Caylee Anthony's Biological Father Remains A Mystery More Than A Decade After Her Murder

For six weeks in the summer of 2011, Americans across the country were glued to their televisions watching the trial of Casey Anthony, the then-25-year-old Florida woman who had been dubbed the "monster mom" over the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee (per Today). The country was so outraged over the death of the toddler, and the prosecution thought the case was such a slam dunk that it sought the death penalty for Casey. And who could blame the state attorney's office? Caylee had been missing for more than a month, according to Casey's mother, Cindy Anthony. For weeks, Casey fed her mother lies as to Caylee's whereabouts until Cindy had enough and famously called 911 to tell the emergency operator that Casey's car "smelled like there's been a dead body in the damn car," via Today.

And soon after, Caylee's remains were discovered with a blanket inside a laundry bag in a wooded area near the Anthony family's home. Casey Anthony's legal team did not provide much of a defense other than to poke holes in the prosecution's case, and Casey did not testify in the case. On July 5, 2011, the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child (per The Guardian). Instead, she was found guilty of four misdemeanors related to providing false information to the police. We'll likely never know what happened to 2-year-old Caylee Anthony, but that's not the only remaining mystery from the Anthony case.

Who is her father?

Throughout the trial — and in the years since — there's been another question on the minds of close watchers of the case: Where is the father of Caylee Anthony? And why hasn't he come forward in some shape or form? The short answer is that nobody really seems to know. Per People, back in 2005, when Casey Anthony was starting to show that she was pregnant, she reportedly told her neighbor, Brittany Schieber, that it was a one-night stand and she didn't know who the father was, according to the police investigation.

In court, Casey's defense attorney Jose Baez, drew audible gasps when he suggested her brother, Lee, or her own father, George Anthony (pictured above), could be the father of Caylee after years of family abuse directed at Casey, according to Reuters. Although George Anthony initially did not deny the claims of abuse (but subsequently has), per HuffPost, DNA tests proved that neither Lee nor George was Caylee's father. On the witness stand, George Anthony broke down and said (via the New York Post), "Sir, I never would do anything like that to my daughter. I would never do anything to harm my daughter in that way." Legal observers have suggested Baez never believed that Casey's brother or her father was Caylee's father and that it was instead a tactic to draw sympathy for Casey, who essentially had none in the court of public opinion.

Casey Anthony found an acting father for Caylee

Soon after Casey Anthony became pregnant with Caylee, she began dating Jesse Grund, whom she met while working at Universal Studios in Orlando. After a short amount of time, Anthony told Grund that she was pregnant and he was the father. "She would not have it any other way, and she got angry with me if I tried to insist anything else," Grund told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News in 2008. The level of anger that emanated from Anthony was a major red flag for Grund, but he went along for a while believing it was the stress of being in a new relationship with a new baby.

"For the first year or two of [Caylee's] life, I was dad," Grund told People. "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." But Grund knew that the math of their dating and the pregnancy didn't add up, but that it was still possible that he could be Caylee's father. So, he paid for a paternity test, which only confirmed what he already suspected. "That was really hard, because I just assumed that she was mine. I loved Caylee so much, and finding out she was someone else's daughter was hard," he said.

Three car crashes leave the same unanswered question

During Casey Anthony's murder trial, her mother, Cindy Anthony (pictured above with husband George), testified that Casey told her that Caylee's father was an old friend named Eric Baker, who had died in a car crash, per the Daily Mail. According to CNN, investigators found a death certificate for an Eric Baker, who died in a car crash, but they were unable to verify any connection between the two. Another possible father some someone Casey was recently known to have dated — Jesus Ortiz. He and Casey Anthony dated in 2007 before he died in a car crash. The Ortiz family was shocked. "Miss Anthony never told the family Jesus was the father or that he might be the father,"the family said (via People). 

In 2011, Donna MacLean claimed that her son, Michael Patrick Duggan, was Caylee's father. She claimed that Michael, who also died in a car crash, told her about Caylee before his death. She told The Daily Beast, "I would never in a million years bring something like this forward if I wasn't 100 percent positive. My son wouldn't lie to me."

Nothing has ever been conclusive about Caylee's father. People close to Casey Anthony say she'll go to the grave with the secret. "If she knows who the father is, she's not telling," one source told People. "She definitely won't ever say anything publicly. I doubt anyone will ever know."