Casey Anthony makes bombshell claims about daughter’s death in new Peacock docuseries
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It's been more than a decade since Casey Anthony's name made headlines across the country. Now she's finally speaking on camera in her first interview since she was acquitted of murder, manslaughter and child molestation charges following the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in 2011.
Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies, a three-part limited docuseries, premiered November 29 on Peacock. Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.
On the series, Anthony maintains some of the same claims her legal team made in her defense all those years ago — including that she was sexually abused by her father, George Anthony, and that he lied to cover up Caylee's death. George Anthony has previously denied both of these claims in court.
Caylee was last seen on June 16, 2008, investigators said. Cindy Anthony, Caylee's grandmother, reported the child missing on July 15, 2008 — 31 days later. The next day, police arrested Casey Anthony for child neglect. At the time, she told investigators that the toddler had been taken away by a babysitter.
Six months later, Caylee's skeletal remains were found less than a mile from her grandparents' Orlando home.
In her bombshell interview with showrunner and director Alexandra Dean, Casey Anthony makes several other revelations.
She lied to investigators
Anthony was eventually convicted of four counts of lying to investigators investigating her child's disappearance in 2008.
She falsely told investigators that her daughter disappeared with a babysitter she later said didn't exist, and that she was working at Universal Studios in Orlando when she didn't.
"That was the right verdict. I lied to law enforcement, I admitted I lied to law enforcement, so I'm a convicted liar. It's the truth," she said on the new series.
In a bid to explain why she lied, Anthony said it was because she was abused as a child and still followed her father's instructions - even after seeing her daughter's limp body.
"I lied to everyone because that was my whole life up to this point," she said on the show. “Pretending everything is okay, but knowing that nothing is okay. I've had years of therapy and I'm trying to analyze my own behavior and explain my own behavior, all of which is a reaction to trauma."
Casey Anthony in a black t-shirt looks slightly away from the camera in front of an iPad. She gestures with her left hand, palm up. (Peacock / NBC Universal)
"I drove myself crazy. And gave law enforcement absolutely no reason to believe or trust anything I said," she continued.
"I understand why it all looks like this from the outside..." she trailed off. “Because even to me it still feels that way. As far as I'm concerned, there is no justification for my actions or behavior other than to say I did what I was conditioned to do.”
She claims to have been abused by her father
In the documentary, Anthony reiterated her previous allegations that her father abused her between the ages of 8 and 12, which her father denied.
"When I was 8 years old, my father came into my room at night," she said. "I was physically hurt, scared because I was physically hurt, and I can't tell Mommy what happened (or) she'll get mad at me. I was told that.”
George Anthony declined to be interviewed for the Peacock series. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment from TODAY.com.
She claims Caylee was raped when she was 18
In the documentary, Anthony said her family also asked her to hide the fact that she was pregnant at the age of 18.
She said she was raped at a house party after being drugged.
"[I] had a few beers and completely lost my memory because I was on drugs," she said. "I woke up with my top, my jeans with my underwear on the floor, and my bra still under my shirt but over my boobs."
She added she was "lethargic" and "extremely disoriented" from the drugs and "might feel like she was having forced sex."
She said she initially claimed the baby was her ex-boyfriend's, but he eventually took a paternity test and found he wasn't the father.
"I lied to everyone," she said. "That's what I'm saying, it's so fucked up, it's just years of feeling like I need to live a certain life or show people I've lived a certain life because I didn't want people to feel sorry for me and I didn't want to my child growing up thinking they were the product of something so bad and I didn't want them to."
How she remembers that fateful morning: 'It's not much'
Anthony opened up about the morning her daughter probably died for the cameras. She said she woke up that morning to make her daughter breakfast but "didn't feel great." She went back into bed, turned on the TV and Caylee got into bed with her.
"I've been a light sleeper my entire life," she said in the documentary. "Because I'm used to someone answering the door while I'm sleeping. I'm used to being alert, especially with my child next to me. It's one of the reasons she slept in bed with me so often."
She said she knew her father was home, but she fell asleep and "slept for a while."
The next thing she remembers, she said, is her father shaking her and asking where Caylee was. She said it made "no sense" to her because she thought her toddler was in bed next to her.
Anthony added that her daughter "would never leave my room without telling me, even if she needed to use the bathroom."
"She knew she wasn't allowed to be alone in the house," she said.
Anthony said she started looking for her daughter around the house and then in the yard. When she returned from searching outside the house, she said her father "was standing with her."
"She's soaking wet," she said through tears. "I can see him standing there with her in his arms and handing her to me and telling me it's my fault. That I did. For causing this.”
She said she "collapsed" with Caylee's body in her arms, which felt "heavy" and "cold."
Rather than calling 911 or trying to resuscitate Caylee, Anthony said her father took Caylee and told her it was "fine."
"I don't know how long I sat outside, I don't know where he went, he took them from me and walked away," she said. "I don't know where he went and I don't know what he did."
A closeup of Anthony's face, she looks emotional but not crying, her lips are pursed. Her long brown hair is straight and falls over her shoulders, framing her face. (peacock / peacock)
Why she didn't call 911
Anthony said she understands people will be asking why she didn't call 911 or wait to tell her mother.
"I know people are going to ask why I didn't call, why didn't I call 911, why even I waited to tell my mom something, but I didn't tell her, why lie?" she said. "To know that I didn't protect my child and that I failed her again and again afterwards. I've let them down over and over again. Because I still protected the person who hurt me.
"It was like I was brainwashed. And it wasn't until much later that I really realized why," she said. "It's like I have Stockholm Syndrome."
Casey Anthony (Josh Repogle/AP)
Anthony believed her daughter was fine until her body was found
"During the 31 days, I truly believed that Caylee was still alive. My dad kept telling me Caylee was still okay," she said in the new docuseries. "There were no threats, I just knew I had to do what he wanted me to do, for the same reason I've known that since I was 8 years old. Just do what he wants, it worked before, do it now. I did what I had to do to survive.”
She added that her father would tell her that Caylee was "fine" and that she should just "go ahead with what I'm telling you guys... You'll be reunited soon." That's what sticks with me – he once told me we'd be reunited soon.”
Anthony said she was "conditioned" by her father to want to believe her daughter was alive.
"I really wanted to believe him and maybe that's the distancing. Maybe that's trying to protect me from the pain of knowing deep down all along that something was happening and I didn't want to confront it," she said. "I wish there was a simple answer and explanation, but nothing about trauma or abuse is ever easy because you're just trying to survive.
"The whole time he was telling me that she would be fine. I chose to accept it because there was this little girl inside me that wanted to believe he wouldn't hurt her the way he hurt me."
Anthony says she still doesn't know 'what the truth is'
Anthony has never said directly what she thinks happened that morning on the new Peacock series, saying straight out that she "doesn't know what the truth is."
"That's why it's all so difficult. I live with this guilt like I failed her and didn't protect and protect her. I always wanted the truth because I lived without it for so long," she said. "But I don't know if I can handle it all. I don't know if it would be better to know or just not know. Because I don't know what the truth is. All I know is that something happened.”
The story goes on
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