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Casey Anthony trial ends early as judge says she's ill

By Ashley Hayes, CNN
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Casey Anthony cries as photos are shown
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Anthony receiving medical attention in jail
  • The judge did not give details of Anthony's illness
  • She cried earlier Thursday as photos of her daughter's remains were shown
  • She is accused of killing her daughter Caylee, 2, in 2008

Tune in to HLN's "Nancy Grace" at 8 ET for live reports from Orlando, Florida on the Casey Anthony trial. And follow the action on Nancy's special Casey Anthony trial page.

(CNN) -- The Casey Anthony murder trial ended an hour and a half early Thursday, with Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. telling members of the media in the courtroom that Anthony was ill.

Jurors were not told why the trial ended early Thursday, and Perry asked them not to speculate. He said court would be in recess until Friday.

After the jurors left, Perry spoke to members of the media in the courtroom, saying that Anthony was ill and that neither the prosecution nor the defense had any comment on the matter. The judge asked reporters not to question either side about it. The details of Anthony's illness were not given.

During a short break before the announcement, Anthony drank a bottle of water quietly as attorneys spoke together and went back to Perry's chambers, according to In Session's Michael Christian. She was escorted out of the courtroom during the break, then brought back in, but lay her head down on her arms at the defense table. She did not stand as the jurors left the courtroom.

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In a statement released Thursday evening, Orange County Jail spokesman, Allen Moore said Anthony had been returned to jail and was receiving medical attention from the facility's health services provider.

"No information can be released regarding her treatment or medical condition due to HIPPA and Florida Medical and Mental Health Confidentiality Laws," Moore said.

For security reasons, Moore also declined to state whether Anthony would return to court Friday.

"Orange County Corrections will never reveal the transport of any inmate in our custody due to the security risks posed by such knowledge being made public," Moore said.

Earlier Thursday, testimony centered on the recovery of the skeletal remains of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, from a wooded area in December 2008. Anthony cried as photographs of the remains were displayed in the Orlando courtroom and avoided looking at the screen where they were displayed.

Anthony, 25, faces seven counts in Caylee's death, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading investigators. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.

The toddler's family last saw her on June 16, 2008, but no one alerted police until July 15, when the girl's maternal grandmother tracked down Casey Anthony and demanded answers.

Prosecutors allege Casey Anthony used chloroform on her daughter and suffocated her by putting duct tape over the little girl's mouth and nose. They allege she put her daughter's body in her car trunk before disposing of it. Caylee's skeletal remains were found on December 11, 2008, less than a mile from the home of Casey Anthony's parents.

Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty and denied having anything to do with her daughter's death. Defense attorney Jose Baez has said that when all the facts are known, it will become clear his client is innocent.

As the photographs were displayed Thursday, jurors heard testimony from Orange County Sheriff's Office crime scene technician Jennifer Welch, along with Steve Hanson, chief investigator for the medical examiner's office, and Gary Utz, Orange County chief deputy

Welch detailed items found with the little girl's remains, including a black plastic bag, an off-white canvas bag, a red plastic Disney bag, a pair of shorts, a blanket and "clothing remnants." Duct tape could be seen on the facial region of the skull, she testified.

Anthony's parents, George and Cindy Anthony, were not in the courtroom while the photos were shown Thursday.

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Jurors also heard a recording of a 911 call in which a utility worker reported that meter reader Roy Kronk claimed to have found a skull at the site where the remains were found.

Questioned by Baez, Welch agreed that it was paramount that a crime scene or remains not be tampered with, saying it could affect an investigation.

Numerous photographs were introduced into evidence of the skull, along with the duct tape on it and other items found at the scene, such as the canvas laundry bag.

Utz testified the skull had its jawbone, or mandible, still attached, which was relatively rare given the stage of decomposition. The duct tape, he testified, was helping keep the jawbone attached, along with hair on the skull.

Thursday morning, jurors heard testimony from Casey Anthony's brother, who testified that his sister -- out of jail on bail the month after Caylee was reported missing -- told him an alternate version of how the little girl was kidnapped by her nanny.

He said his sister told him in August 2008 that she had met the nanny, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, at an Orlando park along with Gonzalez's sister. Casey Anthony told him that Gonzalez held her down and told her that she was taking Caylee from her because she wasn't a good mother, "to teach her a lesson," Lee Anthony said.

Gonzalez also warned her not to go to the police, according to Casey Anthony's account.

Lee Anthony recalled his sister saying, "she couldn't believe it was happening, and it felt kind of surreal to her," he testified. She said she did nothing to stop her child from being taken, he recounted, because "she was scared and she didn't know what to do."

His sister told him that, from time to time, Gonzalez would contact her through Casey Anthony's MySpace page and direct her as to what to do and where to go. She went to the locations, she said, in hopes of seeing or retrieving her daughter but was never successful in finding her.

Casey Anthony's account, as related by Lee Anthony, differed markedly from the one she gave authorities after Caylee was reported missing. She maintained to police she dropped the child off at the nanny's apartment that morning and never saw her again.

Authorities were never able to find the nanny. They did find a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez, who denied ever meeting Casey Anthony or Caylee and later sued for defamation.

"Zanny never materialized?" Baez asked Lee Anthony Thursday. "To this day, no," he replied.

Lee Anthony also testified Thursday that he was the one searching the Internet on the Anthony family computer July 15 and 16, 2008. A computer examiner testified Wednesday that no searches for Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez were found on the computer until July 16 -- dealing a potential blow to Casey Anthony's claims to authorities that she was frantically searching for her daughter in the month before her disappearance was reported.

Computer experts testified Wednesday that in March, someone using the desktop computer, located in the home Casey Anthony shared with her parents, searched for terms including "chloroform," "inhalation," "how to make chloroform" and "head injury."

The searches were found in a portion of the computer's hard drive that indicated they had been deleted, Detective Sandra Osborne of the Orange County Sheriff's Office testified Wednesday.

However, she told jurors, deleted material remains on a computer's hard drive and can be retrieved until it is overwritten by new data. It had not been overwritten on the Anthonys' computer, she said, and "a complete Internet history" was obtained.

It appears the computer user first searched for "chloraform" on Google and received results for "chloroform," said John Bradley, owner of the software development company that created the software used to retrieve the data. One of the search results was from Wikipedia.org, which was accessed, he testified.

On the other terms, he said the user either typed those terms in to search, or in some instances may have clicked on hyperlinks on the Wikipedia site.

Bradley agreed with Baez's assertion that the links do not tell jurors what was on the websites accessed, and that some sites could have been jokes or information on self-defense. He also agreed he could not say how closely the user was examining the websites or whether a user was looking at multiple browsers.

There were two user-created profiles on the computer, but Osborne told Baez she could not tell who performed the searches.

Despite her assertions, prosecutors allege Casey Anthony was not looking for her missing daughter during the month before police were notified of her disappearance. Anthony's former boyfriend, friends and acquaintances who saw her during that time recalled her shopping, eating out, going to parties and hitting nightclubs, but all of them testified she never mentioned her missing daughter and none of them noticed any change in her demeanor.

Her mother testified that Anthony had moved out of her parents' home about the time Caylee went missing, offering little in the way of explanation, and that when she inquired after Caylee, she was told Caylee was with her nanny, Gonzalez.

Earlier in the week, jurors heard testimony regarding a foul odor emanating from Casey Anthony's trunk. A scientist testified that compounds associated with human decomposition were found there, and a cadaver dog handler testified that his dog "alerted" to the trunk.

In Session's Michael Christian contributed to this report.

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