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Casey Anthony: What Makes her Lie?

It’s now been almost three months since 2-year-old Caylee Anthony was reported missing by her grandmother, Cindy. Caylee’s mother, 22-year-old Casey, has told story after story, lie after lie, in apparent attempts to explain how her daughter disappeared and why.

Her first of many believed lies named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, the single mother of six children, as Caylee’s long-term baby sitter who, for some unknown reason, absconded with Caylee, this while dragging her six children along with her. One woman bearing the name of the now believed mythical babysitter has been fired from her job and is suing the Anthony’s for besmirching her name by suggesting she, someone who had never met the Anthony’s, was Caylee’s kidnapper. Investigators have released hundreds of pages of investigation, video and audio tapes and cel phone records to substantiate their belief that one and only person is likely responsible for Caylee’s missing person status. Casey Anthony.

What’s to Gain?

What does Casey have to gain by rolling one lie after another? Her freedom is one. Although she has been charged with relative minor offenses related to child neglect and bad checks, she has stood up to months of questioning and the belief of most that she is somehow responsible for her daughter’s likely demise, but the challenge for investigators is to prove their beliefs, their theories, and put together physical evidence that can prove to a jury that one; Caylee is dead, and two, that Casey had anything to do with her suspected death. How do you keep a secret? Do something by yourself and tell no one the truth about what you did. Some people are just better at this than others. And now there are rumors of a $2 million dollar made for TV movie deal for the Anthony’s and their attorney. Should this be true, it is but one more indictment of a society gone wild that lives vicariously through sad stories such as this. Allowing the Anthony’s to make money on the disappearance of Caylee just seems even too morbid for the television, but as we’ve seen over the years, just about anything sells on TV.

Friends of Casey question how she could have lived a life revolving around booze, sex, and partying while allegedly conducting her own one-month, one-person search for her missing daughter, someone Casey referred to as “the little snot head.” Many professional and pop psychologists, as well as friends and family members of Casey have suggested their collective belief that she is a pathological liar. What is it that makes people believe this about Casey and what’s the difference between a pathological liar and, as others have stated, a compulsive liar?

Pathological Liars

A Pathological liar says whatever he or she wants to say with minimal concern for the truth. After all, it is all about them anyway. Such a person wants only what is best for them with little concern for others, to include, in the extreme, their own children. They lie about the little things, they constantly change their story while appearing to believe every new version they roll out for public consumption. While they may fool you at first, after all, we want to believe in others, once you get to know such a person you learn not to believe anything he or she says. You also learn never to expect this person to “confess;” it’s simply not in their emotional vocabulary to do so. Many see a pathological liar as extremely cunning and totally self- centered, exhibiting the traits associated with someone said to have a histrionic personality disorder, one that includes attention seeking and inappropriate seductiveness. A woman challenged with this disorder is dramatic, enthusiastic and very flirtatious, even sexually provocative while constantly needing the attention of others, especially men. Because such a person may need constant stimulation and excitement, they often place themselves in risky situations.

Compulsive Liars

A compulsive liar simply lies out of habit. Lying represents learned behavior that has become so comfortable that the truth simply escapes or evades such a person. The compulsive liar is not nearly as manipulative as a pathological liar and may not be as narcissistic (it’s all about them) as their pathological counterpart. The compulsive liar simply lies out of habit, out of convenience without the psychological need to always control and influence others. This person does not demand the spotlight be constantly on them, they just want to get by as easy as possible, but their form of and reason for lying can be just as destructive to relationships as that done by pathological liars.

So where, if anywhere, does a person like Casey Anthony, as portrayed in media reports, fit into these definitions, and how do you get such a person to tell the truth? Casey’s behavior seems to go beyond that of simply lying out of habit, i.e., she appears to lie to get her way and to cover up those “truths” she wishes others not to know. When you consider that such a person is totally self-centered, i.e., they are the sun and we, the planets, simply rotate around them, the only time such a person tells the truth is when they are one: totally backed into a corner with nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide, and two: when they are convinced that the truth, or as much as they are willing to tell, is to their and their lone benefit. As an FBI Agent, I’ve interviewed many such individuals. These are long, multi-part interviews that can take place over days, weeks and even months. The investigator needs to construct a scenario that allows the subject to minimize what he has done and/or to find a logical reason to have done what he did. You need to show understanding for what the subject did, perhaps suggesting that their action was not only reasonable, but appropriate in such a situation.


Let’s consider missing Caylee Anthony. Based upon the information known to the media, some have suggested the following scenario, based upon the evidence to date, to explain the loss of young Caylee. Casey, a single parent, allegedly did not want to give birth to Caylee, but was persuaded to do so by her mother, Cindy. As a young mother, Casey’s desire to live out a storybook like life involving men and fun was severely hampered by having to care for Caylee. Most parents, especially young, single mothers know how time consuming child care can be, and how one can yearn for a life without the responsibilities of parenthood. Casey’s social life, i.e., her dating life was tremendously limited by her parental responsibilities. As an FBI profiler, I consulted on the 1994 Susan Smith case. It was Smith, then the 22-year-old mother of two young sons (ages 3 and 14 months), who wanted a relationship with a man who had no desire to take on her children. To solve her problem she had to rid herself of her children so she rolled her car, with her two young sons still strapped inside, into a local lake and then reported that her car had been carjacked with her children inside. Even though local authorities, during their search for the missing boys, indicated they had checked all close by bodies of water, the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit felt that Smith had somehow “disposed” of her children, probably in some lake vs. by burning the car, etc. with the boys inside, this as the latter method would not have been consistent with Smith’s profile. Smith, who remains in prison today, suffered from a borderline personality disorder, one of four such disorders to include narcissistic, histrionic, and antisocial personality disorders.


Investigators (and Casey’s family members) have indicated that the family car used and abandoned by Casey had the smell of death, of human decomposition when recovered by Casey’s parents. Investigators do not believe this smell came from old pizza or two dead squirrels that somehow found their way into Casey’s car. No, they believe that the smell of death was consistent with evidence found in the car trunk of human decomposition and human hairs believed to be identical to Caylee’s. Next it was reported that evidence of chloroform was found in the same car trunk. One expert has indicated that a practice common among young parents is to put their child to sleep by doing like they have seen done in the movies or read on the Internet, by soaking a cloth in chloroform and putting it over the child’s nose or mouth, causing the child to lose consciousness, thereby allowing the parent to leave the child alone, knowing he or she will sleep while the parent parties all night long. This practice is obviously dangerous as there is obviously no way to accurately measure how much chloroform the child has injected. Too little and the child awakens in the middle of the night without his parent present. Too much, the child dies.

And the Ultimate Truth is…

Only one person really knows what happened to Caylee Anthony; the last person who was with her and who, as most tend to believe, disposed of her body. Whether that person is Casey Anthony or some yet to be identified other, we just don’t know, or, in reality, we just can’t prove at this time. Prove that Caylee is dead and prove that Casey or someone else was directly responsible and you can take this case to court. Should Casey have the answer, she need only keep it to herself to frustrate the investigation and keep herself out of prison. Should investigators eventually develop irrefutable evidence that links Casey to her daughter’s death, then they may have some inroad to bargaining with Casey. Susan Smith eventually confessed when her story fell apart, but Casey has many stories, both old and new. If she is the sole owner of the truth in this case, time will tell if she ever owns up to the truth. All she needs to consider is what does she ultimately have to gain as, after all, this is all about her…

One Response to “Casey Anthony: What Makes her Lie?”

  1. KAYE MARTIN says: