Mommy's Little Girl: Casey Anthony and Her Daughter Caylee's Tragic Fate

Mommy's Little Girl: Casey Anthony and Her Daughter Caylee's Tragic Fate

by Diane Fanning

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When news broke of three-year-old Caylee Anthony's disappearance from her home in Florida in July 2008, there was a huge outpouring of sympathy across the nation. The search for Caylee made front-page headlines. But there was one huge question mark hanging over the case: the girl's mother.

As the investigation continued and suspicions mounted, Casey became the prime suspect. In October, based on new evidence against Casey—her erratic behavior and lies, her car that showed signs of human decomposition—a grand jury indicted the young single mother. Then, two months later, police found Caylee's remains a quarter of a mile away from the Anthony home. Casey pled not guilty to charges of murder in the first degree, and she continues to protest her innocence. Did she or didn't she kill Caylee? This is the story of one of the most shocking, confusing, and horrific crimes in modern American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312365141
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/03/2009
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 337
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Diane Fanning is the author of the Edgar Award finalist Written in Blood: A True Story of Murder and a Deadly 16-Year-Old Secret That Tore a Family Apart. Her other works of true crime include the best-selling A Poisoned Passion, The Pastor's Wife, Gone Forever and Through the Window. She has been featured on 48 Hours, 20/20, Court TV and the Discovery Channel, and has been interviewed on dozens of radio stations coast to coast. Before becoming a nonfiction writer, Fanning worked in advertising, and she earned more than 70 Addy Awards. She lives in New Braunfels, Texas.

Read an Excerpt


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 Sunfi re 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 own ership 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 certifi ed letter. She also balked at paying all of the accumulated storage charges, blaming the company for the notifi cation 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 own er 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 offi ce.”

“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.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I’m not at liberty to do that. You know, unfortunately, this is a business. It’s not a particularly pleasant job sometimes, but it is a business, you know, that’s in business to make money, and we don’t give discounts.”

Unhappy, but seeing no other alternative, Cindy agreed to pay. Nicole filled out the paperwork, got verifi cation of own ership on line, accepted payment and issued a receipt. Simon asked, “Do you have the keys?”

George said he did.

“Okay, no problem, then. I’ll come around and get you.”

As Simon and George walked to the vehicle in the pouring rain, George apologized for his wife’s aggressive manner. “We’ll probably get divorced over this. The daughter is telling us crap, a bunch of lies.”

“I’m sorry about your situation,” Simon sympathized.

“I just need to see my granddaughter. You know, she won’t let us see our granddaughter,” George complained.

“I’m sorry about your situation, sir. You know, I’m sorry your car got impounded, but this is what it is,” Simon said.

When they got within three feet of the white Pontiac, George smelled a distinctive unpleasant odor. He’d once worked in law enforcement. He knew that smell, and it filled him with dread. He thought of his daughter and granddaughter. Please don’t let this be what I think it is. He walked around to the driver’s side and inserted the key. He noticed his granddaughter’s car seat in the back and pulled open the door.

“Whoa, does that stink!” Simon exclaimed. The stench reminded him of another car that had been impounded recently. Before they towed it, the vehicle had sat for fi ve days—with the body of a man who’d committed suicide inside.

George sat down in the driver’s seat and reached over to the other side, opening the passenger’s door to ventilate the car. As he breathed in the odor, his horror increased. He turned the key in the ignition to start it, but then he paused. No, George, he told himself. If there’s something wrong, you got to find out now. You can’t take it away.

“Will you please walk around to the back of the car and look inside this with me?” George asked. Please don’t let this be my Caylee.

“Well, here, let me. Give me the keys and we’ll open the trunk up. There’s something like garbage in here.”

“Yeah,” was all George could find to reply.

When the trunk opened, flies buzzed out, and both men rocked back on their heels from the pungent odor. “Puff!” George exclaimed. “That’s rotten!”

Simon knew with certainty that rotting garbage did not smell like that, but he kept those thoughts to himself.

The men saw an imperfectly round, basketball- sized stain in the middle of the trunk. To the left, by the taillight, was a trash bag. “Let’s just make sure there is garbage in here,” Simon said. He pulled the bag toward the edge of the trunk, surprised by its light weight. Unfastening the tie, he spread open the top. They both peered down at papers, dryer lint, Arm & Hammer laundry detergent, a pizza box and other assorted trash.

“Well, here, I’ll take care of this. I’ll get rid of it for you,” Simon said. He walked toward the front of the car, where a Dumpster sat on the other side of the fence. He heaved the bag over. While Simon disposed of the trash, George stepped into a corner, hunched over and heaved up his most recent meal.

George pulled himself together, slid into the front seat and tried to start the car again, but he couldn’t get the engine to turn over. Simon looked over George’s shoulder at the control panel and saw that the gas gauge pointed to empty. “Oh, it’s out of gas,” he said.

“Okay,” George said. “Well, I brought gas with me.”

Together they walked back to George’s car. George reiterated his complaints about his daughter’s lies along the way. He pulled a small, round, battered metal gas can with chipped paint out of the trunk. On the way back to the Pontiac, George apologized again for his wife’s attitude.

“I totally understand, dude,” Simon said. “We get it all the time. It’s no big deal.”

With a gallon of gas in its tank, the car started right up. George drove it out of the fenced lot to the front of the business, where he got out and approached Simon again. George offered his hand and said, “Thank you. I’m sorry.”

Simon shook his hand and said, “Yeah, no problem. No problem. Have a good day now.” He turned away and went inside as George approached Cindy’s car.

“This car stinks so bad,” he told his wife, “I don’t know how I can drive it home.”

He wanted to roll the windows all the way down, but the rainfall made that impossible. With the windows cracked less than an inch, he could not get enough fresh air, and gagged all the way home. He pulled the Pontiac into the garage.

Cindy walked in and came to an abrupt stop. “Jesus Christ!” she shouted. “What died?”

Excerpted from Mommy’s Little Girl by Diane Fanning.

Copyright © 2009 by Diane Fanning.

Published in November 2009 by St. Martin’s Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and

reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in

any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Mommy's Little Girl 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 222 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you havent read the book then perhaps you shouldnt participate in writing a review of the book. And to all of you who said "im not giving a penny to casey anthony" and " oh how horrible to allow someone to profit off murdering their child" you can rest assured that the Anthony family did not profit from this book. They did not own the rights to this story, and if you would have read the book you would know that the author did not have Cindy, George , Lee , or Casey participate in the book. Google it and see for yourselves, it may help you save face in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horrible writing from such a fantastic writer. In her haste to be "the first" to publish a book about this atrocious crime, she deliberately bombed her usual writing ability. Thumbs down. I would not recommened this book to anyone. It's sloppy and she frequently mixes up Caylee and Casey numerous times. Horrible writing. Shame on you, Ms. Fanning, to publish this garbage.
CCinME More than 1 year ago
Finally, an account of all the behind-the-scenes goings on and historical background of this family. When you look backward, you can see where these people come from - they are made, not born. Classic account of jealousy, narcissism, overboard control issues and a total lack of someone to stand up for this child - in a word - DYSFUNCTION! The author did an amazing job of remaining neutral. What has doomed this family has come from their own mouths. The true shame is that a precious child was lost in the drama and yet these people continue to feed their own ego needs. Shame, Shame, Shame!
Harrison Parrish More than 1 year ago
This was a good book, after i started reading it i could't put it down. I will say this after all the evidence they had against casey and everything they had tieing her to the murder of her daughter i dont see how yhe prosecutors let her walk free. This is extremely sad. But its not our place to judge and her ultimate fate will come when she stands before god.
Catherine_Alexis More than 1 year ago
I've been following the case and found this book over the weekend on my nook. It had me hooked! I couldn't put the book down. It answered a few questions I had while watching the trial. A lot of the sections are verbatim from what was heard during the trial. The author did a great job of painting this monster without any bias. Kudos!
RachelPyne More than 1 year ago
"Mommy's Little Girl" is a biography written by Diane Fanning. It's about a single woman, named Casey Anthony, who has a child out of wedlock. Casey's two year old daughter goes missing in June but Casey does not report her missing child until late July. Casey claimed her daughter was kidnapped, but Casey is known to be a habitual liar. Later investigators find the childs body only two miles from her house. All the clues lead to Casey being guilty of the death of her daughter. This book teaches the message of selfishness leading to extreme actions and misery. Casey's selfishness led to the murder of her daughter, Caylee. Her parents' selfishness has kept them from wanting to believe what they originally thought; their daughter, Casey, is a murderer. It is interesting that all the facts have been laid out with the research put in print particularly since Casey's fate has not been decided. I liked how the author explained Casey's life before and after Caylee's death and during the investigation and initial court appearances. You get an idea of the kind of person Casey is. I was disappointed that the book was written without the trial being complete because I still am unsure if Casey will be held accountable for the murder of her daughter. (The case opens back up in June 2010.) I recommend this book if you are interested in criminal minds and "enablers" who allow people to get away with hanis crimes. If this were based on a five star rating system I would give this book four stars. The fifth star would have been given if the trial was complete and I knew the results.
KLA44 More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a very accurate account, from everything I've seen televised from the courtroom. There is no doubt in my mind that Casey Anthony premeditated and intentionally murdered her daughter. The author gives an accurate account using documented interviews and news stories. As I type this, we are on the eve before the closing arguments in the trial. I hope the jury gives a swift and much deserved guilty verdict to 1st degree murder. Casey Anthony is a sociopath, cunning liar who has not a single shred of remorse. The author did an excellent job is relaying the truth. I highly recommend this book. By the way. Being a young grandmother to a toddler girl myself, I am appalled at how Cynthia Anthony handled this situation. With total disregard to her murdered innocent beautiful granddaughter! I hope and pray that the court will be the voice for the voiceless! RIP little Caylee!
pinkhammer More than 1 year ago
While watching the trial I had a million questions come to mind,like how do you not report a child missing? Where were her parents during this interval? There is so much detail about what I call "who what when where why" but most of the questions were answered by reading this book. It is very good, informative and has a timeline plus information about the family dynamics. I found all the information to be quite accurate since I have seen the characters in the book on TV and have heard references to incidences that she described so I know it is factual. I really could not put the book down and am so glad that I purchased it because it was what was lacking in the understanding of this bizarre case. Loved the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That baby deserved a good life
historysmith-com More than 1 year ago
MOMMY'S LITTLE GIRL reads like a novel built on excellent organization & story development. Unfortunately, it is not fiction. The victim & protagonist, Caylee Anthony was a real child and Casey Anthony, the antagonist you love to hate was her mother. Diane Fanning exhibited an uncanny ability to make the reader feel he/she experienced the unfolding of this story. It's amazing how we can relate to these characters, good & bad. Certainly it's not over yet but time and the courts will write the final chapter. The research and organization that went into MOMMY'S LITTLE GIRL shows a mastery of the craft as does the ability to create a sense of the flow of this story that unfolded in starts, jerks, detours and stops. It would have been easy to just lay out the facts & say, "Here it is!" but in fact, that is left for the reader. Even the well-written afterword leaves room for the reader to draw conclusions. I strongly recommend this book for anyone trying to delve into the details of this or any true crime case. It's definitely a step above.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although sad it was wrote respectable to caylee
Kolabear More than 1 year ago
I have tried to follow this case completely. I really enjoyed the book,and will read other books by Diane Fanning.You find out how cold of a person that Casey Anthony was. Her daughter meant nothing to her.
WRWFL More than 1 year ago
Please do not spend good money on Casey Anthoney. She deserves nothing for the DEATH of HER LITTLE GIRL. WRW
JMiles24 More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was very informative and organized. Very interesting!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book gave probably about as much insight as the media. It was a good read though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this the moment it came out ~ I think if not the 1st book on Casey Anthony ... it was one of the 1st - A VERY QUICK & INFORMATIVE read ... Author really did her homework ... IF you followed the trial and "so-called-verdict" you'll really want to read this one.
Vivian Perez More than 1 year ago
Casey Anthony is a monster and the biggest b***h I've ever heard of.I cannot believe that those jurors set her free. I cannot see how a young woman as herself can murder her only daughter and then lie about, acting as if she is the victim. This book just answered all my qiestions and made it clear that Casey Anthony is a MONSTER!!!!!!!!!!!!! There should be Justice for Caylee Anthony!!!!!!!
Diana Beideman More than 1 year ago
I wish the court had solid evidence on Casey. The book is quite telling. Caylee was not kidnapped,and what a liar Casey is. I hope proceeds from this book do not benefit her. I am sure they dont.
teegregory More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I couldn't put it down. As an avid reader of true crime novels this has become one of my favorites. Also as a missing persons investigator it shows how a lot of what happened is never told to the general public. So koodles for Diane. Good Book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been following the case since July 2008. Miss Fanning did an excellent job organizing and presenting the information in Mommy's Little Girl.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like books that unfold in sequence of events and this book was brilliantly ordered..... I thoroughly enjoyed the read...... which is detailed but does not include the trial or anything from that point forward.... now if only the author would write part2..... all the comments about not contributing to Casey come from someone (a very odd someone) who doesnt read true crime.... or have a interest in the field, as any money from the sale of this or other crime books goes to the author ...... this is not a AUTObiography.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's sad how this author got treated as alittle girl. Its a true story written by the victum of her own mother. Im glad she didnt die from her mother's abuse. A good book, but sad story...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As horrible as this whole thing was, I really enjoyed this book (coming from a true crime fan). Gives you a lot of pre-trial info. The lies are unreal. Great book--worth the $7
Pamela Blanco More than 1 year ago
An incredible timeline. An intricate look of betrayal, a dysfunctional family, and a completely detailed insight into the investigation of Caylee Anthony. I couldnt put this book down. An inside look from everyones perspective.