Is missing Caylee's mom hiding information?

On Tuesday, July 29, a judge ruled against Casey Anthony’s motion that the Orange County Sheriff, charged with operating the local jail where Casey has been incarcerated since July 16, be precluded from releasing taped recordings of Casey talking to family and friends by means of a jail visitation telephone about her missing daughter, Caylee.

Casey’s father, a former sheriff’s deputy himself, testified that he and other family members were extracting information from Casey that assisted in the family’s personal investigation into the disappearance of the two-year-old. He further stated that the family provided information to investigators that they deemed appropriate to the missing person investigation. This family somehow believes that even after Casey’s alleged month-long personal investigation into the disappearance of her daughter, and after Casey told both family members and investigators lie after lie concerning the whereabouts of Caylee, that they should somehow have private conversations with Casey and share information with investigators. 

Casey has questioned why everyone is so concerned about her daughter and now her. She told authorities that she left her daughter with a babysitter/nanny, a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez who has helped care for Caylee for two years. The only problem is that when investigators found the woman named, she denied knowing her and her missing daughter. The apartment that Casey said Zenaida lived in, the one where she gave her daughter to Zenaida, had been vacant for over five months. We now know that neither Casey’s parents nor her friends, and, in reality, no one has come forward to say they know the Zenaida that allegedly baby sat for Casey these past two years.  Casey has indicated that she spoke to Caylee shortly before she was reported missing and had text-messaged Zenaida on many occasions.  The only problem: Casey’s cell phone is now missing.

Let’s put aside all of the lies allegedly told by Casey to investigators and the delusion that her parents seem to harbor about her innocence in the disappearance of their granddaughter.  Let’s also put aside Casey’s alleged statements that she couldn’t tell local investigators what she knew about Caylee’s disappearance as her viewing of television shows has convinced her that if you talk to police your loved ones will be in danger. Let’s just consider one aspect of this case: Zenaida Gonzalez.

Casey's phone calls are trackable
Even though Casey has conveniently lost or misplaced her cell phone, the one with contact information for Zenaida, consider the following:  Law enforcement can get copies of all of her cell phone calls, both those made by her and those she received, and may be able to account for Casey’s whereabouts because of the “pings” associated with the cell phone as Casey moved about the area, this from one cell phone tower to another. 

Tracing her calls and these pings may provide a map of her travels during the past fateful month, one at least potentially fateful for young Caylee. If neither Casey’s parents nor her friends know of Zenaida, where, we must ask, are the photographs of Caylee and Zenaida?  After all, after two years you would think some must exist. And if Zenaida was a paid babysitter, where are the financial records of her receipt of money from Casey for such services, checking accounts, credit cards, or at least ATM withdrawals by Casey even if she paid Zenaida in cash? And who is Juliet Lewis, someone allegedly alluded to by Casey as the person who initially introduced her to Zenaida? Even if Zenaida has gone underground, Juliet must be around somewhere.

Does Casey just want attention?
When you consider the false statements credited to Casey and the level of attention she appears to demand in contrast to demanding any and all help to find her missing daughter, you must consider her the prime suspect in the disappearance of Caylee.  While Casey’s parents continue to tell the world at the drop of a hat that Casey is a wonderful mother, it was also the same “wonderful woman” they reported as having committed financial and auto theft, and the same woman whose friends have allegedly referred to her as a chronic liar.  And finally, why do the grandparents continue to accept, at least publically, the stack of lies that Casey has apparently sold to them?

Now we are told that Casey wants to talk to the FBI about her missing daughter. It is logical to assume that any FBI agent interviewing Casey will ask basically the same questions as local investigators have asked of her, and that these agents will immediately turn the results of their interview over to local investigators as soon as they exit the interview room. The primary question, of course, continues to be the whereabouts of Caylee and what role, if any, did Casey or others have in her disappearance? 

We know that in recorded jailhouse telephone conversations, ones where there are large signs next to the phone that you have no right to privacy when you use this phone and that your conversation is being recorded, that Casey and her family seem to play word games while the underlying emotion conveyed by Casey appears to be that of someone who may well know the whereabouts and fate of young Caylee, therefore relieving her the emotion reaction that most would expect from someone in her position.

I can’t imagine why a mother of a missing child would not do anything she could to help find her child, and a month-long personal investigation by Casey just doesn’t count at this point.  Was Caylee kidnapped by her babysitter, someone that has hidden her trail so well that investigators can’t even suggest that she ever lived, or did Caylee have some type of accident, perhaps because of neglect of her primary caretaker?  We just don’t know, but if there’s any chance whatsoever that Caylee is still alive, her safety can only be assured by Casey and her family finally becoming totally honest with investigators, and, after this extended period of time, many question their ability to tell the truth.

Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI agent, behavioral profiler and hostage negotiator as well as an MSNBC analyst. His Web site, , provides readers with security-related information.