals. “I just wanted to come here to pay my respects,” says Minerva Ferguson, 31, who drove an hour to see the scene with her own 5-year-old daughter, Catie. “I had a daughter about Caylee’s age, so it just hit so close to home.”
The Anthony family will probably not attend the memorial. Caylee’s mother, Casey, remains in seclusion – afraid for her safety, according to her attorney, Jose Baez. The 25-year-old has received several death threats from people who believe that she murdered Caylee. Her whereabouts have remained a closely guarded secret since her release from jail on July 17.
Caylee’s grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony, are quietly trying to move on from the blockbuster murder trial that gained international headlines. “They are trying to move forward with their lives,” says the Anthony family lawyer, Mark Lippman. “It has been a very tough three years.”