A lot has changed in the eight years since Caylee Anthony’s body turned up in a Florida swamp just a half mile from her mom Casey’s home. But, one thing remains constant, the theft of crosses left at a memorial site where her remains were discovered in December of 2008.
August 9 would’ve been Caylee’s 11th birthday. But, there was no celebration for the toddler, whose death rattled the nation. Five people showed up to the site on Suburban Drive where her remains were discovered. They released 11 balloons, one for each year of her life cut short.
“Happy Birthday, Caylee,” members of the Goodnough family shouted as the balloons set off.
The family drove to Orlando from Sarasota to release the balloons. Over the weekend, they built a cross and placed it 29 feet from the road on the edge of the swamp where Caylee’s body was found.
“She knows she is loved,” Wally Goodnough said.
Goodnough and his wife, Jeanine, say they have built four crosses for Caylee’s memorial. In the past eight years, three have been stolen.
“I want to put a GPS in this one to know where it goes,” Wally Goodnough said. “We built this cross for an innocent child that was taken. There is still someone out there who needs to be responsible for her.”
In July of 2011, a jury found Caylee’s mom, Casey Anthony, not guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child, but guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.
Goodnough said building a cross and placing it as a memorial where her body was found isn’t a statement about whether or not Casey was guilty or not, but rather, he said, “It’s to not forget that little girl. So many children go missing everyday.”
Goodnough said his family will continue to keep watch over the site, in hopes that the cross they reinforced underground won’t go missing anytime soon.