Downtown Roseville Merchants president reflects on job as Casey Anthony’s bodyguard
The first night that high-profile murder suspect Casey Anthony was out of jail in September 2008, Rob Dick and his associates knew they had a problem.
Dick is a Roseville resident, head of Downtown Roseville Merchants, Inc. and a longtime bounty hunter. He’s also the nephew of famed Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla, who put up $500,000 bail in 2008 to secure the release of Anthony after she was arrested in Florida for child endangerment following the disappearance of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.
This led Dick to spend eight surreal days with Anthony before she was rearrested for writing fraudulent checks.
Dick said he tried to go in with an open mind, with the idea that if released, Anthony could help look for Caylee, whose body hadn’t been found.
But Anthony displayed no concern after attorney Jose Baez ushered her through a crowd of media waiting outside the Orange County Jail in Orlando and into Dick’s fleet of SUVs.
“In my mind, here’s a person who’s finally free, and she’s been away from all this for a total of 60 days now,” Dick said. “Obviously, what’s your first question? ‘Where are we at? Where’s my kid? Anything you heard?’ and on and on. It was never that, the whole night with the family and everything else.”
Later that night, after Anthony was settled at her family’s home, Dick and his associates conferred. They knew they had a problem.
It didn’t get better.
Dick awoke the following morning to Anthony’s father, George, grilling her for information on what had happened. They had to pull him off, and Anthony’s mother Cindy sent him to a motel for a few days.
“At that moment, that wasn’t for show,” Dick said. “We knew… he couldn’t have been involved.”
Much of Dick’s duties during the eight days revolved around getting Anthony to daily checks for home confinement and to visits at her attorney’s office.
At Baez’s office, the unusual behavior continued.
In the early days of the case, media thought they could obtain information from Baez by offering free food. One day, Anthony said she was so full because she’d eaten 25 wings provided by a news outlet. The following day, Dick said, Anthony claimed she hadn’t eaten for a week.
Throughout, her peppy demeanor never abated, with Anthony often asking about the crowds of people in front of the house.
“She was nicknamed ‘the cruise director’ because she was always happy,” Dick said.
Meanwhile, Dick and some of his coworkers used the time in Florida to locate 10 people who had skipped bail. Dick also gave daily dispatches to Padilla, who in turn relayed them to the media.
“I think for him the big joke was for the cost of that bond, he probably got about $5 million in media,” Dick said. “He was on ‘Nancy Grace,’ I think, every night for nine months during that.”
What Dick refers to as “a lynch mob mentality” outside the Anthony home persisted throughout the eight days.
The fervor hit its peak on the final day, with Grace’s show broadcasting live outside the home and close to 1,000 people on hand, Dick estimated.
Concerned for his client’s safety, Dick put in a call to the Orange County Sheriff and learned they were on their way to arrest her in the check fraud case. Dick and others watched live on television inside the Anthony home as deputies made their way to the front door to arrest her.
Later, Anthony would bail out through a second company, though Dick’s work was done. Eight years on, he doesn’t understand some of the enduring public intrigue around the case– such as when Dick made international headlines in a December podcast where he said he thought Anthony was guilty of murdering Caylee.
“It’s not that big to me,” Dick said of the case. “There’s a lot of … crimes that are kind of the same.”