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George Anthony suggests 'chemical babysitting' killed Caylee

September 15, 2011 |  7:21 am

What happened to Caylee Anthony
Casey Anthony's father has suggested that his 2-year-old granddaughter may have died as a result of "chemical babysitting" gone horribly wrong -- and he blames his daughter for it.

Retired police detective George Anthony told Dr. Phil McGraw in a televised interview that he believes the little girl may have been drugged with Xanax or a similar compound so that Casey Anthony could go out partying with friends. He said he also believes that Casey Anthony played a role in crudely burying the child's remains in the woods just a short distance from the grandparents' home.

"I blame her for Caylee not being here. ... I do," he said of his daughter. "Do I believe that Casey is involved? ... Yeah." He added: "Did Casey cover something up? Yes, you can see that. You can see by the lies."

He said he believes his granddaughter was given something -- some kind of drug -- to knock her out, and then "placed in the back of the car and transported around." It was unclear whether he was referring to the trunk, which is where authorities believe the little girl's body was stowed at one time.

George Anthony said he believes his daughter wanted freedom. "To go out and have a good time, to be with friends, to go out and have this life she didn't have with Caylee, some freedom that she wanted, that's what I feel."

George Anthony's statements, made this week on the "Dr. Phil" show, were remarkable for many reasons. He's largely stayed out of the public eye and let his wife, Cindy, do the talking and defending of their daughter. Moreover, the defense tried to vilify him during the case, accusing him of sexually abusing Casey Anthony and portraying him as being involved in the scheme to cover up Casey's death, accusations he denies.

The "chemical babysitting" comment seemed to mark the first time he's ever said such a thing in front of his wife, who seemed both surprised and irritated.

"First time I heard that out of his mouth," Cindy Anthony said.

That underscored an apparent unspoken tension between George and Cindy Anthony as they told their side of a story that has riveted the nation. Each of the two can be seen at times during the interview grimacing or eye-rolling at the other's comment, or looking off remotely into the distance, or seemingly trying hard to show no emotion at all.

Casey Anthony was acquitted in July of killing her 2-year-old daughter, whose body was found in December 2008 in the woods near the family's home. The death was ruled a homicide, but authorities were never able to determine what killed Caylee. The child had gone missing in mid-June of that year, but it would be a month before her mother reported her missing. That lapse, as well as other inconsistencies in her accounts, caused many in the public to believe she was guilty, but the jury came to a different conclusion.

Other highlights from the interview, more of which is to be aired in one or more future "Dr. Phil" episodes:

-- George Anthony said he felt deceived by his daughter: "Why didn't she tell us, why didn't she give us some kind of idea of what was going on with her life? But she didn't. She deceived us, she lied to us, her own parents."

-- Cindy Anthony said she believed something tragic happened to Caylee, such as a drowning accident, that caused Casey to break down and then cover it up because she couldn't stand the horror of it all. "I don't know what happened to her, and was it so traumatic that her whole world went upside down and it was easier for her to believe that Caylee was with the nanny, to put it aside and go on with her life, because she couldn't face the tragedy?"

-- George Anthony said he had trouble believing the girl's death was just a tragic accident. "If Caylee drowned, then why all this elaborate coverup?"

-- Cindy Anthony said she did not find it suspicious that her daughter went to a neighbor's home and borrowed a shovel around the same time that Caylee disappeared. Cindy said she believes Casey used the shovel to cut some bamboo.

-- Cindy Anthony conceded that she believes her daughter knew where Caylee's body was placed: "I know that Casey knows where Caylee was placed. ... I'm not sure she put her there by herself or that someone helped her."

Dr. Phil said the show sought comment from Casey Anthony without success.


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Photo: Phil McGraw interviews Cindy and George Anthony. Credit: CBS