On December 11, 2008, Caylee Anthony’s remains were found near the home of her mother, Casey Anthony. Three years later — after a highly-publicized murder trial captivated the country — Casey was found not guilty of murdering her daughter.
It has been 10 years since Caylee’s disappearance, but the identity of her biological father is still unclear. In a recent interview, a source close to Casey Anthony, now 32, told People that she had no idea who the father was.
“I don’t know who the father was,” the source said. “She doesn’t talk about it. She will never tell anyone. She’ll take that secret to the grave.”
Over the years, rumors have swirled about the identity of Caylee’s father. At least seven men, ranging from one of Casey’s coworkers to multiple members of Casey’s immediate family, have been alleged to be the father.
Read on to find out who these men are and why they have been considered, as well as why we may never know who the father actually is.
1. Jesse Grund (Casey’s Former Fiancé)
Shortly after Casey Anthony became pregnant with Caylee, she allegedly told her ex-fiancé, Jessie Grund, that he was the father. In a 2008 interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Grund stated that he initially had doubts that he was the father; Caylee was born in August and the two had only started dating in January.
Still, he claimed to have treated Caylee as his own daughter until a paternity test proved otherwise six weeks later.
Grund discussed his relationship with Casey with NBC’s Matt Lauer, which he believed was initially strong but spiraled out of control when Casey “started to lie about things” including stealing money from him and seeing someone else during their relationship.
2. “Josh” (Casey’s Alleged Coworker at Universal Studios)
In 2011, CNN reported that Casey had a conversation with her close friend Milena Cabrese about the father’s identity. Though Cabrese initially believed Jesse Grund was the father, Casey had told her otherwise.
During their conversation, Casey told Cabrese that her daughter was born out of a one-night stand with a man named Josh. Cabrese also noted that, according to Casey, Josh was “really hot” and had “passed away in a car accident shortly after Caylee’s second birthday.”
Casey, who claimed to have met Josh when they both worked at Universal Studios, later revealed that she never actually worked there, complicating this story further.
3. Michael Patrick Duggan (Died in 2007 Car Crash)
In 2011, Donna MacLean told The Daily Beast that her son, Michael Patrick Duggan, was Caylee’s father.
She recounted a phone call in the summer of 2007, taking place just months before her son’s death in a car accident. MacLean recounts that, during the phone call, her son told her he had a granddaughter, Casey Anthony was the mother, and George and Cindy Anthony were the grandparents. MacLean also stated in the interview that Caylee (in photos) “looked so much like [her] family, like [she] did when [she] was little.”
Both Casey Anthony and her mother Cindy have testified that Caylee’s father died in a car accident in 2007, and MacLean asserts that the man they are talking about is her son.
4. Jesus Ortiz (Formerly Dated Casey, Died in 2007 Car Crash)
Coincidentally, like Michael Patrick Duggan, Jesus Ortiz also died in a car crash in 2007. Ortiz, another former boyfriend of Casey, could also have been the person Casey and her mother Cindy referred to during their testimony about the identity of Caylee’s father.
5. Eric Baker (died in car crash, briefly mentioned in the trial)
Another name floated around is Eric Baker, who according to CNN also died in a car crash. In a CNN interview, Cindy Anthony recounted a conversation she had with Casey, who told her that Caylee’s father was a man named Eric Baker.
According to Cindy, Casey had a one-night stand with Baker, an old friend of Casey’s who lived in a different state, had a one-night stand. Cindy went on to say that she had never met Baker.
6. Lee Anthony (Casey’s Brother)
Tony Lazzaro, a former boyfriend of Casey, has claimed that Casey’s brother Lee Anthony had unsuccessfully made sexual advances toward his sister. Additionally, during the murder trial, Jessie Grund (Casey’s former fiancé) described “one point in recent years that [Casey] woke up one night with Lee standing up over her.” He also recounted a time Casey told him about her brother groping her.
Despite this, when Lee Anthony’s DNA was tested by the FBI during the trial, he was definitively ruled out as Caylee’s father.
7. George Anthony (Casey’s Father)
George Anthony, Caylee’s grandfather, has been rumored to be Caylee’s father as well. Allegations that George Anthony had sexually abused Casey were introduced in the opening arguments of the trial; defense attorney Jose Baez claimed that Casey’s conflicting statements surrounding the circumstances of her daughter’s death were a defense mechanism resulting from the years of sexual abuse she experienced from her father.
Still, like Casey’s brother, her father George had his DNA tested by the FBI during the trial. His test also excluded him as a possible father for Caylee.
100% Casey Anthony is still guilty
— Malia (@Malia_Graham) June 11, 2018
These various theories have certainly complicated the search for answers. And getting these answers directly from the source seems unlikely as well.
Casey Anthony has long been reluctant to reveal the identity of Caylee’s father.
“If she knows who the father is, she’s not telling,” the source told People. “She definitely won’t ever say anything publicly. I doubt anyone will ever know.”
It’s also worth noting that no one has directly come forward claiming to be the father. This could be the case for a number of reasons: perhaps the father died (as Casey and her mother have claimed), or he has chosen to remain silent — or maybe he doesn’t even know.
Roman Chiarello is a writer and aspiring journalist who is committed to helping others. He currently attends Pace University and resides in New Jersey.