Published January 23, 2009
The grandfather of murdered Orlando girl Caylee Anthony is being evaluated at a hospital after he was reported missing and sent messages to his family that he wanted to end his life.
George Anthony was found early Friday morning at a motel in Volusia County, Fla., with a suicide note after disappearing a day earlier. Family attorney Brad Conway said in a 911 call released Friday that Anthony left home with several bottles of medication and some photographs.
"We're worried that he's done something to himself," Conway told the dispatcher.
His daughter, 22-year-old Casey Anthony, is in jail charged with 2-year-old Caylee's murder.
Conway told reporters Friday that police helped avert another tragedy in the case by acting immediately rather than waiting the usual 24 hours after someone vanishes.
"Had they done that, we would have had a very different outcome today," the lawyer said. "At worst, George would not be with us if not for the efforts of the law enforcement agencies."
In addition to the prescription drugs, alcohol was also found with Anthony, as well as pictures of his wife, daughter and granddaughter.
Anthony was listed in stable condition Friday at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach. Hospital spokeswoman Salina Wang said he'll be admitted after being observed.
"He was taken to a hospital because he was texting his family saying that he was despondent and saying that he didn't want to live any more," said police spokesman Jimmie Flynt. The note found with him indicated suicidal thoughts, Flynt said.
Conway said the family needed distance and George Anthony would be under "intense supervision" after the events of the past 24 hours.
"George has been through a lot. The whole family has been through a lot," he said. "He's OK, and there's relief all the way around."
Anthony failed to show up to a meeting with his family and their lawyer on Thursday. After they were notified, detectives from the Orange County Sheriff's Office reported Anthony missing and began looking for him.
Sheriff's spokesman Carlos Padilla told reporters Friday that police knew "it was imperative to act immediately" once they learned of the circumstances surrounding Anthony's disappearance.
Orange County officers tracked signals from Anthony's cell phone to a location near Bethune Point and also used a description of his car in their search. He was found about 2 a.m. Friday at the Hawaii Motel on South Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach.
Anthony sent text messages to his family saying he wanted to end his life, according to Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood. Chitwood said Anthony told him there was a lot of pressure on him and he needed to think.
The police chief took him to the hospital under Florida's Baker Act, which provides for involuntary hospitalization for those considered serious threats to themselves or others. Doctors can hold Anthony there for up to 72 hours, Flynt said.
No drugs or weapons were found in Anthony's hotel room early Friday morning.
"We do know George Anthony is saying, 'I don't want to live anymore,'" Chitwood said.
Documents made public on Wednesday suggest Casey Anthony once joked about drugging Caylee.
A former boyfriend, Ricardo Morales, told investigators she had made jokes about giving Caylee baby medicine to put her to sleep, according to MyFOXOrlando.com. But he also said she seemed to have a normal relationship with her daughter.
Casey Anthony, who has claimed that a baby sitter kidnapped Caylee, was notified of her father's condition on Friday morning.
A utility worker found the Caylee's body in December in woods near where she lived with her mother and grandparents. She was reported missing in July, a month after she was last seen.
Documents released by the state attorney's office this week revealed that the toddler's mouth was covered with silver duct tape that had been adorned with a heart-shaped sticker.
The reports also showed that duct tape was attached to her hair, and the girl's remains were placed in a laundry-hamper bag and then secured in a plastic garbage bag before they were left in the woods.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.