Who Will Pay to Protect Caylee Anthony's Family from Protesters?
Police waiting for new evidence; woman sues Casey Anthony
Posted Tuesday, 30 Sep 2008, 1:21 PM EDT
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- It has been almost 100 days since missing 3-year-old Caylee Anthony has been seen alive. It seems like the developments in the case revolve around everything but the search for Caylee. Now the focus is on how Orange County is paying to protect the Anthony family from protesters.
For weeks, protestors have been damaging grass, starting fights and generally making a scene at the Anthony home with no relief from the courts or law enforcement. But that might change. The sheriff, the county and legal teams are meeting to try to find the best way for everyone to get along. One of the biggest questions is whether or not off-duty deputies will monitor the Anthonys' neighborhood.
On Monday, as Caylee's mother Casey Anthony left her house, the neighborhood was quiet with no protesters around and only a few passersby, but there is still concern. Commissioner Linda Stewart issued this statement: “Because of the significant disruption to the lives of the neighbors, I am still concerned about the safety and well being of the entire neighborhood."
But putting off-duty deputies outside the home at taxpayers' expense is touchy ground. “I have concerns because we don't do that in any other section of the county and we've had to put people out there to calm things down,” said Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary. “I am hoping we get some court relief. Right now that does not look like it's going to happen; it's being denied, denied, denied.”
Off-duty deputies are only one option. Some other options on the table include:
Doing nothing and waiting for a court-ordered injunction.
Putting a designated protest area in place.
Implementing a curfew.
The county could also decide to put a new county ordinance in place that would not only protect the Anthonys' neighborhood but others as well.
But deputies may be the quickest solution. It will cost someone, and right now there is serious consideration of sharing the cost of that coverage.
One option that is not on the table, at least from the commissioners, is why the HOA doesn't pay for the deputies themselves. FOX 35’s Shannon Butler has tried for several weeks to ask the HOA's attorney why that is not currently an option, but the attorney has not returned her calls. Mark NeJame, the Anthonys' attorney, is also in on the plans.
Regarding the investigation into Caylee's disappearance, Sheriff Beary says they are waiting for a few pieces of evidence to come back from the FBI. He says that just doesn't happen overnight. He also said they are being so careful right now because they are afraid to make a mistake since detectives may someday have to work a homicide case without a body.
Casey Anthony says she left her daughter with a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez before she went missing, and now a Kissimmee woman with that name is suing Casey for defamation. Orange County investigators don't believe the Zenaida Gonzalez Casey told them about exists. Zenaida Gonzalez and her attorney John Morgan spoke to FOX 35 about how her life has changed since Caylee Anthony went missing. (video: MyFoxOrlando).