Casey Anthony's parents insist they did not steal Caylee's cross

Cross builder says realtor took it down

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Within 24 hours of placing a large cross at the spot where Caylee Anthony's body was found duct-taped in a plastic bag in 2008, the cross was gone.

Monday afternoon, George and Cindy Anthony said they had nothing to do with it, despite internet rumors that it was stolen.

They said the realtor representing the property for sale -- several acres of undeveloped swampland off Suburban Drive in East Orange County - - had it removed.

Wally Goodnough, the Sarasota man who made the cross and the trek to East Orange County on Saturday to install it, said he was told the same thing - that the cross wasn't stolen but rather removed so the property owner would have an easier time selling the property.

Still, he said he was saddened.

"It was swamp," Goodnough said. "People were throwing toys on the ground. This gave them a place to put the toys. It was done out of love for a little girl we never met."

Caylee Anthony

Goodnough hoped it wasn't stolen, like the first or second cross he built and installed.

Police responded and took a report after the first cross disappeared almost a decade ago.

Goodnough has since built three more.

"It's in honor of her," Goodnough said. "No one else is doing it for her."

Monday afternoon, News 6 spoke with the realtor representing the property owner; she did not confirm that she or the owner had removed it.

The Anthonys said the site where 2-year-old Caylee's body was discovered by a meter reader who had gone into the woods to relieve himself is still a tourist attraction, just like their home on Hopespring Drive, they said.

George Anthony, while working in his garage, said it has been nearly impossible to move past the death of Caylee, the arrest of their daughter Casey for Caylee's murder in 2008, and Casey's acquittal in 2011. 

He said people don't let them forget it. Some even stop him in his driveway.

George Anthony said it has been painful losing both his granddaughter, Caylee, and his daughter, Casey. He and Casey don't speak.

George Anthony would not comment on reports that A&E's Elizabeth Vargas plans to host an upcoming 2-hour special on the network on May 28 called "Casey's Parents Speak."

About the Author:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.