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Casey Anthony Trial Update: Medical examiner can't discern cause of Caylee's death

Casey Anthony is comforted by her attorney Dorothy Clay Sims during Anthony's murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, Friday, June 10, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Anthony, 25, is charged with killing her daughter Caylee in the summer of 2008 AP Photo/Joe Burbank

Casey Anthony Trial Update: Medical examiner can't discern cause of Caylee's death
Casey Anthony is comforted by her attorney during Anthony's murder trial June 10, 2011.
AP Photo/Joe Burbank

(CBS/WKMG/AP) ORLANDO, Fla. - Chief Medical Examiner for Orange/Osceola Counties, Dr. Jan Garavaglia, took the stand in Casey Anthony's murder trial today concluding that Anthony's 2-year-old daughter Caylee's death was a homicide.

Pictures: Casey and Caylee Anthony, Personal Photos


In Garavaglia's autopsy, she determined that Caylee's manner of death was homicide, but she did not conclude a cause of death, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.

"It's very difficult, when the body is that decomposed, to say why they died," she said, reports the station.

According to Garavaglia, there was no noticeable trauma to Caylee's bones, but it is impossible to know if there was trauma to her tissue.

She said three factors contributed to her conclusion that Caylee's death was a homicide. First, Caylee was not reported missing. She said an accidental death, such as drowning, would have been reported. Second, the fact that  Caylee's body was hidden, and finally, the presence of duct tape on Caylee's face.

Garavaglia told jurors a child could die from an excessive dose of chloroform. Traces of the chemical were found car and air samples taken from the trunk of Anthony's car according to prosecution witnesses.

Before Garavaglia's testimony,  John J. Schultz, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Central Florida, took the stand to testify about the bones that were found in a wooded area near the Anthony's home in 2008.

Schultz says he observed the skull and the duct tape that was found on it. He added that hair and roots, not duct tape, held the mandible or jawbone in place, reports the station.

"There was no evidence of trauma," Schultz said, according to the station.

Schultz went into detail about searching for Caylee's bones, which were damaged and dispersed around the wooded area by animals. He showed a photo of all of Caylee's bones laid out in proper positioning. He said nearly all of Caylee's bones were recovered.

He estimated that the body had been in the woods for around six months.

Anthony is charged with first-degree murder. If convicted, Anthony could possibly face the death penalty.

The Casey Anthony case was recently reported on by "48 Hours Mystery."

Complete coverage of Casey Anthony on Crimesider

  • Camille Mann

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