The Caylee Anthony Murder Case the New Evidence
updated 03/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 03/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Whether or not she ever gets to see Caylee's resting spot depends on the proof Florida officials have of her guilt—and on Feb. 18 they released more than 400 pages of potentially devastating evidence. New photos and details emerged concerning key pieces of evidence collected in the woods where Caylee's body was found Dec. 11 and at Casey Anthony's home. The most significant is duct tape seized from the house—it's the same brand found over Caylee's mouth. Prosecutors believe this is damning evidence, but Marti Mackenzie, spokeswoman for Casey's defense team, says the brand of tape is "the most widely sold in the U.S.," and thus does not definitively link Casey to the crime scene.
What's more, the bombshell many expected to find in the new evidence—a set of fingerprints on the duct tape—was not there, and, contrary to reports, may not exist. "There's no smoking gun in the new evidence, but the job of the defense is getting harder and harder," says legal professor and criminal justice expert Dr. Ken Adams. Still, he adds, "Up to this point there is nothing directly linking Casey to the crime. It's all circumstantial."
Officials revealed other crime scene finds: a heart-shaped sticker on a piece of cardboard, similar to stickers found in Casey's home, and a faded Winnie the Pooh blanket (her grandmother Cindy told police that Caylee's Pooh blanket was missing). Casey's defense is arguing that the prosecution's forensic analysis of all the new evidence "is junk science, a lot of which has been disproved," says Mackenzie. "No fingerprints on this tape. That's important to know."
Police also shared an interview with a friend who said Casey considered herself a bad mother and had been feeling "crazy" in the months before Caylee disappeared. Investigator Yuri Melich, an Orange County sheriff's detective, said in a police report released with the evidence, "There is nothing to suggest that anyone but Casey Anthony is responsible for the death and disposal of Caylee."
But is it all enough to convict her when she goes on trial later this year? Prosecutors believe the evidence tells a story that will be hard to contradict. "It's exactly like a puzzle; you take every piece, fit them together and figure out what happened," says Orange County deputy sheriff Carlos Padilla, a spokesman for the department. "We're confident we have the right person in custody."