June 4, 2011 / 12:04 AM / 8 years ago

Investigator smelled foul odor in Casey Anthony's car

ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) - The crime scene investigator who searched Casey Anthony’s car on July 17, 2008, for clues about the fate of her missing 2-year-old daughter testified on Friday that the odor of human decomposition wafted from the interior as soon as he opened the door.

Cindy and George Anthony, parents of Casey Anthony, leave the courtroom with Judge Belvin Perry (R) following at the Orange County Courthouse during the second day of their daughter's first-degree murder trial, in Orlando, Florida, May 25, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Burbank/Pool

“My professional opinion is that it was human decomposition,” said Gerardo Bloise, who told jurors he has seen as many as 45 bodies in various stages of decomposition in his career.

Casey Anthony, 25, is on trial in Orlando, Florida for first-degree murder, accused of killing daughter Caylee on June 16, 2008 and hiding the body in woods near the Anthony home.

Caylee’s skeletal remains were found in December 2008. Duct tape wrapped three times around her skull, mouth and nose is the only evidence indicating cause of death, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick estimated on Friday that she will finish presenting the state’s evidence on June 17, after four weeks of testimony. Jurors were warned before they were selected to serve that the trial would last about eight weeks.

Bloise was the latest in a series of witnesses, including Casey’s parents, who have testified that they know the odor of human composition and that’s what they smelled in Casey’s car.

Bloise spent almost three hours on the witness stand, primarily identifying bits of evidence he removed from the car. The evidence included a stain on the trunk liner, a piece of which was sealed in a can and delivered to an air analysis expert.

That expert is expected to testify that the air analysis was consistent with human decomposition. It is novel scientific evidence the defense is likely to strenuously challenge.

‘I’M JUST AS MUCH A VICTIM’

Earlier on Friday, jurors saw videotapes of jailhouse visits between Casey Anthony and her parents.

In one confrontational conversation on August 14, 2008, Casey shook her fists as George and Cindy Anthony pressed her for more information to help them locate Caylee.

“We need to have something to go on,” said Cindy, unsmiling and appearing emotionally drained.

“Mom! I don’t have anything ... Don’t you know how I feel?” Casey responded.

Later, Cindy told Casey, “Just know we’re all going in so many directions right now, we want to make sure it’s the right one.”

The visit occurred a month after Cindy had called 911, frustrated and concerned because Casey had refused to let her see Caylee for weeks. Casey told detectives Caylee was kidnapped by a nanny.

Casey was arrested the following day for providing false information and obstructing justice after detectives determined most of what she told them was a lie.

News accounts of the missing child triggered a nationwide search and worldwide interest in the case.

During several recorded jail visits shown to jurors, Cindy and George Anthony made clear they believed Casey had more information about Caylee’s fate than she was sharing.

“You are the boss of all of this,” George told Casey, adding: “You can expedite this very quickly if you want to.”

Casey said she could do nothing as long as she was in jail. “I can’t do anything from where I’m at,” she said.

Casey also told George she preferred to have a private meeting with him rather than Cindy because she said her mother kept asking her questions about Caylee’s fate.

Defense lawyer Jose Baez told jurors in his opening statement that Caylee drowned in the Anthony family backyard pool, but her death went unreported.

In the jail visit, Cindy told Casey about a rumor spreading about a drowning.

“Someone just said that Caylee was dead. She drowned in the pool. That’s the new story,” Cindy said.

There was no further discussion of the rumor.

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Twice, Casey told her parents she would not cooperate with the detectives or prosecutors on the case.

“I am not going to give the (district attorney) anything when I get out of here. Sucks for them,” Casey said.

Of sheriff’s detectives, Casey said, “they’re not going to get shit ... I’m just as much a victim as the rest of you.”

Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jerry Norton

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