Published December 17, 2008
Homicide investigators' search of a Florida crime scene will stretch at least until Thursday because they keep finding new evidence pointing to missing girl Caylee Anthony, police told FOXNews.com.
Authorities had hoped to wrap up the process sooner.
Prosecutors in the Anthony case visited the scene Wednesday where the skull and bones of a small child were found last week near the home of Anthony's family, according to MyFOXOrlando.
The remains have not been identified as Caylee's but the visit could indicate the state knows more than they are letting on, MyFOXOrlando. reported.
Anthony vanished in mid-June when she was 2, and until finding the remains detectives had little to go on in the way of possible forensic evidence.
Since the discovery by a meter reader, police are finding a collection of clues every day in the privately owned wooded lot near Orlando, said Carlos Padilla, a spokesman with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
"We can't specify what they are, but we continue to find evidence that's significant to the case," Padilla told FOXNews.com. "We're going to be here at least until Thursday."
The girl's mother, 22-year-old Casey Anthony, was charged in October with first-degree murder and other offenses in Caylee's presumed death.
During a hearing held a day earlier, an attorney for the sheriff's office called the bones found last week and over the weekend that of a little girl. Padilla said Caylee is on everyone's mind, but insisted coroners performing the identification and autopsy haven't offered any other answers.
"We have not been told that the remains are of a little girl," he said. "She has not been identified. We are all assuming that it's Caylee Marie. We're all thinking of little Caylee. But again, that's not definitive."
The hair attached to the skull has been rumored to be long and light brown like the missing child's, and the size and appearance of the skeletal remains also suggest a match.
Orange County Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia — who has her own Discovery Channel TV show — will likely be finished identifying the bones before Christmas.
"Dr. G.," as she is known, has had the child's remains for five days. Orange County Sheriff's Capt. Angelo Nieves estimated it would be another three to 10 before investigators could determine for certain that they are Caylee's.
"Based on the fact that we have no other individuals missing in that area that are a child, none of that is lost on the investigation," Nieves told FOXNews.com Tuesday.
The judge in the case said he'd reconsider the defense's wish for a second autopsy at a later time — if the remains are positively identified as belonging to the missing child.
"All I said last time is that I'd consider the request, but I'm not going to do it today," said Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland at Tuesday's emergency hearing.
He rejected arguments by Anthony's attorneys that they should have unfettered access to evidence collected at the crime scene, including photos, sketches, video and voice recordings.
"I can't assist you in interfering with a murder investigation," Strickland said. Having the defense inspect evidence is "not a requirement by law," he added.
Anthony is being held without bond in jail, where she was removed from psychological observation on Tuesday. She is in a cell by herself and has no contact with other inmates, according to an Orange County Jail spokesman.
The defense is backing Anthony's claim that her then 2-year-old daughter was kidnapped by a baby sitter named Zenaida Gonzalez, whom police say is made up.
Anthony's lead attorney Jose Baez released a statement through a spokesman about the defense's frustration with the lack of access to the crime scene.
Casey Anthony defense team representative Todd Black said there have been "numerous attempts to preserve the evidence" near where the child's remains were found but police and prosecutors have been uncooperative.
"Every effort by the Baez Law Firm to establish a level of basic cooperation and professional courtesy have all been rejected by the government," Black said. "This lack of cooperation has complicated how to proceed."
He also reiterated the defense's court argument that access to photos, video and sketches of the site is needed for lawyers to be able to do their job.
Caylee was last seen June 16, less than two months before she turned 3. Casey Anthony waited a month to report her daughter missing. She maintains she dropped her little girl off with Gonzalez and another woman in an apartment complex parking lot and saw them drive away together.
Police have called her story and nearly everything else she has told them about the disappearance "fiction."
The evidence has all turned up less than a half-mile from the home the young child shared with her mother and grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony, who said through their lawyer that they are "devastated" about the findings. They asked for privacy until the remains are identified.