The State of Florida v. Casey Anthony: Day 12

By Nikki Namdar
Special to Valencia Voice

A K-9 from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office alerted officers to a smell in the Anthony family’s backyard during the 2008 investigation of Caylee Marie Anthony’s disappearance, according to a witness in the case against Casey Anthony.

Jason Forgey, who has been with the Orange County canine unit for over 17 years, testified Tuesday at the murder trial for the Florida mother who allegedly killed her 2-year-old daughter. If convicted, Anthony, 25, may face the death penalty.

Gerus, a certified German shepard, can detect the odor of a dead body in all different situations. Once a K-9 notices the scent, Forgey explained to the jury, his behavior noticeably changes, as he’s been “alerted” to certain findings that he is trained to detect.

When searching in Caylee’s grandparents’ backyard during the first day, Gerus, who has only had one false reading throughout his career, reacted strongly to “an area of concern,” according to Forgey.

“Within that circle, in that area – the kid’s playhouse, the kid’s little sandbox, that’s where his final train alert was,” said Forgey.

They went back for a second reading the next day, but Forgey says Gerus did not alert to anything in the backyard that time.

“I believe it was the surface, whatever the dog was alerting to was on the surface,” said Forget, then stated that whatever it was, it vanished. “That’s why we didn’t get anything the next day.”

Karin Moore, the assistant professor of law at the Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University and a former defense attorney, commented on what the two differentiating examinations of that area could mean.

“Either the dog falsely alerted the first day and there was nothing there. There are many scenarios,” she said. “If the body was not buried but lying on the surface, it makes me wonder why nobody noticed it. And if it was just sitting there, there would be no odor.”