It’s been more than a decade since Casey Anthony’s name dominated headlines across the country. Now, she’s finally speaking out in her first on-camera interview since she was famously acquitted in 2011 of murder, manslaughter and child abuse charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
“Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies,” a three-part documentary limited series, premiered Nov. 29 on the Peacock. Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.
In the series, Anthony maintains some of the same claims her legal team has made in her defense over the years — including that she was sexually abused by her father, George Anthony, and that she lied to cover up Caylee’s death. George Anthony 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 on charges of child neglect. At the time, she told investigators the toddler had been picked up by a babysitter.
Six months later, Caylee’s skeletal remains were found less than a mile from her grandparents’ home in Orlando.
In her interview with Alexandra Dean, presenter and director, Casey Anthony makes several other revelations.
He lied to investigators
Anthony was eventually convicted of four misdemeanor counts of lying to investigators investigating her child’s 2008 disappearance.
She falsely told investigators her daughter disappeared with a babysitter she later said didn’t exist, and said she worked at Universal Studios in Orlando when she didn’t.
“It was the right guilty verdict. I lied to law enforcement, I admitted to lying to law enforcement, therefore I am a convicted liar. It’s the truth,” he said in the new series.
In an attempt to explain why she had lied, Anthony said it stemmed from being abused as a child and still following her father’s instructions – even after seeing her daughter’s skinny body.
“I lied to everybody because that was my whole life up to that point,” she said on the show. “Acting like everything was fine, but not knowing anything was fine. I’ve had years of therapy and I’m trying to analyze my own behavior and explain my own behavior, it’s all a trauma response.”
“I made myself look crazy. And he gave law enforcement absolutely no reason to believe or trust anything I said,” he continued.
“I understand why from an outside perspective this all seems so…” he said. “Because even for me, I still feel that way. As far as I am concerned, there is no excuse for my actions or conduct, except to say that I did what I was conditioned to do.’
She claims she was abused by her father
In the documentary, Anthony repeated her earlier claims that her father abused her between the ages of 8 and 12, which her father denied.
“When I was 8 years old, my father started coming to my room at night,” she said. “I was physically hurt, I was scared because I was physically hurt and ‘I can’t tell mum what happened (or) she’ll be mad at me.’ That’s what they told me.”
George Anthony declined to be interviewed for the Peacock series. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment from TODAY.com.
He 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 age 18.
She said she was raped at a house party after being drugged.
“(I had a few beers, I completely lost my memory because I was drugged,” she said. “I woke up in my t-shirt, my jeans on the floor with my underwear and my bra still inside my shirt but over my breasts ».
He added that she was “lethargic” and “extremely disoriented” from the drugs and “could feel like she (had) violent sex”.
She said she initially claimed the baby was her ex-boyfriend’s, but eventually took a paternity test and discovered he wasn’t the father.
“I lied to everybody,” he said. “That’s what I’m saying, it’s so disgusting, it’s just years of feeling like I had to live a certain life or show people that I lived a certain life because I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me and I didn’t want my kid to grow up thinking that product of something so bad that I didn’t want her.”
What he remembers about that fateful morning: “Not much”
Anthony told the cameras the morning her daughter likely died. She said she woke up that morning to make her daughter’s breakfast but “didn’t feel so good.” She went back to bed, turned on the TV and Caylee lay on the bed with her.
“I’ve been a light sleeper all my life,” he said in the documentary. “Because I’m used to someone opening the door while I’m sleeping. I’m used to being alert, especially with my child by my side. It’s part of the reason he slept in my bed so much.”
She said she knew her dad was home, but she fell asleep and “slept for a while.”
The next thing she remembers, she said, is her father shaking her, asking where Caylee was. She said it “didn’t make sense” because she thought her little one was next to her in bed.
Anthony added that her daughter “would never leave my room without telling me, even if she had to go to the bathroom.”
“She knew she wasn’t allowed to be home alone,” he said.
Anthony said she started looking around the house and then in the yard for her daughter. When she came back from looking around the house, she said, her dad was “standing there with her.”
“It’s soaking wet,” she said tearfully. “I can see him standing there with his arm and giving it to me and telling me it’s my fault. That I did this. I caused this.”
She said she “collapsed” with Caylee’s body in her arms, which felt “heavy” and “cold”.
Instead of calling 911 or trying to revive Kaylee, Anthony said her father picked Kaylee up and told her “she was going to be OK.”
“I don’t know how long I sat outside, I don’t know where she went, she took her off me and left,” she said. “I don’t know where he went and I don’t know what he did.”
Why didn’t she call 911?
Anthony said she understands people will wonder why she didn’t call 911 or wait to tell her mom.
“I know people are going to wonder why I didn’t make a phone call, why didn’t I call 911, why was I expecting to say something to my mom but I didn’t tell her anything, why would I lie?” he said. “Knowing that I failed to protect my child and continued to fail him even after. I failed her again and again and again. Because I was still protecting the one who hurt me.
“It was like I was being brainwashed. And it wasn’t until much later that I really began to realize why,” he said. “It’s like I had Stockholm syndrome.”
Anthony believed her daughter was fine until her body was found
“During the 31 days, I honestly believed that Caylee was still alive. My father kept telling me that Caylee was still fine,” he recounted in the new documentary. “There were no threats, I just knew I had to do what he wanted, the same reason I’ve known since I was 8 years old. Just do what it says, 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 to just “keep doing what I tell you to do… You guys will be reunited soon. That’s what sticks with me — he told me at one point that we’d meet again soon.”
Anthony said she was “set up” by her father and wanted to believe her daughter was alive.
“I really wanted to believe him, and maybe that’s the disconnect. Maybe that’s me trying to protect myself from the pain that deep down I knew something happened and I didn’t want to face it,” he said. “I wish it was a simple answer and a simple explanation, but nothing about trauma or abuse is ever simple because you’re just trying to survive.
“All that time he told me he was going to be fine. It’s what I chose to accept, because there was this little girl inside of me that wanted to believe that he wouldn’t hurt her the way he hurt me.”
Anthony says he still doesn’t know ‘what the truth is’
Anthony has never made it clear to the new Peacock series what she believes happened that morning and is blunt that she “doesn’t know what the truth is”.
“That’s why this whole thing is so hard. I live with this guilt that I feel like I failed her and didn’t keep her safe and protect her. I’ve always wanted the truth because I’ve lived so long without it,” he 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 continue not knowing. Because I don’t know what the truth is. All I know is that something happened.”
In the years since her trial, Anthony has worked for her defense attorney, Pat McKenna. He also said in the documents that he was staying at home with his family after her trial as she got back on her feet.
She said she will always wonder what could have been if she had handled her daughter’s death differently.
“It’s hard to live with the everyday, because nothing is going to bring it back,” she said, moved. “Even if one day I get the answers I need, it will never be enough. It will never be enough.”
This article was originally published on TODAY.com