Criminal Justice

Plastic Bag of Remains, Tape by Caylee Anthony Home Could Yield Fingerprints

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A forensic pathologist says a plastic bag of remains found Thursday near the home of missing 3-year-old Caylee Anthony could yield fingerprints that will be helpful to prosecutors.

Michael Baden told FOX News that the bag and the duct tape reportedly found inside will be valuable if the remains are identified as those of Caylee Anthony.

“The beauty of duct tape—no matter rain, snow, sleet—that fingerprint will stay there,” Baden told the network. He also said the tape could contain DNA evidence if someone used their teeth to rip it.

Any fingerprints on the outside of the plastic bag may be lost due to the weather, he told FOX. But some prints may remain on the inside.

A utility worker found the remains about a quarter mile from Caylee Anthony’s home. The child has been missing since June, but her disappearance wasn’t reported until a month later. The child’s mother, 22-year-old Casey Anthony, was charged in October with first-degree murder for her daughter’s death even though the remains had not been found.

The forensic examiner will use dental records and DNA evidence to identify the remains, Baden said. The examiner will check to see if there are signs of trauma that could indicate a violent death, and should check for chloroform, which could indicate the death was accidental, he said.

“If it is chloroform as the cause of death, then it could be an accidental overdose and would not be capital, first-degree murder, because sometimes chloroform is used as a babysitter, to put a baby to sleep while mom goes out partying,” Baden told FOX.

Florida criminal defense lawyer Richard Lubin told the Associated Press the evidence could also help establish a time of death. “This can verify or help to verify their theory: that the child was killed when the prosecution thinks she was killed,” he said.

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