Grandma breaks down testifying in Anthony trial

May 31, 2011 - 12:29 PM
Casey Anthony Trial

A tear rolls down the cheek of Casey Anthony during a recess after her mother Cindy Anthony testified during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, May 28, 2011. Casey Anthony is charged with the death of her daughter, Caylee. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The mother of a Florida woman charged with murdering her toddler broke down in tears on the witness stand Tuesday as prosecutors played a 911 tape in which she reported her granddaughter missing.

Cindy Anthony leaned forward with her face in her hands and sobbed as the 911 tape from July 2008 was played for jurors on the sixth day of testimony in the murder trial of her 25-year-old daughter, Casey Anthony. During the 911 call, Cindy Anthony said her daughter had just told her that her 2-year-old granddaughter, Caylee, had been missing for 31 days.

Casey Anthony is charged with first-degree murder and could be sentenced to death if convicted. She has pleaded not guilty, and her defense attorney says Caylee died in an accidental drowning in the family's swimming pool.

Minutes before listening to the 911 call in the courtroom, Cindy Anthony recounted how she had overheard Casey Anthony telling her brother that Caylee had been missing for a month

"I lost it," Cindy Anthony said between sobs. "I just went into the room and yelled at Casey, 'What do you mean she's been gone? Why didn't you tell us?'"

Cindy Anthony then called 911.

Earlier in the morning, Cindy Anthony testified about a car that Casey Anthony had been driving. The car was abandoned and then towed to a lot where her father, George Anthony, picked it up in mid-July 2008. In the 911 call, Cindy Anthony described the odor in the car as that of a dead body. But she said Tuesday that it was merely an expression she used and at that moment she didn't think a body had been in the car.

Prosecutors contend the odor in the car came from human decomposition, but defense attorneys claim it was from rotting garbage.

"I said 'Oh my gosh. What is wrong with the car?'" Cindy Anthony said from the witness stand. "The smell in the car was pretty strong."

Cindy Anthony said she opened the car's windows and trunk in order to air it out, and George took the battery out of the car because they feared Casey Anthony would return home and try to take the vehicle.

Cindy Anthony choked back tears as she described removing Caylee's favorite doll from the car and spraying it with Febreze to remove the odor. She also removed Caylee's backpack and Casey Anthony's purse.

At the time the car was retrieved from the towing lot, Casey Anthony had refused to come home for several weeks, Cindy Anthony told jurors. Casey Anthony had told her mother in a phone call that she needed space, and that's why she was staying away.