August 8, 2008

Getting Stories From Real Life: the Casey Anthony Saga

Along with most of the country, I'm watching the Caylee Anthony saga unfold daily - almost hourly at this point - praying that the little girl miraculously will be found alive.

As an attorney appointed to represent abused and neglected children in our local Children's Court, I think I come to the case with a bit of a different perspective than others might ... and as a writer, I can't help but note a few things in my fiction-writing journal, as well. Such as:

1. The Anthony family has become so overwhelmed that they're seeking personal assistants to help them with the media, etc. - at no cost to them.
Source: the Orlando Sentinel, August 5, 2008.

From my notes: personal assistants? They're seeking free personal assistants? What happened to asking for volunteers to help search for a missing child? Even Scott Peterson wasn't this stupid.

2. Casey and the rest of her family all refer to the mysterious Zenaida Gonzalez as the "nanny."
Source: WFTV - Orlando.

From my notes: nanny? Even my wealthiest friend, in her mansion on Town Lake with a real live nanny, doesn't refer to the nanny as a nanny. Please. An unemployed 23-year-old? How about the word "babysitter"??? Talk about high falutin' ....

3. The relationship between Casey and her mother Cindy is a fountain of character information, not only in the way that Cindy first called 911 to report her granddaughter missing - and to ask that her daughter be arrested for stealing from her; but also in their discussions about Cindy being in the media, and Casey's irritation that the family seemed to be more concerned about Caylee than about Casey.
Source: Investigation Discovery.Com

From my notes: There's lots of talk about Casey Anthony's surreal demeanor - to the point that personality disorders and other forms of mental illness are being bandied about ... but Cindy Anthony seems rather bizarre in her own right, from my perspective. The tour of the home on Greta's show was fascinating - Cindy doesn't seem depressed or anxious or grieving either.

One has to wonder about the dynamics in that home prior to Caylee going missing. Looks like Caylee was the apple of everyone's eye - her room was a toy store, out back she had her playhouse, her sandbox, and more toys. Lots of photos of the tot.

I found it curious that Cindy pointed out a framed collage of photos surrounding a copy of Caylee's birth certificate to Greta during the tour. Said she had made it for the shower - which happened after Caylee was born. The certificate was surrounded by photos of the newborn. I think it's telling that it was hanging not in the mother's room, but in the tot's room. Fascinating, really.

Boundary issues? Cindy not respecting Casey as Mom? Cindy wanting to replace Casey as mom?

Was this child seen as property? They both seem to have the emotions more appropriate to a stolen or missing car than for a stolen or missing two year old girl.

What has to happen for a mother to have her daughter arrested for taking property? Some might say tough love, but I'm wondering.

I'm wondering if Caylee became the princess of the household, and Casey became an embarrassing bother (high school dropout, no job, etc.) ... did Casey fight back by taking away Caylee? I think it's in the 911 calls that Cindy threatens to take Caylee away from Casey ....

Why do I think of the mother played by Sissy Spacek in the movie "In the Bedroom"?

There's evil in this story.

Appearances seem so important - a story where the mother wants to get rid of the daughter but has to do it through socially acceptable methods (like arrest), a story where a daughter becomes so needy that she's skipping from man to man, preening for the cameras, deceiving herself as well as others, presenting herself to others as someone glamorous (telling folk she works for Universal, she has a nanny, etc. - even the "hot bodies" contest plays in here), unable to face cruel truths in her life.

There's shame in this story, too.
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