Video: Tests find decomposition

updated 10/24/2008 2:38:29 PM ET 2008-10-24T18:38:29

Air samples show there was evidence consistent with a decomposing body in the trunk of a Florida mother charged with killing her missing 3-year-old, according to a report released Friday.

Casey Anthony's daughter, Caylee, disappeared in June but has not been found. Casey Anthony, 22, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

Spokesmen for Anthony's parents and her lawyer said the report from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee doesn't provide anything new. A judge ordered prosecutors to release it and they declined comment.

Air testing is used to detect compounds that are released when a body decomposes, and the report found five compounds consistent with body decomposition in Anthony's trunk. Tests also found evidence of decomposition on a hair strand described as "microscopically similar" to one found on Caylee's hair brush.

Caylee has not been seen since June, but wasn't reported missing until a month later. The child's grandmother first called authorities in July to say she hadn't seen Caylee for a month and her daughter's car smelled like death.

Anthony told authorities she had left her daughter with a baby sitter in June and the two were gone when she returned from work. She says she spent the next month trying to find her daughter and didn't call authorities because she was scared. Investigators say they have poked several holes in her story.

Residue of chloroform, which can be used to render someone unconscious, was found on the spare tire cover and trunk liner, though a trace was also found in a control experiment on a similar trunk. No usable finger prints were found on a shovel in the trunk.

"I don't feel the report came out with anything different that what (prosecutors) have been saying already," said Larry Garrison, spokesman for Caylee's grandparents. He said the grandparents "believe Caylee Anthony is still alive and are actively pursuing tips on her whereabouts."

Todd Black, a spokesman for Anthony's attorney, Jose Baez, said nothing in the report links Casey Anthony to the death of her daughter.

Expert: Not good news for mom
Donald Jones, a University of Miami law professor who is not connected to the case, said the reports don't prove Caylee's body was in the trunk because they were only "consistent" with the presence of a decomposing body.

"If you're building a house, it's a brick, not a wall," Jones said. "It's a nail in her coffin, and that coffin already has a lot of nails."

Still, he said, the defense has a difficult battle and needs evidence that leads away from Casey Anthony as a suspect.

"Casey needs good news," he said. "This is not it."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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