ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - A computer expert testified Wednesday that someone using the family desktop computer in the home of accused child killer Casey Anthony searched the Internet for information about chloroform, a once-popular anesthetic.
Previous witnesses at Casey’s first-degree murder trial in Orlando, Florida have testified they found evidence of what they considered to be a surprisingly large quantity of chloroform, as well as residue from a decomposing human body, in her car trunk.
Casey, 25, is accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee on June 16, 2008 and disposing the child’s body in woods a short walk from the Anthony home.
Defense lawyer Jose Baez agrees that Caylee died that day, but contends the toddler drowned in the family’s backyard pool and her death went unreported.
Casey’s mother, Cindy Anthony, reported Caylee missing on July 15, 2008 after finding Casey’s car at an impound lot reeking of an odor she likened to death. Cindy told emergency dispatchers that Casey had rebuffed her attempts to see or speak to Caylee for a month.
Casey and Caylee Anthony lived with her parents Cindy and George in the same house.
Investigators removed the computer from the Anthony home after the missing child report.
Detective Sandra Osborne testified that she found a search had been done for the keyword chloroform, which was phased out as an anesthetic because of the danger of sudden death.
Osborne said she also found that someone had deleted the record of the search. However, deleted search information remains stored in the computer in unallocated space on the hard drive, Osborne said.
“We were able to recover an entire Internet history record,” Osborne said.
Another computer expert is expected to testify on Wednesday about other information contained in that record.
Osborne said prior to Cindy reporting her granddaughter missing, there was no sign on the computer that anyone had used it to search for Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez.
Casey initially told detectives that a nanny by that name had kidnapped Caylee. Casey also told detectives that she did not report Caylee’s disappearance because she had been conducting her own search for the nanny.
Earlier on Wednesday, jurors heard testimony that a dog named Bones who was trained to sniff out decomposing human remains found such a scent in the Anthonys’ backyard during a search on July 17, 2008.
Bones’ search confirmed one performed the same day by a similarly trained dog named Gerus. Both dogs alerted their handlers that they had located the scent in an area between Caylee’s playhouse and her sandbox, according to the handlers’ testimony.
Evidence technicians scraped the ground where the dogs indicated but found nothing, according to Deputy Jason Forgey, Gerus’s handler.
Both dogs returned to the yard after the technicians and, this time, found nothing.
“Whatever he was alerting to could have been moved, destroyed, dissipated,” said Officer Kristin Brewer, Bones’s handler.
Under questioning by Baez, Brewer confirmed that the dogs would also signal if they found decomposing human body fluids, including blood, from a living person.
Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune