The skeletal remains of a small child were found Thursday near the home of missing Orlando girl Caylee Anthony's family.
There was no immediate word on whether the bones, reportedly discovered wrapped in a plastic bag and bound with duct tape, were those of a boy or a girl.
"All we know is that remains of a child have been found," a police spokeswoman told FOXNews.com.
Orange County sheriffs and forensics teams were working at the scene at the intersection of South Chickasaw Trail and Suburban Drive, on the edge of the Anthonys' neighborhood about 10 miles southeast of downtown Orlando.
Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Solomons said that a utility worker found the body at 9:32 a.m. EST Thursday in a wooded area less than a half-mile from the house Caylee lived in with her grandparents and mother.
The water meter reader reportedly picked up the bag and a small skull rolled out that sources say strongly resembled that of a little girl.
There were reports of duct tape around the mouth area of the child's skull.
Police said the Anthony family has been notified of the discovery and no one is being allowed in their house. Sheriffs were preparing a search warrant for the Anthony home, MyFOXOrlando.com reported.
Caylee has been missing since June, two months shy of her third birthday.
Her mother, Casey Anthony, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder of her daughter, child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of lying to investigators about Caylee's disappearance.
Anthony faces life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors said last week they won't seek the death penalty in the case.
Orange County Capt. Angelo Nieves wouldn't say whether the bones seemed to be those of the missing little girl.
"At this point, it would be reckless to conclude that," Nieves told FOX News. "We do have skeletal remains consistent with a small child. We will work with the medical examiner to make a proper identification."
Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said his deputies were investigating with the FBI.
"We're all working on this case together," he told reporters at an afternoon press briefing. "We've got a lot of lab work to do, a lot of DNA work to do, a lot of crime scene work to do. We may be here all night."
Todd Black, the spokesman for Casey Anthony's defense attorney, told the Orlando Sentinel he hoped the discovery was not related to their case.
"If it is, it is a sad day," he said.
The medical examiner declined to offer details about its involvement.
"We have been advised to do a recovery, but until our investigator comes back with the information we have no comment," said Sheri Blanton, senior program manager for the Orange County Medical Examiner's office.
It is more difficult to identify a child's body than an adult's, experts say.
Dr. Lee Jantz, coordinator of the forensic anthropology center at the University of Tennessee, said the first thing medical examiners will do is compare photos of the child with the skull, in hopes of making a bone structure comparison. In high-profile cases the DNA of the bones will also be tested.
Mandy Albritton, a member of EquuSearch — one of the groups that searched for the missing toddler — said their volunteers did not check the location in early September because it was submerged in water. When they returned in November, the site had been fenced off.
One of EquuSearch's volunteers, Deborah Smith, searched the area three times and said "she had a bad feeling" because Anthony had said her daughter was nearby.
"It's really wet and steep and there's lots of snakes back there," she said.
"I do believe it's (Caylee Marie)," Smith said.
Earlier Thursday, Ninth Circuit Judge Stan Strickland complied with a request by defense lawyer Jose Baez to put off the start date of her trial from Jan. 5 until March. He set another hearing for Jan. 15.
Baez also asked for a change of venue.
Also this week, Baez said he was seeking a court order for surveillance video from a local mall taken the day of a reported sighting of Caylee.
He is asking the Florida Mall be ordered to turn over the footage captured in November in a play area of the Orlando shopping center, where an employee says she snapped a photo of a Caylee look-alike on Nov. 16.
"I took my last cell phone picture as the woman (accompanying the little girl) tried to cover her head with her arm to hide from me taking her picture," mall employee Halima Solomita told MyFOXOrlando.com.
Caylee's mother and grandparents did not report her missing until July, about a month after she was last seen.
FOXNews.com's Catherine Donaldson-Evans and The Associated Press contributed to this report.