When Casey Anthony came forward in her first interview since being acquitted in the death of her daughter, two-year-old Caylee, on March 7, she left one of the biggest mysteries in the case unsolved. Who was Caylee’s father?
Anthony, who is now 30, was not married at the time she gave birth to Caylee in 2005. There were several candidates and even one man Casey identified as the father, but there is still no definitive answer. The one common thread between many of the candidates is that they died in car accidents in 2007.
Anthony spoke with the Associated Press on March 7 and claimed that even she still has questions about her daughter’s death.
“I’m still not even certain as I stand here today about what happened,” Anthony told the AP. “Based off what was in the media… I understand the reasons people feel about me. I understand why people have the opinions that they do.”
Anthony currently lives with Patrick J. McKenna, the private investigator who worked on her case for the defense.
After Anthony’s interview, her father, George Anthony, told People Magazine that, “his heart hurts even more now.”
Here’s a look at who the candidates for who Caylee’s father was.
1. Anthony Said Jesus Ortiz Was the Father
Anthony herself told some people that Jesus Ortiz, a high school classmate, was Caylee’s father, notes Tampa Bay.com. As reports at the time confirmed, a man named Jesus Ortiz died in a car crash in May 2007 in Orlando.
However, according to a website devoted to the Caylee Anthony murder case, an attorney for the Ortiz family said that they never even heard of Anthony. The statement read:
Miss Anthony never told the family Jesus was the father or that he might be the father. In fact, the family has never met her and does not know her. If the child is indeed their grandchild and alive, that is all they have left of their son, Jesus Ortiz. They would like to get to know the child if she is indeed still alive.
2. Michael Duggan’s Mother Said He Was the Father
In June 2011, Donna Duggan told the Daily Beast that he son Michael was the father. Michael Duggan also died in a car accident in 2007, but in Falmouth, Massachusetts. His mother told the Daily Beast that she is “100 percent certain” that her son was the father.
Although Michael Duggan lived in Massachusetts, his mother says he often traveled in the South and worked for a moving company at the time Caylee was conceived. She told the Daily Beast it was “routine for him to visit Florida” and his paternal grandparents lived near Orlando.
Donna Duggan told the Daily Beast that she was only interested in learning the truth. She claimed that in summer 2007, her son told her that she already had a grandchild.
“We were talking about the upcoming birth of my other son’s baby boy,” Donna Duggan told the Daily Beast. “I said I had really hoped for a baby girl grandchild, and that’s when Michael told me that he already had one.”
3. Casey Once Told Her Mother Eric Baker Was the Father
One of the lies Anthony told police and even her own mother Cindy was that a man named “Eric Baker” was the father. According to ABC News, Anthony’s mother told the jury during the 2011 trial that Baker was married to another woman and had another child. Baker – like the other candidates – died in a car crash and Cindy claimed to have had an obituary that she lost.
Investigators never found the existence of an “Eric Baker” that was linked to Anthony.
However, as Tampa Bay.com notes, there was an Eric Baker who lived in Kentucky and died in a 2007 car crash, but his mother said they never heard of Anthony before and he was too young to be the father.
During her interview with police, Melina Calabrese claimed that Anthony told her a man named “Josh” from Georgia was the father. She said Anthony told her that they met at Universal Studios Orlando and was a “one night stand.”
4. Jesse Grund Took a DNA Test That Came Up Negative
One person who took a DNA test in an effort to find out who Caylee’s father is was Jesse Grund, a boyfriend Anthony dated after she became pregnant. In a 2009 interview with People Magazine, Grund said it was “possible” that he was Caylee’s father, but he didn’t think the timing of conception was right. He later took a DNA test that proved he wasn’t the father.
“For the first year or two of her life, I was dad,” Grund told People in 2009. “I was the father figure in her life, and I loved her more than anything. She was an amazing little baby. I had never been a father before.”
He told the magazine that he was disappointed to learn that Caylee wasn’t his biological daughter. “I loved Caylee so much, and finding out she was someone else’s daughter was hard,” he said.
Grund famously appeared on Today, where he begged Anthony to start telling the truth.
“Casey, tell the truth. This isn’t about you anymore. This is about Caylee,” Grund said on Today, speaking directly to his ex-girlfriend. “Stop dragging people’s lives through this. Stop destroying people’s lives and tell the truth. What happened to Caylee?”
5. Anthony Thought Her Father Could Also Be Caylee’s Father
During Anthony’s trial, her attorney, Jose Baez, suggested that George Anthony, Anthony’s father, sexually abused his daughter, notes the AP. George Anthony denied this claim.
Baez stuck by this though, including in his book Presumed Guilty, Casey Anthony: The Inside Story. According to the Huffington Post, Baez wrote that Anthony even thought that her father sexually assaulted her and impregnated her.
“It all began when Casey was eight years old and her father came into her room and began to touch her inappropriately and it escalated … She could be 14 years old….and go to school and play with the other kids as if nothing [had] happened,” Baez wrote.
However, DNA tests later revealed that George Anthony and her brother, Lee, were not Caylee’s father.
Mark Lippman, the attorney representing George and Cindy Anthony, sent a statement to People Magazine after the AP published their interview with their daughter. The statement reads:
“After years of silence, Casey Anthony has decided to complete an interview and has once again pointed to George Anthony, her father, as a suspect in the disappearance and death of his granddaughter, Caylee. George, who has continued to try and move forward from this tragedy and who was vindicated on multiple occasions, is once again forced to relive the hints, rumors, lies and allegations that are being made by Casey Anthony. He has specifically stated that ‘his heart hurts even more now.’”