10 years after Caylee's disappearance Casey Anthony seeks lawsuit dismissal

Former Orange County meter reader suing for defamation

Nearly a decade after 2-year-old Caylee Anthony was last seen alive, her mother, Casey Anthony, continues to fight litigation related to the toddler's death.

WKMG-TV reported that Anthony filed a motion this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by Roy Kronk, the former Orange County meter reader who found the child's remains in a wooded area near the family's home.

Shortly after a jury acquitted Anthony in 2011 of murdering her daughter, Kronk sued Anthony for allegedly instructing her lawyers to make false and defamatory statements that implicated the meter reader in the toddler's death.

Kronk claims Anthony also directed her legal team to suggest Kronk may have tampered with the child's skeleton after he first discovered it in August 2008.

An Orange County deputy did not thoroughly investigate Kronk's initial tip, authorities said.  
Kronk returned to the same location four months later and contacted law enforcement again to report finding the child's skull.

In his lawsuit, Kronk points to a 2009 interview on CBS in which one of Anthony's attorneys, Linda Kenny Baden, stated that detectives should have considered Kronk a suspect.

"You know, it's easy to snatch a kid away," Baden said in response to a question about whether Kronk was a killer.

The same day of the interview, Anthony's lawyers released videos of Kronk's two ex-wives describing him as violent.

"He probably was the one that had murdered Caylee or had something to do with it," Jill Kerley said in one of the videos.

During opening statements in Anthony's murder trial, attorney Jose Baez told jurors, "Mr. Kronk is a morally bankrupt individual who actually took Caylee's body and hid her."

Kronk's defamation lawsuit against Anthony was later transferred to bankruptcy court after Anthony filed for protection from creditors following her acquittal on murder charges.

In a motion for summary judgment filed late Monday, Anthony argued that Kronk's claims should be discharged from her bankruptcy case. Kronk has presented no evidence proving that Anthony herself directed her attorneys to make public statements about the meter reader, according to the motion. 

Anthony also argues that the attorneys' comments were not defamatory. 

Instead, Anthony claims her lawyers made those statements to demonstrate that detectives "rushed to judgment" and had "tunnel vision" when it came to focusing on Anthony over other potential suspects.

Besides his lawsuit against Anthony, Kronk is also pursuing a defamation case against Leonard Padilla, the cowboy hat-wearing California bounty hunter who became a TV celebrity after posting Anthony's $500,000 bond following her 2008 arrest.

Kronk claims Padilla made numerous defamatory statements about him while appearing on several cable talk shows.

Last month, Kronk filed a motion asking a circuit court judge to enter a $250,000 judgment against Padilla after the bounty hunter reportedly failed to appear at a deposition more than three years ago.

In 2015, a circuit court judge dismissed a defamation case Kronk filed against the publisher of The National Enquirer over a tabloid article titled "Meter Reader Killed Caylee."

Also in 2015, the judge presiding over Anthony's bankruptcy case dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed against Anthony by Zenaida Gonzalez.

Gonzalez claimed that Anthony tried to frame her for the child's disappearance by claiming a babysitter with the same name had kidnapped the toddler.

About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter Mike DeForest has been covering Central Florida news for more than two decades. Mike joined News 6 just as Florida officials began counting hanging chads in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election. Since then, he has covered some of the biggest news events in Central Florida.