Police use cell phone pings to track George Anthony after the family reports him missing

By Nina Burleigh
Updated January 23, 2009 12:40 PM
Credit: MCT/Orlando Sentinel/Landov

Pressure appears to be building on the family of murdered toddler Caylee Anthony.

Responding to reports from family members that Caylee’s grandfather had disappeared and was sending suicidal text messages, police in Florida – guided by cell phone pings – found the missing man, George Anthony, at a Daytona Beach motel room Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Anthony, 57, was wearing a suit and tie, but appeared calm when authorities arrived. A suicide note was on the nightstand, but police found no weapons or medication.

“Mr. Anthony basically said to us, ‘You know, I just need to get away. I need to think things through.’ That’s why he was there,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood told reporters. “He just wanted to be alone.”

Chitwood said Anthony told police, “You don’t understand, do you? You just don’t understand what this is like.”

The body of Anthony’s granddaughter Caylee was found a few blocks from her home in December. She had been missing for two months before the family reported her absence last summer. George and his wife Cindy have steadfastly supported their jailed daughter Casey, a suspect in the notorious killing.

Anthony family attorney Brad Conway told Orlando television station WFTV that Anthony was “okay, thank God.” He said Anthony left home early Thursday morning, and that his family became concerned after he missed a scheduled meeting and began sending troubling text messages.

Anthony will be hospitalized for 72 hours under a Florida law that allows authorities to confine individuals for evaluation, Chitwood said, adding that he personally counseled Anthony to get professional help.