A celebrity coroner with a snappy nickname and her own cable show, Dr. Jan Garavaglia brought made-for-TV courtroom drama to the Casey Anthony trial Friday, testifying that Casey’s 2-year-old daughter Caylee had to have been murdered.
“There is no other logical conclusion,” said Garavaglia, the Orange County (Fla.) chief medical examiner who appears on the Discovery Health Channel show Dr. G: Medical Examiner.
Garavaglia told the Orlando jury that although she couldn’t determine a cause of death solely from the bones found in the woods, she could reach conclusions based on the condition of the remains and other factors, including the discovery of duct tape wrapped around the skull.
The defense, which claims Caylee died of an accidental drowning, challenged the coroner in an aggressive cross-examination.
“You don’t know how she died,” attorney Cheney Mason said loudly. “You can’t say for sure.”
“There’s the fact that she was tossed aside to rot,” shot back Garavaglia. “There’s the fact that her death wasn’t reported. Accidental deaths are reported unless there is a reason for it not to be.”
Garavaglia also said that numerous studies showed that accidental drownings are reported to authorities “100 percent of the time.”
“That’s your opinion,” said Mason, angrily.
“No, that’s systematic observational studies,” replied Garavaglia.
“There’s also the presence of the duct tape,” continued Garavaglia, her voice rising. “No child should have duct tape on its mouth when it dies.”
Several of the jurors appeared to recognize Garavaglia. A few of them smiled at her as she took the stand, and at least one smiled at her as she left after her testimony.