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Rated: E · Preface · Crime/Gangster · #2269494
Narrative Nonfiction + Character Narration

Zanny the Nanny


Narrative Nonfiction + Character Narration

Little Caylee Anthony's death holds a unique place in American criminal history. It has lingered in our memories for more than a decade after the first news story initiated a cycle of continuing national interest in the question, "Who Killed Caylee Anthony?" The public now welcomes Caylee's story reported in a new way.

As the journalist of record for her story, I confirmed in my research that Caylee's family was structured with a strict top-down decision-making hierarchy. At the top was its undisputed alpha leader, Cindy Anthony. Second in command was her husband, George, and at the bottom of the power pyramid was Caylee's mother, Casey. In most families, a newborn is a blessing who is welcomed. Not so in Cindy's family. The family's reaction to Caylee's impending birth was coming soon was defensive, as if the baby was an immediate existential threat to everyone in the family. It challenges my fact-based style of reporting to show readers how a child could be perceived to be a threat. My follow up question was who is it in the family that couldn't accept living with the unexpected blessing? Before Caylee's third birthday, she was killed in the backyard pool at the hands of a family member she trusted.

Prosecutors found a slam dunk suspect and tried Caylee's mother, Casey, in Judge Belvin Perry's Orlando courtroom. There were 40 million TV watchers following the trial as it was livestreamed from the court. Today, a decade later, those trial watchers expect new reporting that shows why the three (Cindy, George, and Casey) players in the Anthony family power pyramid covered up Caylee's homicide and why they protected her killer for a decade. Their coverup continues to this day, and as a result, Caylee's killer remains unconfirmed and unpunished.

My story is narrated by a special person. Zanny the Nanny reveals Caylee's killer with a unique kind of fact-based storytelling. I am the author, and my first report was published for Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism at that university. I made a strategic choice to combine a literary device known as narrative nonfiction with another writer's device known as character narration for this story.

Each has its own genre, and they almost always are separate from one another. My new format starts where I start, with a journalist's fact-based record-sourcing. I support the evidence file reporting with a narrator who is a central part of the official case record. This unique format of character narration introduces the reader to a first-person continuity in the experience as if the reader was looking over Zanny's shoulder, listening to her conversations, and sharing her thoughts. The death of Caylee went according to plan. First, the killing of Caylee, and then the coverup that required the active participation of all three Anthony's to be successful. Their crimes have been hidden for more than a decade now.

Zanny's narration moves from her post-trial personal references to file evidence where she talks about what she knew and then into her in the moment reflections from moments from being with Caylee. That transition by Zanny from her comments post-trial to her Zanny character in the story provides that narration continuity readers need.

Law enforcement was told by the family that Zanny was a trusted member of their family. They said they wanted Caylee to be in Zanny's care. So Zanny has a story to tell that was never reported by the media and never followed up by law enforcement. It is the only account that exposes the Casey Anthony family dynamic as Caylee herself experienced it. Zanny is the only one who can share Caylee's brief life with her readers. 1

My source files include depositions from some of the nine court appointed psychologists who interviewed and evaluated the mental condition of the accused. I have the complete transcript of the trial as it was livestreamed from Judge Belvin Perry's courtroom. In addition, I had access to numerous media reports and interviews that were able to confirm a criminal coverup driven by the sociopathic behavior buried in the Anthony family relationships. My sources are confirmed and verified as part of the official court record.

Zanny's narration shares for readers a true story of Caylee Anthony's homicide as it was planned and carried out in her home by a family member she trusted. Character narration is a recognized literary device I introduce to my readers, and then supplement with official transcripts published alongside Zanny's narration throughout his manuscript.i

Prosecutors were serious about proving their charges against the accused child killer, and they were anxious for her jury to return a verdict of guilty as charged. State Attorneys asked the jury for an execution to be carried out by the state of Florida. Florida law would permit Casey to choose to die by lethal injection or by the Electric Chair. When the jury acquitted her after a short deliberation, the court of public opinion's public jury of 40 million TV trial watchers was shocked.

Readers who have an eye toward providing the justice they never found in the original coverage of the case are rewarded here. The outcome that introduces justice for Caylee needs to bring Zanny back into the family's story. She is my narrator, and she speaks as a virtual member of the Anthony family. She proves to be the critical value-added for readers --- as they can confirm for themselves everything Zanny says has its foundation from the facts of the case. 2

Keith Long
                   1          https://www.frvpld.info/genre-guide-narrative-nonfiction
                   2          https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/g/the-great-gatsby/character-analysis/nick-carraway#:~:text=Nick%20Carraway%2C%20the%20story's%20narrator,is%20both%20narrator%20and%20participant.

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