Detectives in Casey Anthony case missed Google search for suffocation


Casey Anthony (R) leaves with her attorney Jose Baez from the Booking and Release Center at the Orange County Jail after she was acquitted of murdering her daughter Caylee Anthony on July 17, 2011, in Orlando, Florida.



The Florida sheriff's office responsible for investigating the death of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony said Sunday that it missed a Google search for fool-proof suffocation methods made from a home computer the day she was last seen alive, reports AP.

Orange County sheriff’s Capt. Angelo Nieves told AP that the office’s computer investigator missed the June 16, 2008, Google search on a browser primarily used by Caylee's mother Casey Anthony.

Casey Anthony was acquitted of her daughter’s murder in 2011. The defense argued that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool and that Casey Anthony’s father helped her cover it up.

The child's body was found in a wooded area near the Anthony home six months after her disappearance.

Orlando-area TV station WKMG, which first reported the missed Google search as part of a lengthy investigation, said that Anthony's lawyers were surprised to find out that the prosecution did not know about the computer evidence.

"We were waiting for the state to bring it up," defense attorney Jose Baez told Local 6. "And when they didn't, we were kind of shocked. I really believed that (prosecutors) were going to sandbag us with it," said Baez.

According to WKMG, the computer evidence shows the following activity on the afternoon the day Caylee died:

  • At 2:49 p.m., after George Anthony said he had left for work and while Casey Anthony’s cell phone is pinging a tower nearest the home, the Anthony family's desktop computer is activated by someone using a password-protected account Casey Anthony used;
  • At 2:51 p.m., on a browser primarily Casey Anthony used, a Google search for the term "fool-proof suffocation," misspelling the last word as "suffication";
  • Five seconds later, the user clicks on an article that criticizes pro-suicide websites that include advice on "foolproof" ways to die. "Poison yourself and then follow it up with suffocation" by placing "a plastic bag over the head," the writer quotes others as advising;
  • At 2:52 p.m., the browser records activity on MySpace, a website Casey Anthony used frequently and George Anthony did not.

Reporters at the news station described the computer activity to Anthony's trial prosecutor Jeff Ashton. 

"It's just a shame we didn't have it. This certainly would have put the accidental death claim in serious question," Ashton said in response.

Sheriff's captain Nieves called the missed searches an "oversight", saying “This has been a learning experience for investigators as well.”