Chasing Casey

America's top not-guilty murderess is holed up in Geauga County AND WE TRACK HER DOWN.

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10:24 a.m.

The Long, Obfuscating Arm of the Law

Back at the station house, Sheriff's Lieutenant John Hiscox wears the tired air of an honest knight of justice, all bruised and battered from his joust with the unmitigated corruption and slavering evil that run wild like hogs through his town every day. He agrees to sit down with select members of the Adventure News Team for an exclusive interview on the troubling reports that there's a misplaced non-murderer lurking among the townsfolk.

"The only calls that we're getting about it are from the media," Hiscox says, his voice now dripping with unease. The "official" line is clear: The Geauga County Sheriff has no knowledge about Casey Anthony being within county lines. And no, they haven't provided any clandestine escorts for recently acquitted Floridians — not officially anyway. Hiscox knows nothing about a daycare. Officially speaking, that is.

But then he breaks down under the heat of interrogation. Yes, Casey sightings are on the rise. "Now everybody and his brother who sees a girl with long brown hair thinks it must be Casey Anthony," he says.

It's an insidious turn of events indeed, delivered straight from the loose lips of the law: The town has been stocked full of Casey Anthony decoys.

But there's more, Hiscox unwittingly reveals. The reports first came in last week, when a Cleveland TV station called with a tip about a moving truck and police escort delivering Casey to a house on Bell Road in Newbury. The Sheriff's department coyly asked what markings were seen on those escort vehicles. The station responded they were marked plain as day: Newbury Police.

"The Newbury Police Department has been gone for years," Hiscox blurts.

Exactly who could muster such executive leverage as to quickly redeploy a long-shuttered police force? Hiscox deftly chooses not to elaborate.

Bell Road — that's where the lawman says Anthony was spotted. But after 45 minutes of hunting for the elusive address, it becomes crystal clear that Bell Road is just the place for a homicidal hottie to ride out the media storm. The street is impossible to find. Even with directions from two more gas station attendants plus an online map, the byzantine backroads fail to cough up Bell. Only one conclusion can emerge. Casey Anthony had it removed the way only a high-powered sex-kitten fugitive evading America's watchful eye can: She paid off Google. The corruption knows no end.

The conspiracy grows, but so do the myriad possibilities. Faced with an August sun growing hot and a trail going cold, we turn to a local coffeeshop and a teenage barista with a twitchy tongue. This girl's spilling more than decaf.

"I haven't seen her, but I know someone who has," she says, pausing just long enough for us to turn the page of our exclusive Adventure News Team reporter's notebook. "My friend's uncle's roommate saw her eating at an Italian restaurant in Newbury. Mangia! Mangia!"

One tip starts the goose chase. Two tips corners the goose. And she wasn't the first gander to squawk this name.

Italian restaurant. Mangia! Mangia! The mental rolodex flips back to the initial e-mail and the seasoned breadcrumbs that marked the trail. It's clear as chloroform: Casey's in Newbury all right, and she stinks of garlic bread.


11:40 a.m.

The Newbury House of Noodles & Sex

"Mangia! Mangia!" It's where Casey Anthony has been spotted on at least two occasions. But one thing about Mangia! Mangia! is crystal clear: This place is also something else — the Geauga County variant on the infamous "Bunga Bunga" sex parties hosted by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. A party girl with Casey's street rep would surely need to break her jail-enforced celibacy — and fast. And where better to go wild than an orgy attended by the county's power players, political heavies, and underage lingerie models.

The only question: Does it make too much damned sense?

Pull up to ground zero, and it's plain to see the address doesn't wear its iniquity for public consumption. Mangia! Mangia! capably fronts as a standard-issue, "family-owned" Italian restaurant. But the highly trained Adventure News eye sees it for the Buca di Bimbo that it is — the kind of joint where each day starts by hosing the residue from the previous night's celebrity sex rituals off the basement walls.

But at quarter to noon, Mangia! Mangia! is no Bunga Bunga. The wait staff scurries about, brushing off very pointed Adventure Team questions, perhaps because they cannot hear our strategically pointy whisper.

The tables for now sit virtually empty. The overhead fans bat about the smell of fresh pizza and stale subterfuge.

And then she steps up to our booth.

"I haven't seen her here," a smiling Casey Anthony tells us before walking to the next table to take a drink order. "But everybody says she's been in here."

After a brief assessment of our undergarment integrity, an extended gaze through squinted eyes reveals a cache of fool's gold. Turns out it's not Casey taking orders, but another woman who bears an exclusively striking resemblance to her. By now, this much is crystal clear: Casey Anthony is deploying an army of cosmetically altered body doubles — just like Saddam Hussein did. And they're scattered throughout the county. The ruse duped the hacks in the NewsChannel 5 truck. It won't work on us.

It also turns out Mangia! Mangia! has been slinging hearty portions of vindicated vixen for the better part of two weeks now: Business has skyrocketed since Casey was spotted in town, says the owner's daughter, Natalie.

And then she catches herself, one uttered scandal too late.

"Well, it's mostly been regulars coming back around asking 'All right, what's the real story?'"

Perhaps the real story is a little tale called Free International Exposure Off The Back Of An International Outlaw? Natalie says the restaurant has been on TV four times already. Later today, she's scheduled for a phone call with CNN's Dr. Drew Pinsky. And he's not placing an order for breadsticks.

"I think what he wants to talk to me about is why she might come to Geauga County," she explains.

Pinsky, that ingenious bastard. Things are clearly getting more serious than we thought. The phone call is mere reconnaissance for an inevitable airlifting of his rabid team of reality-TV producers into Geauga County. No doubt he's heard about Casey's plans for a daycare; no doubt he's coming to town to collaborate on a reality show documenting the struggles of a small business headed by an E-grade celebrity, while simultaneously putting said celebrity through his patented "treatment" regimen. Addicts and small businesses — two of the most popular reality tropes in one ratings-busting series. It will probably have midgets too.

For the Adventure News Assault Team, the search has taken a desperate turn. Anthony must be found before Cable Boy gets his mitts on her. Our next move is crystal clear: If the high-definition reality TV cameras are on the way, Casey will need a comprehensive exfoliating facial. And there's just one place you get that in these parts.

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