In the nearly nine years since Caylee Anthony first went missing — and was later found dead in a trash bag in a wooded area near her family’s house — many questions people have had about her death, and her mother, Casey Anthony’s, trial have remained unanswered.
Casey Anthony’s Former Bodyguard Believes She Killed Caylee “Without a Doubt”
But few questions have inspired as much intrigue as much as the identity of the toddler’s father.
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.
Caylee with her maternal grandma. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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, 21-year-old Jesus Ortiz, who Casey had casually dated before his death in 2007. Casey herself reportedly told friends that her former high school classmate was the father of her child.
MUST SEE: ‘Casey Anthony: An American Murder Mystery’ to Debut This Weekend — Check out Everything You Need to Know!
When his family heard the news, they were shocked — since they claim Casey never hinted at the possibility that he fathered her child until after she entered the public eye because of her daughter’s disappearance, death, and subsequent trial.
“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.”
Casey while on trial for her daughter’s death. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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.
Eric Baker is another candidate, who — tragically — met his demise in a 2007 car crash. During the trial, Cindy Anthony 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.
Jesse and Casey during happier times for the couple. (Photo Credit: Today)
Jesse Grund was once engaged to Casey — and 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 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.”
MUST SEE: Casey Anthony Says She “Sleeps Pretty Good at Night” Nearly 10 Years After Her Daughter’s Death
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. Fortunately, the DNA test confirmed that he was not Caylee’s father.
Casey’s parents, George and Cindy. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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.
Perhaps the least likely candidate is Michael Duggan — another young man who sadly 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.
George Anthony Sounds Off on Casey’s Interview: “[My] Heart Hurts Even More”
While no one responded to Mrs. Duggan’s allegations, she previously told The Daily Beast she is “100 percent certain” Caylee is her granddaugher.
Relive Caylee’s short but sweet life in the gallery below!
Caylee's official cause of death was ruled "death by undetermined causes," but the medical examiner ruled it a homicide.