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Casey Anthony to be Released Sunday; Is She in Danger?

6:08 PM, Jul 15, 2011   |    comments
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Casey Anthony reacts after being found not guilty of the murder of her daughter Caylee

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    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Casey Anthony will be out of jail Sunday, and some experts say she has reason to be afraid.

    Anthony was acquitted July 5 in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, a verdict that sparked outrage from those who thought she was guilty. Scores of angry Facebook pages sprang up, some with threatening messages.

    MORE: Okla. Woman says she was Attacked for Looking like Casey Anthony

    Michael Mantell, a former chief psychologist with the San Diego Police Department, says the release could prompt attacks on her life. John Kendall, a former U.S. marshal who worked in witness protection, says Anthony will be at high risk for the next few months.

    "Is she going to make the tour? Talk shows? Book signings? Public appearances? If she does, then she is at an incredible risk," Kendall says. "If I was handling this case, we would relocate her somewhere else in the country, change her identity and change her appearance."

    Anthony's plans are not known. Her lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

    MORE: Judge in Casey Anthony Defamation Suit Steps Aside

    Because she has been in jail for three years, Anthony probably does not realize how notorious she is, says Lisa Boesky, a psychologist who has followed the case for cable TV's HLN since 2008.

    "One of the most difficult adjustments for Casey Anthony will be going from three years of living alone ... to being tracked, followed and recorded by every news outlet that can find her," Boesky says. "Her safety may truly be threatened. There is a small subset of the public who want to physically harm her."

    Orange County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Susan Soto says the department has made security plans for Anthony's release; she would not describe them. Once Anthony is free, she will not get special protection unless someone makes a verified threat, Capt. Angelo Nieves says.

    MORE: Casey Anthony Offered $1M For First Interview

    Hiring private security would be very expensive, Kendall says: "A couple hundred dollars an hour, around-the-clock guards and their housing - you can imagine what it would look like after a month."

    Mantell says Anthony may be at risk of harm from people who think she got away with murder - or may want to harm herself. She should get therapy, he says.

    "I hope she is fearful, I hope she is in a state of depression, I hope she is feeling suffering - because those would be normal reactions," Mantell says. "Guilt is a healthy normal reaction. She has remarkable demons that we hope she has to deal with, because that would be an indication that she has some psychological health."

    David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, says he does not believe Anthony is in much danger and says she could eventually lead a normal life. "I just don't think that the collective memory is really that long," he says.

    "I don't think that somebody could imagine that by harming her they would win a lot of applause," Finkelhor says.

    Mantell says Anthony will never lead a normal life.

    "She is not going to be a suburban housewife who will be a welcome part of the PTA," he says. "She will be made into a media nightmare. She will be used as a clown and buffoon. The smartest thing she can do is go far, far away."

    USA Today

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