We Remember Caylee Marie Anthony

We Remember Caylee Marie Anthony
Last Photo of Caylee: 6.15.08

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Caylee Anthony and Samantha Runnion--Cases "Comparisons and Dissimilarities"

Caylee Anthony and Samantha Runnion

During my ongoing, extensive, and exhaustive research of the terrible tragedy of Caylee Anthony, I have found it nearly impossible to find comparisons between this case and other cases of missing children, but one case holds a handful of "comparisons".

That case is that of the then 5 year old, Samantha Runnion. The comparisons, for lack of a better word, seem to start at the beginning of each story. The comparisons which reference Caylee's story are italicised.

Caylee was not reported missing until July 15, 2008. It was only then she reported missing during a series of 911 phone calls made by Cindy Anthony, initially with hopes of having her daughter, Casey, arrested for theft of money and "stealing" a car titled to Cindy and George Anthony, Casey's parents. On the second 911 call, it is mentioned that Caylee had not been seen. Finally, on the third and last 911 call, Cindy states that Caylee is missing and "the babysitter took her".

Those 911 calls were made 31 days after Caylee was supposedly last seen by her Grandfather, George Anthony, on June 16, 2008.

Samantha Runnion went missing on July 15, 2002, when then- five-year-old Samantha was playing with her friend, Sarah Ahn, outside of her home. A man approached, asking if they had seen his chihuahua. Samantha spoke to him briefly and then he grabbed her and pulled her into his car. Samantha, fighting to get free, screamed out to her friend, "Help me! Tell my grandmother!" Sarah ran and told her mother what had happened and the massive manhunt for little Samantha Runnion began.

Caylee Anthony was reported missing July 15, 2008 during a series of 911 phone calls made by her distraught grandmother, Cindy Anthony.

Samantha was just 10 days shy of her sixth birthday when she was abducted. Samantha's birthday is July 26, 1996, and her abduction took place July 16, 2002

Caylee disappeared two months before her third birthday on August 9, 2008.

Sarah Ahn, Samantha's friend and also five-years-old, was able to provide the police with a description of the man and the details about his car. Other witnesses confirmed details for the police. They were looking for a Hispanic man with slicked-back black hair and a thin black mustache, possibly driving a light green Honda or Acura.

Casey Anthony claims her nanny, a Hispanic woman, 25, with curly or sometimes straightened hair, disappeared with Caylee the same day Casey dropped Caylee off at an apartment complex. Casey gave a description of the "nanny's car" as a light color or silver Ford Focus or a Kia Spectra.

The day following Samantha's abduction, July 16, 2002, a traumatized man called 911, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, and reported that he had found a little girl’s nude body along rural Highway 74 in neighboring Riverside County.

On July 16, 2008, Casey Anthony is arrested for felony child neglect and providing false statements to law enforcement. Before she is arrested however, in the early morning hours of July 16, 2008, a mass text is sent from Casey's cell phone stating that Caylee has been missing for 31 days.

Caller’s tips led FBI investigators to Alejandro Avila, 27, a production line supervisor from nearby Lake Elsinore. Avila reportedly denied any involvement in the murder, telling the police that he was 30 miles away on the day of the abduction. His phone and credit card records did not support his alibi.

Casey Anthony lied to law enforcement and FBI investigators regarding her employment, her whereabouts, and the "nanny" that supposedly kidnapped Caylee. Casey continues to this day to lie to authorities about any involvement in the disappearance or murder of her daughter Caylee.
Casey was also charged with economic fraud charges for the theft of monies from an ex-friend's bank account. Casey went on several shopping sprees and withdrew $250 from the ex-friend's bank account while the friend was out of town on vacation. Casey denies any involvement in this charge as well, even though there is video surveillance of Casey at the stores and bank. Casey first informed law enforcement that the last time Caylee was seen was June 9. That date later changed to June 15, 2008, as a video of Cindy, Caylee and Cindy's father came into evidence after Cindy "recalled" visiting her father on Father's Day. Others speculate the new date came about after Cindy's mother, Shirley was interviewed by law enforcement and told of Cindy and Caylee's visit to Cindy's father, where he resides in a nursing home. Shirley Plesea, Cindy's mother had also seen footage of the video as well as pictures Cindy had on her cell phone.

Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, CA

On July 24, 2002, nine days after she went missing, Samantha Runnion’s funeral was held at the Crystal Cathedral and a crowd of over 5,500 mourners attended. Mourners received a program with a drawing of Samantha’s – a little girl in a red dress, a house and a heart under a bright blue sky with her favorite saying written, "Be Brave."

On February 10, 2008, Cindy and George Anthony, Caylee's grandparents, will hold a public memorial for their granddaughter, Caylee. Caylee's remains were found December 11, 2008, approximately two months prior to the memorial. The service will be held at First Baptist Church of Orlando on South John Young Parkway. The church can accommodate 5,000 worshipers and mourners.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are expected to gather to pay their respects to the murdered child.
Much like Samantha Runnion, Caylee Anthony has captured many people's hearts. Hundreds of people from across the country are expected to attend the Memorial. However, unlike the Samantha Runnion Memorial Service, people attending Caylee Anthony's Memorial will have to pass through a metal detector before entering the church. Also, all bags of any kind will be prohibited, including back packs, cell phones and recording devices. With as many as 5,000 people attending, church officials said they want to make sure everyone is there for the right reason.

In comparison to the Anthony's, Samantha Runnion's mother, Erin Runnion, sat down with Larry King for an interview to discuss her daughter's murder.

The day after the funeral for Samantha Runnion, her mother, Erin Runnion, discussed Samantha's murder on the Larry King Live program. She expressed anger toward the jury that let Alejandro Avila go when he was on trial for a previous charge of molesting two young girls.
Erin Runnion said, "I blame every juror who let him go, every juror who sat on that trial and believed this man over those little girls, I will never understand. And that is why he was out. And that is why his sickness was allowed to do this."Transcript of the Larry King Interview with Erin Runnion (Aired July 25, 2002)

Although there are major differences in the manner of death between the two girls, and as far as "similarities", there are none, per se, to the cases. Samantha was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered. Caylee was murdered, her body left one quarter mile from her home for six months, and her mother denies any involvement, blaming the entire case on a fictitious "nanny". However, I felt the similarities of significant dates, comparison between the two families as well as the other details I have listed above were intriguing enough to notice.

Two crimes against two beautiful children that ultimately ended their lives. Each family belongs the exclusive "club" for families who have lost a child to murder. However, that is where the similarities end between the two families.

Erin Runnion stared into the face of horror and evil, when she met her daughter's killer face to face, only three months after Samantha's murder. Larry King interviewed Erin Runnion a second time, a few days after she faced her daughter’s accused killer for the first time in person at his pre-trial hearing. Erin Runnion told Larry King, "I tried to prepare myself for it, but there was no way I could. It was awful. It was awful. I don't know what it is for everybody else, but I just -- I want so much from that person. I want him to undo what he did. And I want to see some remorse. I want him to know the magnitude of what happened. And we can't get that, and so I was just in instantly flooded with tears."Larry King Interview With Erin Runnion and Mike Carona (Aired September 19, 2002)

Neither George, Cindy, nor Lee Anthony have visited Casey Anthony since her last arrest in October 2008, after a grand jury indictment on first degree murder charges against her daughter, Caylee. Casey has remained in Orange County jail without bond. The family claims they do not visit their daughter because the visits are video taped and will be released to the public.

On August 9, 2002, Alejandro Avila pleaded not guilty to the murder of Samantha Runnion. Public Defender Denise Gragg's request for a delay in the arraignment of Avila for at least a month was denied by an Orange County (CA) Superior Court judge. The judge also scheduled a pretrial hearing for September 16, 2002.
However, on October 7, 2002, a defense request to delay the preliminary hearing for Avila was granted. The hearing changed from October 11, 2002 to December 2, 2002.

Much like we are already hearing from Casey's "Scream Team" of defense lawyers and experts, they are expecting to drag this trial out as long as possible. One plausible reason would be for the case to lose media coverage, therefore it will fall to the back of potential jurors' minds. As of this posting, a change of venue has not yet been filed by Casey's defense team.

Finally, on April 28, 2005, two and a half years after the trial began, Alejandro Avila was found guilty of kidnapping, murder and two counts of sexual assault for the murder of five-year-old Samantha Runnion. On May 11, 2005, the jury began deliberations in the penalty phase of Alejandro Avila after hearing his attorney plead for mercy. On May 16, 2005, the jury deliberated for seven hours over two days before deciding to recommend the death penalty for Alejandro Avila. On July 22, 2005, four days before Samantha's 9th birthday, Orange County(CA) Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg sentenced Alejandro Avila to death telling the killer he had "forfeited his right to live."

On July 22, 2008, at Casey Anthony's bond hearing, her mother, father, and brother, Lee, testified on her behalf After setting a $500,000 bond for the 22 year old mother, Judge Stan Strickland had harsh words for Casey Anthony, including, that "(Casey) and the truth are strangers", referring to all of the fantastic and outrageous lies she has told law enforcement and FBI investigators in the attempts to find her 2 year old daughter, as well as her seemingly non-involvement in the finding of her daughter.

Erin Runnion and her partner, Ken Donnelly, established the "Joyful Child Fund" out of a commitment to turn Samantha’s tragedy into something positive. The foundation’s focus is on proactive approaches in dealing with the difficult issues of violence against children while celebrating the gift that is every child. Five and a half years after her daughter's murder, Erin still continues to speak at conferences and schools and the Joyful Child Fund is still in active operation.

It has been reported that the Anthony family, in particular, Lee Anthony, has been involved in misappropriation of funds from the fund set up in the early stages of the search for Caylee. Grocery stores that once donated space, food, and other items, as well as accepted money from the public for donations for these items as well as for the family, ceased the donations and the contributions to the search after it was reported in the media that these acts by the family were being investigated. One bank also reportedly closed an account that was originally opened as a Caylee Anthony Trust Fund. Lee Anthony is also under speculation of aiding and abetting in the crime and may face charges related to the case.

Two very different cases, two very different families.

Two beautiful little girls, whose lives were taken too soon.

Two heinous monsters, one behind bars facing the death penalty.
The other, behind bars for now, hopefully, for the remainder of her days,
or until someone with more power than I, agrees that she belongs in a small cell on death row.

For More Information Related to Samanta Runion:

Read: For more information on the Samantha Runnion case

Video: 7.26.07: Samantha's 11th Birthday video ... very touching

The Joyful Child Fund In Memory of Samantha Runnion-website dedicated to Samantha Runnion and how you can help other missing and abused children.

text: © '09 SpoiledMom


annals said...

Hi SMom, thanks for this. I have not followed missing person cases before the Anthony case. And while I thought I had an idea of how they proceed, this post made it real for me. Samantha's tragedy was a true missing child case. I call it TRUE because none of her family members actually knew where she was. The family members and witnesses told the truth because they wanted her found. So unlike the Caylee case wherein her mother, who is also the primary witness truly did NOT want her found. The similarities in the 2 cases serve to highlight that one glaring dissimilarity.

SpoiledMom said...

Thank you Annals! I knew you would "see" the post for what it was. I actually had wanted the orignial post title to reflect that point, but I could not come up with a title. As I told you earlier, this one took a while to write, so I was happy when it was finished. I am happy to accept title suggestions, if you wish.
Thanks for comments!

Remember Caylee

Song: "Mad World" Gary Jules "I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad. The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had.. It's a mad, mad world.." Video courtesy Sean Krause '08 Sleep Well Friend, Justice for Caylee has finally begun ~SM 6.23.11

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