Casey Anthony walked out of jail under heavy guard, but a free woman, to face shouts of "baby killer" just days after the US watched in rapt attention as she was acquitted of murdering her two-year-old daughter, Caylee.
The 25-year-old, who has spent years in the spotlight, including two months of nationally televised trial proceedings, swiftly boarded an SUV and rode out of public view.
Accompanied by her attorney Jose Baez and wearing a pink T-shirt with blue jeans, Ms Anthony's destination was unknown as new questions unfolded as to what her future would hold.
She was given $537.68 in cash from her jail account and escorted outside by two sheriff's deputies armed with semi-automatic rifles.
Neither Anthony nor Mr Baez said anything to reporters and others gathered outside.
As the vehicle left the jail car park, the crowd of more than 100 people surged against the police barricades and some yelled "You suck!". Mounted patrolmen and police cruisers blocked the street outside the jail so Ms Anthony's vehicle could drive on to a nearby highway ramp unobstructed.
"A baby killer was just set free!" Bree Thornton (39) shouted at the passing SUV.
Ms Anthony had a handful of supporters in the crowd, including one man who carried a "Casey, will you marry me?" sign. But her backers - at the jail and across the country - appeared to be vastly outnumbered by her critics.
When Anthony was acquitted on July 5, hundreds of thousands of people captivated by the case - and doubtful of her credibility - poured their rage into postings on the internet.
Ms Anthony's legal team said on Friday it had received an emailed death threat with a manipulated photo showing their 25-year-old client with a bullet hole in her forehead.
"This release had an unusual amount of security so, therefore, in that sense, it would not be a normal release," said Orange County Jail spokesman Allen Moore.
"We have made every effort to not provide any special treatment for her. She's been treated like every other inmate."
Since her acquittal, Ms Anthony has been finishing a four-year sentence for telling investigators several lies, including an early claim that her daughter was kidnapped by a nonexistent nanny.
Caylee's remains were found that December in woods near the home Casey Anthony shared with her parents. Her lawyers say that Caylee drowned in the family pool.
With credit for the nearly three years she had spent in jail since August 2008, and good behaviour, she had only days remaining when she was sentenced.