The mother of missing Florida toddler Caylee Anthony is countersuing a woman who filed a defamation lawsuit against her for naming her as the child's kidnapper.
Casey Anthony, 22, filed a counter lawsuit against Orlando resident Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, after Gonzalez sued her days earlier for saying she was the baby sitter Anthony left then 2-year-old Caylee with when she vanished, according to MyFOXOrlando.com.
Anthony is jailed on first-degree murder and other charges in the disappearance of her little girl, who is presumed dead. Investigators don't believe her story that she left Caylee with a sitter, and have released evidence they say proves Anthony killed her.
Anthony's attorney Jose Baez countersued Gonzalez Friday on the grounds that her lawsuit is "frivolous" and simply a publicity stunt by her lawyer, MyFOXOrlando.com reported.
Baez said Gonzalez filed her litigation "to harass and embarrass" Anthony, and her attorney John Morgan is attempting to "generate publicity for his law firm."
Gonzalez formally sued Anthony two days earlier, saying that she was wrongfully accused of kidnapping Caylee and the information Anthony gave to police was "done with malice," according to MyFOXOrlando.com. She said she has never met Anthony or her family.
Baez spokesman Todd Black said Friday it isn't the same woman.
"The Zenaida Gonzalez that Ms. Anthony was referring to drove a different car; she had a different name and she had less [sic] children than the plaintiff has," the counter claim says. "In Orange County, Florida, alone, there are more than 20 listings for a Zenaida Gonzalez, and the plaintiff cannot prove that she has been defamed."
When shown a photo of the Zenaida Gonzalez who is suing her, Anthony said it wasn't the woman she left Caylee with, according to the countersuit.
Anthony is seeking damages of more than $15,000, along with attorney fees and court costs, MyFOXOrlando.com said.
Meanwhile, Caylee's grandparents said Monday that they will issue a statement this week through their new family representative about their belief that the little girl is still alive, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
"Hopefully, by the end of the week the public will understand why we've been searching for Caylee Marie," Michelle Bart, who took over as Anthony family spokeswoman, told the Sentinel. "We truly believe that Caylee Marie is alive."
Bart, the spokeswoman for the Kid Finders Network, replaced Larry Garrison as the family's representative after the Anthonys' attorney accused him of hiding a payment from a TV network for photos of the child, the paper said.
Garrison was retained in August to speak to the media on behalf of the Anthonys. He resigned last Wednesday.
"Due to the erratic behavior over the last several months exhibited by the Anthony family, Larry Garrison is resigning as their spokesperson," he said in a prepared statement.
"It is my opinion that others have manipulated them into situations that would not dignify the family. I can no longer be part of that behavior."
Anthony family lawyer Mark Nejame laughed at the statement and said it was released minutes after Garrison learned he'd been fired, MyFOXOrlando.com reported.
Nejame said Garrison was canned for pocketing money he demanded for interviews with Caylee's grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony.
Casey Anthony has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of lying to investigators about the disappearance of her daughter.
She didn't report Caylee missing until July. The toddler disappeared two months shy of her third birthday.
Forensic tests released last month confirmed that hair found in the trunk of Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire came from a decomposing body. DNA evidence suggests a corpse had been in the car's trunk. The child hasn't been found.