Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murder, which makes good sense.
Much of the state’s case rested on the fact that Casey didn’t seem grief-stricken at all after her daughter went missing. She actually went out dancing, had sex and got a tattoo.
Yet, for those who cannot fathom how Casey Anthony could have gone out partying with men and spending money on clothes after the death of Caylee Anthony—unless she killed her daughter—there is another potential explanation.
Some emotionally vulnerable people can experience mania—the “high” phase of bipolar disorder, essentially the opposite of depression—in the setting of unthinkable trauma or loss.
Even if you despise Casey Anthony, you have to admit that the death of her daughter (if she did not kill her) would qualify as such a trauma or loss. Symptoms of mania could then ensue, including: overspending, hypersexual behavior, sleeplessness and a sense of euphoria (which would be seen in photographs as seeming joy).
Indeed, one could imagine that a human being’s mind might well “snap” into mania if, for example, she were the victim of rape as a child (something Casey accuses her father of perpetrating), then learned that the man responsible for her rape had tried to sexually assault her daughter while using chloroform to drug her, only to cause her death “accidentally.”
And, believe it or not, a young woman in denial of her assailant’s depravity, preferring to think she was actually “chosen” as a little girl over her mother, might even cover up for her assailant and the killer of her daughter, because she has been trained to hide his assaultiveness her whole life. She might even sit still for a long, long time, despite that man making the death of her daughter look like murder by a third individual.
I’m not saying that anything really happened this way, but it could have. Really. And if it did, it would certainly explain why George Anthony would contemplate suicide in the middle of this case
(Grandparents don’t routinely try to kill themselves when their grandchildren go missing or are found dead; in fact, I have never, ever heard of it happening).
And it would also explain why George Anthony would have an affair while his granddaughter was missing (which he denies)—because in this scenario he would be unable to control his sexual impulses in a variety of venues.
Again, I am not saying that this is what happened. I am saying that it is plausible from the standpoint of a forensic psychiatrist. And I just don’t know how you send a woman to jail for life, or for decades, or to her death for killing her daughter, when there’s an alternate storyline that holds water just as well.
Keith Ablow, MD is a psychiatrist, and was host of the nationally-syndicated "Dr. Keith Ablow Show." He is a former member of the Fox News Medical A Team.