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Missing girl’s mother partied, witnesses say

Associated Press / May 26, 2011

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ORLANDO — The mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter partied, promoted nightclub events, and entered a swimsuit contest around the time the toddler disappeared, according to testimony yesterday, and the woman asked a neighbor to borrow a shovel two days after the little girl was last seen alive.

Casey Anthony, 25, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her daughter, Caylee. Prosecutors said Caylee died from three pieces of duct tape being placed over her mouth and nose. Anthony’s lawyer has said the toddler accidentally drowned in her grandparents’ pool.

Caylee was last seen on June 16, 2008. One of the grandparents’ neighbors, Brian Burner, testified that Anthony asked him June 18 if she could borrow a shovel to “dig up a bamboo root.’’ She returned the shovel about an hour later, he said.

Burner also said he remembered seeing Anthony’s white car backed into the garage on the afternoon of June 16.

About a month before that, Anthony met Tony Lazaro during a party. They soon became romantically involved and she moved into an apartment he was sharing with four other people.

Her former roommates testified that they met Anthony’s daughter several times and they never saw her again after a point in early June.

When they asked about Caylee, her mother told them the girl was with her nanny at a theme park or going to the beach.

The four witnesses said Anthony’s demeanor never suggested anything was wrong. She would cook, clean, and help out around the apartment, they said.

“She was a regular 22-year-old girl,’’ said Cameron Campana, a club promoter who was a college student at the time. “Peppy. She seemed normal.’’

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