Published December 12, 2008
The plastic bag and duct tape reportedly found with the remains of a child's body in Orlando, Fla., could help tie the unidentified skeleton to missing toddler Caylee Anthony, a forensic pathologist tells FOXNews.com.
The remains, found Thursday by a utility worker less than half a mile from Caylee's home, have yet to be identified, but investigators will be searching the scene for "a treasure trove of forensic evidence," FOX News contributor Michael Baden said.
Pathologists should be able to identify the body quickly from dental records, Baden said, and the plastic and duct tape could provide additional vital clues, including fingerprints. They could also provide clues to how the child died, and to who dumped the body.
"The beauty of duct tape — no matter rain, snow, sleet — that fingerprint will stay there," Baden said, adding that if someone used their teeth to rip it, it could yield DNA evidence too.
"Right now, they would be looking at all the contents of the plastic bag and they would be looking at the plastic bag itself," Baden said. "The fingerprints on the outside often get dissolved away by weather, but the inside of the plastic bag, the fingerprints would be there."
Two-year-old Caylee Anthony has been missing since June 16. 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 her disappearance.
Evidence found in the trunk of Casey Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire showed a decomposing body had been kept there. Strands of Caylee's hair were found, as were traces of chloroform.
"One important thing that I’ve hoped they’ve done already is take an air sample from the bag because they found chloroform in the vehicle and the cause of death still has to be determined," Baden said.
Finding chloroform could poke holes in the prosecution's first-degree murder case, if this is Caylee's body, he said.
"If it is chloroform as the cause of death, then it could be an accidental overdose and would not be capital, first-degree murder, because sometimes chloroform is used as a babysitter, to put a baby to sleep while mom goes out partying," Baden said.
If dental records cannot be used to identify the body, DNA evidence will be used to identify the skeletal remains. The remains will also be examined for signs of trauma.
"If there are fractures to the skeleton, then that goes again to first degree -- intentional suffering on the part of the baby," Baden said. "They can tell the baby suffered."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.