Several witnesses describe a foul and distinctive odor from her car

By Sara Hammel and Mike Fleeman
June 01, 2011 07:00 PM
Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/Landov

Among the most compelling and disturbing evidence so far in the Casey Anthony murder trial is something that can’t be seen or touched.

It’s what one witness called that “particular smell that you never forget” – foul, rotten, dead.

In building a case against the Florida mom in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, prosecutors have elicited testimony from several people who recalled a foul odor from or near Casey’s white Pontiac Sunfire after the child disappeared.

The implication is that this is where the tiny body was stashed. The defense has suggested that people were merely getting a whiff of stinky trash.

The latest testimony came Wednesday from Orange County Deputy Adriana Acevedo, who responded to a 911 call in July 2008 from Caylee’s grandmother, Cindy Anthony, reporting the child was missing.

Acevedo told the Orlando jury that she had smelled a “garbage-type odor” coming “from the car or the garage.” She acknowledged that she had little experience with the smell of decomposing flesh so could not characterize the odor further.

The deputy was the latest to provide this chilling description, joining even members of Casey’s own family:

• On Wednesday, Casey’s brother Lee Anthony testified that when he met his sister at the family home on July 15, 2008, he smelled a “very potent, very strong” odor as he passed Casey’s car in the garage.

• In her testimony on Tuesday, Casey’s mother Cindy recalled an odor that “smelled like something died in the car.” She tearfully recounted how she took Caylee’s doll out of the car and wiped it with a Clorox wipe, saying, “Caylee’s doll smelled like the car.”

The jury also heard the infamous 911 call from July 2008, in which Cindy is heard telling the dispatcher: “There’s something wrong. I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there has been a dead body in the damn car.”

• Last Friday, Casey’s father George Anthony told the court about finding maggots in the trunk of the car, coupled with a horrifying stench. “I was very concerned about the odor,” George, a former police officer, told the court. “I had smelled something like that some years prior and I was concerned.”

George testified that it was the odor of a decomposing human body and said, “That particular smell, whenever you smell it, it’s something that you never forget. It’s a very distinct odor.”

• Also last Friday, Simon Birch, the supervisor of the tow truck company, talked about a “fairly strong odor emanating from the vehicle” when he was near the car.

“The instant flash in my mind was, whoa, I know what that smells like,” Birch testified. He added that when he and George Anthony opened the car door, “the smell came out very instantly very potent. It was eye opening In the back of my mind, I said to myself, that’s the smell of decomposition.”