Police: Bags Found in River in Search for Missing Toddler Don't Contain Human Remains
Posted November 13, 2008
A sergeant with the Orange County Sheriff's Department in Florida says bags found during a river search for missing toddler Caylee Anthony do not contain human remains, FOX affiliate WOFL-TV in Orlando reported.
Sgt. John Allen, a lead investigator in the case, told WOFL at the scene that he doesn't believe 3-year-old Caylee is in the Little Econ River, where bounty hunter Leonard Padilla had hired a dive team to hunt for the child.
Police have examined the bags and found no human bones, fingers or toes as Padilla claimed, Allen said. Investigators quickly left the area.
Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Carlos Padilla (no relation to the bounty hunter) said police want Leonard Padilla to take a lie detector test, and he has agreed.
Carlos Padilla told FOXNews.com that the bounty hunter had informed police of his crew's alleged discovery.
"This is of no evidentiary value," the spokesman said after investigators examined the items.
Leonard Padilla initially claimed that divers combing the river around Blanchard Park discovered a plastic bag containing fingers and toes and weighted down with bricks, and another with stuffed animals inside on Thursday, according to WOFL's Web site, MyFOXOrlando.com. The area was roped off.
A diving course director involved in the search, David Badali, told FOX News Channel's Miami bureau that the bags found had bones, bricks, a green shamrock toy and another toy inside. He said they were discovered in 10 feet of water at about 1:30 p.m., the area has been declared a crime scene and the FBI was retrieving the items.
But Allen said no crime scene has been identified in the vicinity of the bounty hunter's search.
Leonard Padilla said that the 30 to 40 divers conducting the search (which requires only five in the water at a time) are from a company called Blackwater Divers and specialize in scouring extremely dark areas. He characterized it as a recovery mission to find Caylee's remains.
The bounty hunter called off his search earlier this week, but had a change of heart Wednesday night and said he'd continue looking for the toddler, who is presumed dead. He said he has evidence that she was dumped in the river, but declined to elaborate.
The little girl has been missing since mid-June. Her mother, 22-year-old Casey Anthony, is behind bars and charged with her murder.
On Wednesday, a man hired to be the spokesman for Caylee's family said he quit the job because of their "erratic behavior."
Larry Garrison was retained in August to speak to the media on behalf of the Anthonys. He resigned Wednesday.
"Due to the erratic behavior over the last several months exhibited by the Anthony family, Larry Garrison is resigning as their spokesperson," he said in a prepared statement.
"It is my opinion that others have manipulated them into situations that would not dignify the family. I can no longer be part of that behavior."
Anthony family lawyer Mark NeJame laughed at the statement and said it was released minutes after Garrison learned he'd been fired, MyFOXOrlando.com reported.
NeJame said Garrison was canned for pocketing money he demanded for interviews with Caylee's grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony.
Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of lying to investigators about the disappearance of her daughter.
She didn't report Caylee missing until July. The toddler disappeared two months shy of her third birthday.
Forensic tests released last month confirmed that hair found in the trunk of Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire came from a decomposing body. DNA evidence suggests a corpse had been in the car's trunk.
Anthony said she left Caylee with a baby sitter, but police contend that's a lie. The little girl has not been found. Authorities say she was killed.