It’s been 14 years since Caylee Anthony‘s remains were found in a trash bag near her family’s home in December 2008 — but people still have questions surrounding her death, like who is Caylee Anthony’s father? While many of the details surrounding Casey Anthony‘s 2011 trial are clouded in mystery, this one is arguably the most intriguing of all. True crime aficionados aren’t the only ones in the dark about Caylee’s paternity — sources close to Casey revealed that not even the people closest to her know.
“I don’t know who the father was. She doesn’t talk about it. She will never tell anyone. She’ll take that secret to the grave,” an insider told People in June 2018. “If she knows who the father is, she’s not telling.”
While we may never know for sure who is responsible for Caylee’s paternity, several men have either come forward or been named as possible contenders. Keep scrolling to learn more about Caylee’s possible biological father.
Who Is Caylee Anthony’s Biological Father?
During Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies, Casey recalled giving birth to Caylee when she was 19 years old and said becoming a mom was the best decision she ever made.
She said the only person that matters to her is her daughter and adamantly insisted that she “didn’t hurt her.”
Casey went on to note that she has to live with the allegations that she killed her daughter every day. “No one can ever tell me I should just get over the fact that my daughter isn’t here, and I’ve been blamed for her being gone,” she said.
When asked how she became pregnant, Casey said she “was raped at 18.”
“When I was 18 I was at a house party and had a couple of beers and completely lost my memory because I was drugged,” she recalled, adding she woke up with her jeans on the floor. “I was extremely disoriented and I could feel like I had forcible sex … I was scared, confused and full of questions.”
Casey explained she didn’t report the incident because she wasn’t “sure anyone would believe me.”
Did Casey Anthony’s Brother Lee Father Her Daughter?
During the trial, Casey’s own brother was brought on the stand to testify and had to submit a DNA test to confirm that he wasn’t the child’s father. Not only did the DNA test confirm that he was not Caylee’s father, but he denied the claims too. In fact, Lee alleged that Casey hid her pregnancy from him and was not invited to the birth.
“I was angry,” he told jurors. “They didn’t want to include me.”
Did Casey Anthony’s Dad George Father Caylee?
Casey’s defense attorney, Jose Baez, also had Casey’s own father submit a DNA test to prove he didn’t father Caylee after making multiple allegations that he began sexually assaulting his daughter at a young age. While the paternity test confirmed he didn’t father Caylee, Baez has continued to allege that the former law enforcement official “regularly abused” his daughter until she was 12.
George has strongly denied the claims.
In the Peacock limited series Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies, which is set to premiere on November 29, 2022, Casey alleged that George staged Caylee’s drowning in order to cover up that he was possibly abusing her.
“I wasn’t feeling that great, and I wanted to lay down,” she told cameras about the last day Caylee was seen in June 2008. “I had her lay in bed with me.”
“I was awoken by [my father] shaking me and asking me where Caylee was,” Casey continued. “That didn’t make sense. She would never even leave my room without telling me. I immediately started looking around the house. I go outside and I’m looking to see where she could be.”
The Florida native then claimed that she saw her father holding Caylee. “He was standing there with her,” she said. “She was soaking wet. He handed her to me. Said it was my fault. That I caused it. But he didn’t rush to call 911 and he wasn’t trying to resuscitate her. I collapsed with her in my arms. She was heavy, and she was cold.”
“He takes her from me and he immediately softens his tone and says ‘It’s going to be OK,’” she continued. “I wanted to believe him. He took her from me and he went away.”
Casey added she doesn’t believe Caylee drowned in the above-ground pool. “There was no ladder … no way for her to shimmy up,” she said. “There’s no way to explain that, unless [George] put her in the pool to cover up what he did.”
While George has denied Casey’s allegations of sexual abuse and has never been charged for the crimes, she also accused him of physical abuse in the limited series. “He’d put a pillow over my face and smother me to knock me out,” she alleged. “That happened several times. I’m sure there were times where I was incapacitated as a child where my body was limp and lifeless.”
Casey admitted she worried George moved on to abusing Caylee once he stopped with her. “That’s what I think about,” she said. “I wish every day I had said something to someone about something. Maybe then things would be different.”
Is Jesse Grund Caylee Anthony’s Dad?
Jesse Grund was once engaged to Casey. During much of her pregnancy and nearly all of little Caylee’s life, he assumed the role of father, after Casey told him the baby was his even though the timing of her conception didn’t quite line up with their relationship. Eventually, a DNA test confirmed that he was not the father.
“I petitioned for a paternity test, and there was a zero percent probability,” he said on the Today show. “My attitude was, until the paternity test comes out, I’m not going to waste time or miss out if this really is my child.”
During the limited series, Casey reflected on previously telling Jesse that he was the father of Caylee. After she realized her then-boyfriend wasn’t the father, she called it a “selfish decision to not tell” him the truth about the paternity.
“I let Jesse believe the entirety of my pregnancy that he was the father,” she said, admitting she should have told him she was raped. Casey said she “lied to everyone” about who Caylee’s father is and claimed it was “an old friend.”
Is Jesus Ortiz Caylee Anthony’s Dad?
Shortly after Caylee went missing, her maternal grandma, Cindy Anthony, told the media that “Caylee’s father was in a terrible car accident, he is deceased” — and one person fit the bill. Jesus Ortiz casually dated Casey before his death in 2007 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Casey herself reportedly told friends that her former high school classmate was the father of her child.
When his family heard the news, they were shocked since they claimed Casey never hinted at the possibility that he fathered her child until after she entered the public eye.
“Miss Anthony never told the family Jesus was the father or that he might be the father,” the family said in a statement. “In fact, the family has never met her and does not know her.”
Is Casey Anthony’s Former Coworker Josh the Father of her Daughter Caylee?
A woman named Melina Calabrese, a friend of Casey, testified that Casey confided in her that she became pregnant after having a one-night stand with a man named Josh, who worked at Universal Studios alongside Casey. According to Casey’s pal, he also died in a car crash in 2007.
Of course, it was later revealed that Casey was lying to police about working at Universal Studios.
Is Eric Baker Caylee Anthony’s Dad?
Eric Baker is another candidate, who — tragically — met his demise in a 2007 car crash. During the trial, Cindy testified that an Eric Baker from either Kentucky or North Carolina fathered her granddaughter. When Eric Baker’s mother heard this, however, she said that she had never heard of Casey before her son’s name was dropped during the testimony — adding that her son would’ve been a teenager at the time Caylee was conceived.
Is Michael Duggan Caylee Anthony’s Father?
Perhaps the least likely candidate is Michael Duggan — another young man who died in a car accident in 2007. His mother, Donna, came forward during the media circus surrounding Casey’s murder trial to say that, prior to his death, her son confided in her that he had a daughter with Casey.
While no one responded to Mrs. Duggan’s allegations, she previously told The Daily Beast she is “100 percent certain” Caylee is her granddaughter.
Keep scrolling to see photos of Caylee over the years.