Caylee Anthony was a sunny 2-year-old when she was last seen in June 2008. She lived with her mother, Casey Anthony, and her grandparents, George and Cindy, in a modest three-bedroom home outside of Orlando, Florida.
When Caylee disappeared, the mystery became international news. Thousands of searchers showed up to help find the little girl, who had inexplicably been missing for 30 days before authorities were notified.
While Anthony lived with her parents at the time of Caylee’s disappearance, she had previously lived with some friends. Now, those roommates are speaking out for the first time, talking about the day that they learned that the 2-year-old had vanished.
Clint House and Nathan Lezniewicz told Dr. Oz they were shocked to find out that Caylee had vanished.
“I remember specifically that the police came over and wanted to search our apartment real quick,” Lezniewicz tells the show. “We asked them ‘Okay, what is the gravity of the situation right now, like what exactly is going on?’ The officers looked at us and said, “We do not know where Caylee is and apparently she’s been missing for 30 days.'”
“My heart sank,” Lezniewicz continued. “I’m thinking, ‘Wait. Thirty days? What do you mean 30 days?'”
Lezniewicz tells the show that he had seen Casey Anthony during the time that Caylee was missing. “Nothing’s been wrong,” he recalls. “She’s been over here, and nothing’s been wrong. Yes, Caylee hasn’t been here, but we thought she was with the nanny or the grandparents.”
Adds the other roommate, Clint House: “It was like a punch in the gut.”
Months later, on December 11, 2008, a little girl’s remains were found in a wooded area just a few hundred feet from the family home.
The remains were soon identified as belonging to Caylee, ending one of the largest missing persons searches in Florida history. Casey was charged with murdering her own daughter — though she was acquitted in 2011 — and the Anthony family was plunged into mourning the toddler who never reached her third birthday.
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Both House and Lezniewicz tell Dr. Oz that the case still haunts them to this day.
“I have a year-and-a-half-old son,” says House. “About the same age. And the thing that really haunts me is thinking about that is if I was on trial for the murder of my child and I was acquitted, I wouldn’t sleep another day until I found out who killed my kid.”
“The other painful thing to think about is, ‘Was Caylee in the trunk of Casey’s car when we passed by it to go to school every day?’ That’s hard to think about.”