In a case where events, circumstances, and elements have taken some on strange twists and meanings, another piece can be added to the accumulating convoluted jumble: the wooded lot where Caylee Anthony’s remains were found has been put up for public sale by the owner. In and of itself, that is not a strange thing. What is strange about it is one of the prospective buyers.
According to the Miami Herald, Leonard Padilla, the bounty hunter that entered the Casey Anthony / Caylee Anthony cases attempting to help exonerate the then 22-year-old mother, has suggested that he is interested in purchasing the land. Padilla says he would like to turn it into a memorial for Caylee Anthony, a little girl that he has stated he feels close to but never met.
The homeowners association near the lot are adamantly opposed to Padilla’s plans.
Caylee Anthony’s grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony, live just 15 houses from the lot, less than one-half mile away.
Leonard Padilla, who first appeared to help Casey Anthony and who posted her bail last year in order for Casey Anthony to help him assist in the search for the missing child, is not on speaking terms with George and Cindy Anthony at present. According to Central Florida News, he rescinded his bail for Casey Anthony after he felt that she was being uncooperative in the search for her 2-year-old daughter. Coincidentally, news about the FBI forensics findings concerning the decomposing remains in the Anthony vehicle had “leaked” to the public at that time.
A few months later, Roy Kronk, an Orange County public utilities worker, discovered the bag that held the tiny skull and a few articles that would later be identified as belonging to the missing 2-year-old.
When the Anthonys held a public service for Caylee Anthony in Orlando last month, Leonard Padilla and a small group of mourners, including some of the Anthonys’ neighbors, held a more impromptu memorial service at the site where Caylee’s remains were found in December. There has been a makeshift shrine constructed on the lot of land that Leonard Padilla is now looking into purchasing.
Padilla has offered $50,000 for the land. He says he wants to make it into a permanent memorial for Caylee Anthony.
But why? What is it about Caylee Anthony’s story that pulls Leonard Padilla in and keeps him hanging around the periphery of this sad tale of loss? When he first arrived to help with the case, he arranged for Casey Anthony’s $500,000 bail. He also predicted that Caylee Anthony would be found within a week. Casey Anthony’s help proved nonexistent and Caylee’s remains were not found for months. Still, Padilla has remained in the area and in the news.
After having a falling out with Anthonys over rescinding Casey Anthony’s bail, Padilla worked on the case on his own. He remained in the Orlando area, according to his website, because he had been hired to investigate a murder. WFTV reported that Padilla also assisted in the search for missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings, whose home in Satsuma is less than 100 miles from Orlando.
Some have offered the theory that Leonard Padilla is simply seeking media attention for personal fame and to promote his bounty hunter business. Although this might be a legitimate concern, Padilla has been a professional bounty hunter for over 32 years. It may just be that, like millions of Americans and people around the world, he has become captivated by Caylee Anthony’s story. As part of the story, he is a bit more involved than most who simply update themselves via the news or the internet, but his interests may be the same — seeing justice done for Caylee Anthony.
As for Casey Anthony, her trial has been set for October 12. She was charged with the murder of Caylee Anthony in October 2008, two months before the child’s remains were discovered. Padilla is on record stating that if Casey Anthony had anything to do with Caylee’s death, he is certain that it was an accident. He also suggested that Anthony had mental problems and would likely use insanity as a defense.
Casey Anthony has maintained her innocence throughout, insisting that she last saw Caylee when she dropped her off at a babysitter’s in June 2008. She would wait a month before informing authorities that her child was missing.
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Central Florida News