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Authors: Diane Fanning

Mommy's Little Girl

BOOK: Mommy's Little Girl
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Dear Reader:

 

The book you are about to read is the latest bestseller from the St. Martin's True Crime Library, the imprint
The New York Times
calls “the leader in true crime!” Each month, we offer you a fascinating account of the latest, most sensational crime that has captured the national attention. St. Martin's is the publisher of Tina Dirmann's
VANISHED AT SEA
, the story of a former child actor who posed as a yacht buyer in order to lure an older couple out to sea, then robbed them and threw them overboard to their deaths. John Glatt's riveting and horrifying
SECRETS IN THE CELLAR
shines a light on the man who shocked the world when it was revealed that he had kept his daughter locked in his hidden basement for 24 years. In the Edgar-nominated
WRITTEN IN BLOOD
, Diane Fanning looks at Michael Petersen, a Marine-turned-novelist found guilty of beating his wife to death and pushing her down the stairs of their home—only to reveal another similar death from his past. In the book you now hold,
MOMMY'S LITTLE GIRL
, Diane Fanning returns to chronicle the disappearance of little Caylee Anthony—a case that has riveted the nation.

 

St. Martin's True Crime Library gives you the stories behind the headlines. Our authors take you right to the scene of the crime and into the minds of the most notorious murderers to show you what really makes them tick. St. Martin's True Crime Library paperbacks are better than the most terrifying thriller, because it's all true! The next time you want a crackling good read, make sure it's got the St. Martin's True Crime Library logo on the spine—you'll be up all night!

Charles E. Spicer, Jr.

Executive Editor, St. Martin's True Crime Library

 

 

 

Other True Crime Accounts by

DIANE FANNING

 

A Poisoned Passion

 

The Pastor's Wife

 

Out There

 

Under the Knife

 

Baby Be Mine

 

Gone Forever

 

Through the Window

 

Into the Water

 

Written in Blood

 

Available from the True Crime Library of

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Mommy's
Little Girl

Casey Anthony and Her Daughter
Caylee's Tragic Fate

DIANE FANNING

St. Martin's Paperbacks

MOMMY'S LITTLE GIRL

 

Copyright © 2009 by Diane Fanning.

 

Cover photograph of Casey Anthony by Red Huber /
Orlando Sentinel
.
Background cover photograph by Thomas Northcut / Getty Images.

 

All rights reserved.

 

For information address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

 

EAN: 978-0-312-36514-1

 

Printed in the United States of America

 

St. Martin's Paperbacks edition / November 2009

 

St. Martin's Paperbacks are published by St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

 

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

 

 

To Caylee Marie Anthony

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I honestly don't know how Danielle Tavernier of the State Attorney's Office managed to keep up with all the media requests for this case. Not only were the number of queries extraordinary, but the volume of documents, video and audio recordings and photographs was staggering. Thank you, Danielle, for always being courteous, professional and prompt with your responses. You deserve a medal.

I truly appreciate Rick Cuza
1
, Jesse Grund, Richard Grund and Jackie Mattlin for sharing their personal experiences. And thanks to the many others who spoke with me but requested anonymity.

Thanks to Carlos Padilla and Fox 35's Shannon Butler for their helpfulness and to Dan Philips of Mission Investigations for his assistance.

I extend endless appreciation to Matt Phelps, Kathryn Casey and Sue Russell for their friendship and support as I worked on this book.

Thanks to Charlie Spicer for giving me this opportunity, to Yaniv Soha for his input and advice and to Jane Dystel, my guiding light.

And as always, I couldn't have done it without my own 24/7 cheerleader, Wayne Fanning—thanks for always being here.

 

_____

1
The last name of Cindy Anthony's birth family has been changed throughout the book to protect their privacy.

AUTHOR'S NOTE

This is a true story, though some names have been changed.

This book is based on a careful review of more than 6000 pages of transcripts of police interviews, police reports and other official documents, as well as audiotaped and videotaped conversations and interviews, and information gathered from on-site research and personal interviews. However, the author conducted no interviews with Casey, Cindy, George, or Lee Anthony.

THE DISCLOSURE

“Repetition does not transform
a lie into the truth.”

—Franklin Roosevelt

CHAPTER 1

George Anthony stopped by the post office to pick up a certified letter just before noon on July 15, 2008. White hair flowed straight back from his forehead, leaving a pronounced widow's peak. Still-dark eyebrows predominated his face, making his eyes appear sunken over his sharp nose.

Considering the way the mail was sent, and his recent financial problems, George thought it was bound to be bad news inside the envelope. He was right. It was a notification from Johnson's Wrecker service. It made no sense. According to the company, they had possession of his family Pontiac. His daughter Casey drove this car, and she was in Jacksonville. He didn't understand how the 1998 Pontiac Sunfire had ended up in an impound lot in Orlando.

He called his wife Cindy. She was equally puzzled by the situation. George headed to the Narcoossee Road address to ask questions and pick up the car. At the front counter, Nicole Lett surprised him when she said that Johnson's Wreckers had towed the Pontiac at the end of June at the request of Amscot, a payday loan company, on the corner of East Colonial Drive and North Goldenrod Road in Orlando. To retrieve the vehicle, he needed to show proof of ownership and pay $466.78 in cash for the towing and storage charges.

George called Cindy again. Then he called Amscot and asked why they'd ordered the car removed from their
lot. They told him the car had sat in the spot for three days before they'd called Johnson's Wreckers. They thought it had been abandoned.

Cindy and George met at home, picked up the title, stopped at the bank to withdraw $500 and, two hours after George's first visit, returned to the towing company.

The couple walked up to the counter and greeted Nicole. Cindy, in a cute, short blonde cut with youthful bangs, was in obvious ire. She demanded an explanation of the company's process for sending a certified letter, expressing her annoyance at the number of days that had passed before they received notification in the mail. “We thought the car was in Jacksonville. How were we supposed to know it was here?”

Nicole attempted to explain the situation, but Cindy wasn't listening. She launched instead into a long complaint about having to pay the high charges, particularly the $35 administrative fee for sending the certified letter. She also balked at paying all of the accumulated storage charges, blaming the company for the notification delay.

Nicole was used to dealing with disgruntled customers. No one was ever pleased to come to the lot to recover their car, and usually, they took it out on her. The difference with this couple was their surprise and confusion. They could not understand why the car was here instead of up north where their daughter said she'd driven it. They fretted vocally about not seeing her or their granddaughter for a month or more. Nicole had no answers to that question. She called her supervisor, Simon Burch, to address their other concerns.

When he approached the counter, Cindy asked, “Why is the bill so expensive? Why did it take eleven days to notify me that you had my car?”

“Per Florida statutes, on the fourth day, we're required by law to send out a certified letter to the registered owner of the vehicle. Our computer system automatically generates those letters,” he answered. He spread out a calendar and together they looked at the dates. “Four days after
your car arrived was the Fourth of July. Due to the holiday and the weekend that followed, that's probably why it took so long for the letter to get to you. We can't control the post office.”

“Okay,” Cindy said. “I understand, and I appreciate it.” She then turned to George and they exchanged terse comments. She obviously was still dissatisfied and a bit disgruntled that George was not taking a strong stand. She turned back to Simon and asked for a discount.

BOOK: Mommy's Little Girl
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