As the holidays approach, the Anthonys still hope for their granddaughter's safe return. Could a sighting at a mall be the answer to their prayers?
It's been a tough week for the Anthonys -- scratch that, it's been a tough 25 weeks. Since July they've been searching, hoping and praying for the safe return of their beloved granddaughter, Caylee Anthony. Meanwhile, their daughter, Casey Anthony awaits trial for first-degree murder charges in a Florida jail. Then, last week the Anthonys' lawyer, Mark NeJame, resigned followed by the Orange County Sheriffs Office statement announcing they believe the three-year-old is dead and consequently will no longer follow up on any Caylee sighting.
But Dominic Casey, head of D & A Investigations, Inc., the agency working with the Anthony family believes things might be looking up. A photo sent to him via cellphone has offered the Anthonys a least a ray of hope. The picture, taken at Avenue's Mall in Jacksonville, Florida is of a little girl, with similar coloring to the missing toddler. Dominic believes the resemblance is more than slight. Among the similarities visible in the photo he says is a little patch of thinning hair on the girls head and the way she holds her hands. Both says, Dominic, are strong indicators that would lead him to believe there is a strong possibility that it is Caylee Marie.
The Anthonys think so too, claims Dominic: "George and Cindy have looked at the picture extremely closely for every detail and for all intents and purposes, they believe it is Caylee Marie."
Who accompanied the little girl to the mall is still a mystery. The anonymous source that snapped the photo did not speak to the toddler. Dominic Casey explains it's not uncommon for people to keep their distance when reporting a missing child. "At first people are in shock. They are afraid to approach for fear that if they do, the people with the child will be scared off." Whether the little girl is indeed Caylee -- no one has come forward to identify the girl in the photo.
And through it all, life goes on for the Anthony family, including celebrating Thanksgiving. According to a spokesman from the Orange Country Jail, Casey Anthony will celebrate the holiday by eating her Thanksgiving meal, as she does all her meals, alone in her jail cell.
For her parents, Cindy and George, Dominic reports it's extremely difficult for the couple to feel in a festive mood, but friends and family have encouraged them to have a Thanksgiving at their Orlando home. At the table, says Dominic Casey, "there will be two extra plates, one for Caylee and another for Casey."