Casey Anthony Trial: Cadaver Dog Alerted Cops to Dead Body in Trunk

06/07/2011 at 05:40 PM EDT

Casey Anthony Trial: Cadaver Dog Alerted Cops to Dead Body in Trunk
Casey Anthony
Joe Burbank/Landov
Several people have testified to the foul smell of decomposition in and near Casey Anthony's trunk after 2-year-old Caylee was reported missing in July 2008. In court Tuesday afternoon, jurors heard about a specially trained non-human's detection of the odor: a German Shepherd named Gerus.

Deputy Jason Forgey, a cadaver dog handler with the Orange County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit, testified that Gerus alerted officers that there had been a dead body in the trunk of Anthony's car.

"He's taught to detect human composition," Forgey testified, "specifically cadavers."

Forgey testified that he first got the call on July 17, 2008, to have Gerus smell Anthony's white Pontiac Sunfire, which was being kept at a police impound lot. As Forgey and Gerus went counterclockwise around the car for "the first pass," Gerus "started indicating," testified Forgey. "I opened the door and he tried to get into the trunk from the back seat."

Forgey and Gerus then went to the back of the vehicle. "Gerus stuck his head in the trunk," Forgey continued. "At that point, I was also overwhelmed by the smell. And then Gerus gave me a trained final alert." According to Forgey, Gerus indicates a "final alert" by sitting down and making eye contact with his handler.

Forgey then took Gerus to the Anthony family home to inspect the backyard. "He gave a trained final alert by the play area," says Forgey. "By the playhouse and sandbox."

As the prosecution showed a picture of the playhouse, Anthony had no reaction.

Under cross-examination, defense attorney Jose Baez asked Forgey why he didn't videotape the search. He also questioned whether Gerus had another agenda to make the alerts. "The dog wants to please you," said Baez. "That's his motivation."

"I suppose that's right," answered Forgey, as jurors took notes.

Baez also introduced evidence that Gerus did not indicate the presence of a body on the spot where Caylee Anthony's remains were found – in a wooded area near her grandparents' home.

For the first time of the day, Casey Anthony reacted to the testimony, nodding her head.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Chelsea Clinton is Pregnant!
  • Exclusive Royal Tour Diary

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters