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Caylee's mom named in murder indictment

  • Story Highlights
  • Mother arrested in traffic stop after swapping cars on highway
  • Casey Anthony faces seven-count indictment that includes capital murder charge
  • Grand jury heard from police, dog handler, FBI agent, missing child's grandfather
  • Caylee Anthony reported missing in July, about a month after last known sighting
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From Natisha Lance
Nancy Grace Producer
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ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- The mother of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony appeared briefly in court on Wedesday to answer an indictment charging her with the 3-year-old's murder.

Casey Anthony is expected to enter a plea to the seven-count indictment at an arraignment to be set within the next 30 days.

Anthony, 22, was arrested Tuesday in a traffic stop after officers observed her switch cars on a highway and pulled her over, an Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman said.

She had promised to surrender if indicted. Late on Tuesday afternoon, a grand jury returned the indictment charging her with seven counts, including capital murder, in the toddler's disappearance.

"She's not running from this," attorney Jose Baez said Tuesday as his client wiped tears from her eyes during an impromptu media briefing before the charges against her were announced. "She's doing her best to stand strong, to stand up to the powers that are working against her. And they threw the kitchen sink at her a long time ago."

After the indictment, undercover officers followed Anthony as she traveled in her mother's SUV. The officers saw the SUV stop under a highway overpass, at which point Anthony got into another vehicle and drove off. Officers made the traffic stop after she entered the second vehicle, the spokesman said.

Prosecutors are asking Anthony be held without bond.

Anthony is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to police. Video Watch Nancy Grace: Did mom try to flee arrest? »

Lawson Lamar, the state attorney for Orange County, Florida, said the first count is a capital charge -- which could carry a penalty of life in prison or death.

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The 19 grand jurors -- 10 women and nine men -- deliberated for about half an hour after hearing from police, a cadaver dog handler, an FBI agent and the missing child's grandfather.

Authorities were quick to remind the public that, despite the indictment, Caylee's whereabouts remain a mystery.

"Despite the charges against Ms. Anthony we have not achieved our objective," he said. "We have not found little Caylee Anthony."

Before her arrest, Anthony's lawyer continued to maintain her innocence.

"She has been living a nightmare," the attorney added. "She has a missing child. She's also a child." Video Watch Anthony's lawyer address the media »

Earlier in the day, Casey Anthony's father -- Caylee's grandfather -- testified before the grand jury. The panel was convened to look into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the child's disappearance.

George Anthony was prepared to do the "unthinkable" -- testify against his own daughter, lawyer Mark Nejame told a clutch of reporters gathered on the courthouse steps Tuesday morning.

Struggling with his emotions, George Anthony clutched a "find Caylee" binder in his folded arms.

"This is going to be very hard for me to do. The focus has always been on my granddaughter and always will be. I love my daughter, I love my wife, I love my son," Anthony said.

He asked for the public to keep his family, especially Caylee, in their prayers. "If someone could take a moment out at 11 o'clock this morning and 11 o'clock tonight and just pray for her. That's all I'm asking for. That's all I can say."

Anthony and his lawyer left the courthouse about an hour later without commenting.

Caylee Anthony disappeared in mid-June, but Casey Anthony waited about a month before telling her family the child was gone. Cindy Anthony -- Caylee's grandmother -- called the Orange County sheriff July 15 after her daughter wouldn't tell her where Caylee was. Video Watch the latest twist: a child's dress is found »

Casey's brother, Lee Anthony, also pleaded with his sister to tell him where Caylee was. According to police documents, she replied that she hadn't seen Caylee in "31 days."

Investigators say that since that first 911 call, evidence has mounted that leads police to believe that Caylee is dead. They first labeled Casey Anthony a person of interest, and later, a suspect.

The story of Anthony and her missing daughter garnered national headlines, provided nightly fodder for cable TV crime shows and brought a stampede of reporters to stake out the home of Anthony's parents. See a timeline of key events »

Tempers have flared and fists have flown outside the house tucked away in a subdivision in Orlando, Florida. One protester had George Anthony arrested, alleging that he had pushed her.

Police and prosecutors have said little, instead letting hundreds of pages of documents and investigative reports do the talking for them.

Casey Anthony behaved like a carefree party girl, going to nightclubs, entering "hot-body" contests and incessantly sending text messages to her friends while her daughter was missing, according to cell phone and text transcripts and investigative reports released by police.

Copies of her phone and text records obtained by police and released to the public show she hardly ever mentioned her missing daughter during the time just before and after the child was reported missing. The young mother referred to Caylee as "the little snot head" in May, about a month before the child disappeared.

Anthony gave conflicting statements during the investigation and provided police with information that later was disproved. For example, she said she had dropped the child off with a baby sitter. Yet when police checked out her story, they learned that the address that Anthony supplied belonged to an apartment that had been vacant for weeks. The woman Anthony named as the baby sitter said she did not know Anthony.

As Anthony was arrested on child neglect charges, bonded out of jail, was rearrested on bad check and theft charges and bonded out again, investigators disclosed some of the forensic evidence they uncovered.

Cadaver dogs picked up the scent of death in the trunk of a car Anthony drove and in her parents' backyard. A neighbor told police Anthony had asked to borrow a shovel.


Authorities said that in the car Anthony drove, they found traces of chloroform, which can cause loss of consciousness. And they said that on her computer, they found Internet searches of missing children and chloroform Web sites.

Investigators said air quality tests conducted by the FBI found evidence of human decomposition in the trunk of Anthony's car. Law enforcement sources also suggested that a strand of hair found in the trunk of the car was probably Caylee's.

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