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Mother of Missing Florida Toddler Makes Initial Court Appearance on Murder Charges

The mother of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony briefly appeared in court Wednesday on first-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges, capping an exhaustive four-month-long investigation into the little girl's whereabouts.

Casey Anthony, 22, faced an Orange County judge with her attorney Jose Baez and was ordered held without bond. She wore a dark blue prison jumpsuit and shackles, and said nothing except "yes" when asked if she was Casey Anthony during the 90-second morning hearing. Anthony nodded as the charges against her were read before being led away.

Her arraignment will be held in approximately three weeks, though no specific date was given by Judge John Jordan. Anthony was indicted Tuesday afternoon on the charges by a grand jury.

Caylee's body has never been found. She has been missing since mid-June and would have turned 3 two months after she disappeared.

Click here for photos.

Click here for the indictment.

A 19-member Florida grand jury issued the seven-count indictment, charging Anthony with aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of lying to investigators in addition to murder. She was arrested shortly thereafter and is being held without bond.

If convicted, Anthony could face life in prison or the death penalty. Prosecutors said no decision has been made on whether to seek the death penalty.

Police recently identified Anthony as a suspect in the case, though she had been called a person of interest since the investigation began in mid-July.

Caylee's family didn't report her missing for a month after she vanished. Police have said they think the child is dead based on evidence of a decomposing body found in the trunk of a Pontiac Sunfire her mother was driving.

A few hours before the indictment was issued, Anthony stood silently, sometimes crying, as her attorney told reporters his client is innocent.

"Casey is going through a nightmare and has been living a nightmare for the last seven months," Baez said. "I sincerely believe that when we have finally spoken, everyone, and I mean everyone, will sit back and say, 'Now, I understand. That explains it.'"

He said prosecutors and police "threw the kitchen sink at her a long time ago."

The grand jury heard evidence Tuesday about the charges against Anthony, including testimony from the child's paternal grandfather.

George Anthony was subpoenaed to testify about the odor of human decomposition coming from his daughter's white Pontiac, according to MyFOXOrlando.com.

The grand jury was also presented with evidence about the discovery of chloroform during the investigation and about hair samples and stains found in Anthony's trunk, MyFOXOrlando.com reported.

Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said investigators' satisfaction that the indictment had been issued was tempered by what it concludes: That Caylee was apparently killed.

"Speaking as a father, a day doesn't pass where I wish the evidence that we have gathered didn't add up to the painfully obvious," he said, adding that investigators will continue looking. "Sadly, I cannot change the facts surrounding the investigation."

Beary also said authorities wouldn't give up on searching for the girl.

"For the sake of Caylee's grandparents, her loved ones and those on every level who have worked on this case, we'll continue to do everything we possibly can to recover little Caylee," he said.

After the indictment was announced, Baez spokesman Todd Black said Lamar was rushing the case to the grand jury as a ploy to get re-elected.

In addition to Anthony's father's testimony behind closed doors, the grand jury also heard from a detective, a cadaver dog handler and an FBI agent.

For part of the grand jury hearing, the external audio system of the courtroom was left on, feeding into media trucks outside.

Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. warned members of the news media that they could be charged with criminal contempt if they made public what was said, since grand jury proceedings are secret. Perry said he didn't know what may have been heard.

The child's grandmother Cindy Anthony first called authorities in July to say that she hadn't seen Caylee for a month and her daughter's car "smelled like a dead body."

Casey Anthony told authorities she had left her daughter with a baby sitter in June and the two were gone when she returned from work. She says she spent the next month trying to find her daughter and didn't call authorities because she was scared.

Investigators immediately started poking holes in her story. The apartment where Casey Anthony said she had left her daughter had been vacant for months, they said. They said she also lied when she told them she had been working at an area theme park as a photographer.

Click here for a timeline of the case.

Click here for some of the documents released.

Click here for more from MyFOXOrlando.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.