Orlando media sources are reporting that a despondent George Anthony, father of indicted-for-murder Casey Anthony, was reported missing early this morning after threatening suicide. He was later found at a Daytona Beach motel.
The Anthonys’ attorney, Brad Conway, said George was okay. He was taken into custody under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows the state to hold people involuntarily pending a psychiatric evaluation. (This is similar to California’s “5150” hold that allowed doctors to commit Britney Spears.) George’s 5-page suicide letter said he wanted to end his life, and go to be with Caylee.
The lead investigator in the case and several Orange County sheriff’s deputies responded to the house of George and Cindy Anthony late Thursday night. His family had grown increasingly concerned when George missed a scheduled meeting Thursday afternoon.
Sheriffâ€™s officials and Conway said George left his home early Thursday morning and hadn’t been seen since. He reportedly took family pictures and prescription medications with him. Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said George sent what were described as “disturbing” text messages to family members. Chief Chitwood’s interview is here.
“He had text-messaged family members that he wanted to end his life,” Chitwood said. “George is okay, thank God,” Conway said. “Had it not been for a cooperative effort between Orange County and Volusia County, I don’t know what the outcome would have been. George is now safe.”
George was found in Daytona Beach at the Hawaii Motel. Deputies used GPS and signals from George’s cell phone to track his car (watch raw video here). The suicide note was found inside his car.
“When they arrived on the scene, George was talking to them and was fine,” said Conway. “Weâ€™re having him checked out to be sure.” George was taken to Halifax Medical Center for observation. He could be held involuntarily for up to 72 hours.
George, wife Cindy, and their son Lee Anthony are facing possible criminal indictment charges, for obstruction of justice in the Casey Anthony case. George and Cindy’s granddaughter, Caylee Anthony was murdered, and her remains were found in December just yards away from the Anthony home in Orlando. Their daughter Casey is charged with her murder and is awaiting trial in the Orange County Jail.
Caylee Anthony still has not been buried, and her remains are currently in a cardboard box at an Orlando funeral home. Horrible. It seems all of the incredible stress and grief got to George and he snapped.