Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ronald Cummings Statement Analysis

Let's use the principles of Statement Analysis to take a look at Ronald Cumming's interview with Geraldo, shortly after Misty reported to police that Haleigh had gone missing.

Misty was deceptive, and Ron was not home when Haleigh was removed from the home.

My analysis has shown that Haliegh was dead when she was brought out of the home, and she was likely a victim of sexual abuse, and her body thrown into water.

As we look back now, we are able to ask:

What did Ron know?
When did Ron know?  Later, Ron covered for his wife/girlfriend Misty Croslin and was part of a conspiracy of silence.

He and Misty were involved in the drug trade and eventually were given long prison sentences for drugs, and did not confess to Haliegh's death.

Haleigh was surrounded by drugs, neglect, sexual abuse and violence.  Her short life was tragic and was part of a culture destroyed by drugs.  Misty had been sexually abused in her childhood and it was part of their culture, something readily accepted. Remember her grandmother, Flora Hollers, on The Nancy Grace Show?  She said if Misty was sexually abused, she "probably enjoyed it" while a child.  This was a snap shot into the culture.  

Geraldo Confronts Haleigh Cummings' Dad
Sunday, February 22, 2009

The following transcript is Geraldo's confrontation with Ronald Cummings, father of missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings. In the confrontation, Geraldo asks him about allegations he'd abused Haleigh, her biological mother and drug use.

RIVERA: "Chad and Marcus told me that during the vigil, you told them you were 75 percent sure who took Haleigh."

CUMMINGS: "There is no way — I do not know who took Haleigh. If I had — if I had, uh, five percent of where Haleigh was at, I would be there now and not here."

First he says, "There is no way" but does not finish his sentence and we cannot be certain what he is referencing. "There is no way that I know who did it?" Perhaps, but we do not know.

"I do not know who took Haleigh" in an open statement is quite strong; however, it is reduced in strength because he uses Geraldo's words back to Geraldo; therefore we cannot consider it unprompted.  When someone says, unprompted, "I didn't do it" it is likely to be true; yet when it is in response to "Did you do it?", "No, I didn't do it" as a response, is easier to lie, and not as a trustworthy of a denial.

It is parroted language; not from the free editing process.  

It could be that at this time he doesn't know who took Haleigh; Misty or Tommy Croslin, or he could be saying that he doesn't know the person or persons that took her, or he could be lying. Note also he uses Haleigh's proper name here. It is also noted that Geraldo used Haleigh's name first, so its use is not open but a reflection. Note all language that is independent of a reflection back to the subject of the interview.

"If I had — if I had, uh, five percent of where Haleigh was at, I would be there now and not here."

Here the repetition of "If I had, if I had" is a show that he is under stress. This is to be expected under the circumstances. 2 "I's" in a statement by a non-stutter shows stress. 3 is anxiety. 6 is likley a hospitalization/nervous break down to follow. 9 is only found in homicides.

"...five percent"

Ronald answers Geraldo's charge that he, Ronald, told others he knew who took Haleigh with "75%" certainty.

In Ronald's own language, he now lowers that percentage to "5%"

This use of "%" in language is an indication that Ronald uses percentages as part of his normal speech, since he has offered this to Geraldo. It indicates that when he denied saying "75%" to others, that he was being deceptive. It may be that he did not tell the two specific people named by Geraldo, but that he did likely tell someone that he was "75%" sure he knew who took Haleigh.

This is our first indication of deception in this interview. We do not take a statement and call it unreliable on just one indicator.

"I would be there, not here."

Ronald affirms that if he had even 5% knowledge, far less than 75%, of where Haleigh was, he would be "there" and not "here".

"there" is a specific place; just as "here" is a specific place, where Ronald and Geraldo stood. This may be an indicator that Ronald knew where Haleigh was taken. Ronald says he would be "there" and not that Haleigh would be home. This may be an indication that Ronald knows that Haleigh is deceased.

It would sound more natural to say that if he knew where Haleigh was, she would be brought home where she would be safe; not that Ronald would be with her "there", which represents danger as well as distance.

RIVERA: "Did you tell them that, though? Maybe you weren’t — maybe you were just were just — are they lying?"

Geraldo asks a compound question, a mistake in Interviewing. By asking a compound question, in an investigation, or even a hiring interview, it allows the subject of the interview to pick and choose which question to answer.

CUMMINGS: "Yes, they’re absolutely lying. No, for no reason have I ever told anybody that I have any clue where my child is at. If I had any clue where my child — you know, national TV, they’re a bunch of liars. Chad and whoever told you this are a bunch of liars. I never even spoke with them."

absolutely This is an extra word. Extra words give us extra information and weakens the denial of having told two others that he was 75% sure who had caused Haleigh to go missing. "They're lying" is strong, but the addition of the qualifier weakens the assertion.

"No, for no reason have I ever told anybody that I have any clue where my child is at. "

This is an unusual response. Ronald is upset and this can be likened to the legal term for "excited utterance" where emotions are high. He is now answering the question "why", which was not posed to him. It indicates increased sensitivity. The whereabouts of Haleigh is something that is highly sensitive. Ronald tells us that "for no reason", which is not a denial of "did you tell anybody" but that he had no reason to tell anybody.

"ever" weakens the assertion. It is an extra word and is not necessary to complete the sentence, therefore can be viewed as important to us.

"that I have any clue"

This is different than what was asked. He was asked if he told individuals that he knew, with 75% certainty, who had taken Haleigh. We have already seen that Ronald does speak in percentages, not simply repeating Geraldo, but using a different number, taking ownership of the expression.

"100 percent not guilty" when used in court will statistically point to guilt.

Ronald was not asked if he had "any clue" who took Haleigh. Ronald's own language went from who took Haleigh to location "there", shifting the focus away from who might have taken her, to where she had already been taken.

He is not telling us that he has "no clue" as to who took Haleigh, but that he has "no clue" as to where Haleigh is. Ronald was not asked this question, which makes location central to Ronald's thinking.

"...where my child is."

Note that Ronald uses "my" personal pronoun.

He also uses "child", which is associated with abuse. Parents who are concerned that their child may have been abused, or could be abused will use the word "child". It is not an indication that of who, including Ronald, may have abused Haleigh, only that it indicates that abuse is on the mind. If Haleigh was kidnapped, this would be an expected response for any parent who believes a their son or daughter to be kidnapped would be thinking of abuse.

Ronald states that he does not have a clue where Haleigh is at. The issue is that he was not asked where Haleigh was at, but rather the subject was "who" took Haleigh, and if Ronald knew who took her. At this point, Ronald redirects the interview away from who may have taken Haleigh, and shifted it to where Haleigh was taken to.

"I never even spoke with them."

In Statement Analyis, never does not mean "no". We have the extra, unnecessary word, "even", which adds emphasis. This is likely an indication that Ronald spoke with both of them and is lying.

RIVERA: "They told — they told me that you hit Haleigh. Is that true?"

CUMMINGS: "No. Never, ever have I ever hit my child. Me and my child have an agreement. Daddy, daughter. She has been spanked on her behind the way DCF says that you can take care of disciplining your children."

Statement Analysis: never does not mean "no".

Ronald makes an emphasis with the denial, "no" but then weakens the denial with "never", an extra word. But then he adds "ever" further indicating a weakening of the denial suggesting deception. Haleigh is again referred to as "child" which indicates abuse, or fear of abuse. "my" shows possession. The denial appears weak, and it is likely that he hit Haleigh.

"Me and my child have an agreement."

Notice the order: Ronald comes before his child.

In Statement Analysis, order is always significant.

Note also the absence of Haleigh's name while talking about Haleigh being hit. They have an "agreement" between them. Did 5 year old Haleigh enter into a an agreement with her father? An agreement suggests the cooperation of both parties. > Itis unusual language and weakens Ronald's credibility as he is seeking to show that Haleigh, age 5, approved of this agreement. Had Haleigh never been abused by Ronald, why would such an agreement be necessary.

"Daddy, daughter" repeatsthe word, and emphasizes order again.

He has claimed that Haleigh has never "ever" been hit (repeat emphasis sign of deception) but then says,

"she has been spanked on her behind"

Notice passive language. He does not say by whom Haleigh has been hit. He removes himself from the statement; distancing himself from hitting Haleigh. She has been spanked. Since she likely did not spank herself, and no one else is added, we can only conclude that Ronald did the spanking.

"...the way DCF says that you can take care of disciplining your children."

Ronald says the way DCF says that youcan; not that he can. This reduces commitment and continues to remove himself from responsibility.

He says the spanking is the way DCF says. This means that Ronald may have had another way of disciplining Haleigh.

The inclusion of DCF answers the question, "what agreement?". It is likely that DCF workers confronted Ronald Cummings about hitting his child and that he signed a Family Agreement, that he would no longer do so, but only spank her on the rear end. Haleigh may have been in the room when this "agreement" was reached if the DCF social workers thought it necessary to bind Ronald to the agreement. The reason DCF would put this in writing is that should they receive evidence that Ronald has violated his agreement, they would use this to present to the court in order to remove Haleigh from his custody. For many agencies, having a parent sign a Family Agreement (it is under various names from varying states) is the final step, along with parenting classes, that they take before seeking court ordered protection. The written agreement may have included other issues, common to such documents, as parenting classes, random drug tests, etc. This may be the "agreement" that he and Haleigh had. "Daddy, daughter" is used to establish authority, as Ronald likely felt his authority threatened by the Department of Children and Families consideration to seek court ordered protection for Haleigh.

"disciplining your children"; not Ronald's children. Language shows distancing. He did not say "disciplining my children".

Haleigh was not just spanked, she was spanked by someone. Ronald conceals the identity. Remember this is in response to Geraldo's statement about Ronald hitting Haleigh.

Ronald's answer shows deception, as his claim of "never ever" been hit, to his passive admission that she has been hit, howbeit now "spanked", and that to be on the behind, which most people would assume a spanking means. The added words "on the behind" tell us that Ronald:

a has hit Haleigh before
b. he has hit Haleigh in other places besides the behind, which is not DCF way

and now he is limited to only her behind by the agreement he made with Haleigh.

RIVERA: You never backhanded her to the face?

CUMMINGS: [OVERLAP] Never. Never have I ever backhanded my child in the face, ever.

Never does not mean no. We have a double response, weaking the denial. Ronald does not use her name and reflects back only Geraldo's language. This would lead me to believe that Ronald has hit Haleigh in the face, specifically by use of his backhand. Notice that Ronald puts the first person singular back into the sentence: we have "never", and "never" and "ever" in the same sentence, further indicating deception. Ronald does not call her "Haleigh" here, but only "my child" again, indicating concern over child abuse. The absence of the proper name is an indication, here, that Ronald is again concerned about child abuse. He has been investigate by the State of Florida for child abuse, as he referenced his dealing with DCF.

RIVERA: "Did you hit Crystal when she was pregnant?"

CUMMINGS: "No. I did not. Never."

No, I did not, is a strong denial by itself, but then it is weakened with the additional word "never" and is an indication that Ronald is being deceptive about domestic violence with Crystal. When he says "never" is he referring to only "never while she was pregnant" or is it inclusive of all time?

RIVERA: "You didn’t hit her in the back of the head and kick her?"

CUMMINGS: "No. No. I never have."

3 negatives in one sentence. This is indicative of lying. There is no reflection back to Geraldo of the language that Geraldo used. It is likely that he did hit her in the back of the head and kick her, specifically.

RIVERA: "You swear to God you never hit your pregnant woman?"

CUMMINGS: [OVERLAP] Never. Never, never have I ever hit any woman, period. Never. And I’d like to know where all these allegations are coming from because I would like to talk — talk to law enforcement and have these false allegations, um, known that, um, the false allegations against me, somebody needs criminal charges pressed against them."

In this one sentence, we now have the denial 4 times, indicating deception in even stronger terms. Never. Never. Never. Ever. But before that, we have another principle in Statement Analysis:

If your subject has not answered your question, he has answered your question.

Ronald was asked if he would swear that he never hit his pregnant woman

Ronald does not answer the question ,but instead broadens it to "any" woman, and then adds the unnecessary emphasis, "period". This leads me to believe that Ronald has hit more than just one woman in his life. He introduces the subject of more women, than just Crystal, who Geraldo asked about being hit while pregnant. This investigation would then seek the names of prior girlfriends, and look for past allegations of domestic violence, Protection from Abuse Orders, and the possible intervention of Domestic Violence Shelters or Counselors into the lives of women involved with Ronald Cummings.

RIVERA: What about the allegations of cocaine use, methamphetamine use?

CUMMINGS: There’s nothing. I do not do drugs.

Ronald did not answer the question about allegations, plural, of cocaine and meth use. He said, "there's nothing"; which is not a denial. "There's nothing" may speak to prior arrests without convictions but does not answer the question of the allegations. In Statement Analysis, if the subject has not answered the question, he has answered the question.

This tells me that Ronald has used cocaine and methamphetamine.

"I do not do drugs".

This may be a truthful statement, especially given the time he said it:  in that very moment.  

In investigations where drug use may play a part in domestic violence or child abuse, when a crisis hits, when asked about drugs, many drug users will say "I don't use drugs!" even while flunking a drug test.


Because when a crisis hits, and this is certainly a crisis, Ronald may have, quietly to himself, or loudly to others, have sworn off drugs, forever.

Sobriety, even if it is just 1 hour old, or 1 day old, is still sobriety. 10 years of sobriety still had its first hour and first day. In fact, he could be sincere, even though drugs may still be in his system, that he does not use drugs, because he has made a promise to himself, or others.

He does not deny the two specific drugs to Geraldo, which would indicate that he has been involved in those two drugs, as well as the pills he was caught on video selling later.

On an investigation, if you ask "Did you smoke pot, last Wednesday night, on your shift?" and you get the response, "I don't use drugs!" you will likely know that last Wednesday on that particular shift, the person used marijuana. Geraldo continues to go after him and the sensitivity runs high:

RIVERA: "You don’t do drugs? All those arrests were all —:


Ronald interrupts Geraldo to say "no" to the charge of "you don't use drugs". This interruption is due to increased anxiety and stress: sensitivity. We did not find the same level of anxiety over the identity of who took Haleigh. Why is this, drug use, more sensitive than a missing child?

This would be an indication that Haleigh's demise is linked with drugs.

RIVERA: "Do you work for the police? Are you an informant?"

Geraldo asks another compound question. It is always a mistake and allows Ronald to answer whichever question he wants to. In this case, he addresses both. Geraldo gets a "pass" on this error that someone conducting an Interview, no matter how excited, should do:

CUMMINGS: "No, I am no an informant. I do not work for the police. I work for PDM, which is a, um, bridge building company. That’s who I work for."

"No, I am not an informant" is a strong denial and it should be believed.
 . "I do not work for the police" is also a strong denial. Notice that the straight denial is the most credible. Here, he does not add "no, no, never, never ever". These two statements should be viewed as trustworthy, credible statements.

These are both truthful statements. 

I conclude that Ronald did not, at the time of Haleigh's disappearance, inform or work for the police. He is telling the truth.

"I work for PDM...building bridge company. That's who I work for"

This is not to say that he may have made a deal with police in the past, but he is not working for them as an informant.  

This statement is straight forward. Why the emphasis? His repeat "that's who I work for" is not necessary. Why is it repeated? There are no qualifiers added here; Ronald is not lying. He may have added the repeat due to sensitivity. It may be that part of his "agreement" in terms of custodial issues and the involvement of DCF, that he maintain employment. Ronald feels the need to describe what PDM does as a company. This is an extra detail that is not necessary. The subject of Ronald working is sensitive. Notice it follows after the accusation that he may have worked for the police (which he did not). The extra emphasis may also be an indicator that Ronald has done other things to earn a living that he no longer does; related to his arrests. On face value, he has told us the truth about not informing, not working for the police, and that he has a job with a bridge building company.

RIVERA: And you’ve never been involved in the drug trade?


Yes or No questions are the easiest to lie to.  We avoid them when possible.  

Ronald uses no qualifier here; no extra words. Is his simple "no" trustworthy? Geraldo pushes him.

"Yes and no" questions are to be avoided whenever possible. It is easiest to lie in a yes or no question primarily, and then it is easy to lie with a reflection answer; where the subject uses the words of an Interviewer. It is still stressful, but not nearly as stressful as lying in an open statement. A yes or no question reduces stress of lying.

It will be his other answers that will show that the "yes or no" reply credible or not. 

RIVERA: And when they tell me they saw bricks of marijuana that you had in the house, plants all around the house, is that a lie?

CUMMINGS: It is absolutely a lie and I would like to know where the information is coming from so that I can get, um, the proper authorities to take care of this.

Ronald's denial is weak due to "absolutely" added and then he attempts to change the direction of the questioning and asks about where the information came from.

Notice that as to the marijuana plants, specifically, Ronald does not answer the question.

"I would like to know where the information is coming from that I can get,um..."

Ronald stumbles on what he would like to get in order to deal with whoever told Geraldo that marijuana was being housed. He then recovers for an answer. "um" is sometimes used as a stall tactic, to think of an answer. Was he going to get revenge? a gun?

He continued, "the proper authorities to take care of this.

notice: "proper authorities" rather than "authorities". This indicates that there are some, with authority to handle snitches, that may not be considred "proper".

"this" indicates closeness; "that" indicates distance.

RIVERA: You’re — put all this stuff aside. If some associate of yours, some associate that had something to do with drugs and this is not about drugs but if these people are on the dark side of life, don’t you think that you should share that information? Share — tell us about — when you told Marcus and Chad that you were 75 percent sure and you had your gun ready and your — and you had your gun ready and you were gonna go get em, didn’t you say that? Isn’t that a fact, Ron?

Geraldo asks a very long question; one that Ronald nor many others would be able to follow; but conludes with asking if all the details he has laid out is a fact. Notice that Geraldo has now given us additional information about what Ronald was allege to have said to "Marcus and Chad"; not only that he was 75% sure of who took Haleigh, but that Ronald had planned to get his gun to go get those who took Haleigh.

CUMMINGS: No, it is not a fact.

Weak denial, as Ronald reflects back the wording of Geraldo. Geraldo is not conducting a solid interview, but in television interviews, it is often more important that the Interviewer be seen and heard more, as he is building a career, rather than gathering relevant information about the disappearance of Haleigh.

RIVERA: Why would they make that up? Why would they make that up?

CUMMINGS: I don’t know why they would make [OVERLAP] for you. But I — I am fixing [OVERLAP] to have the law called right here, right now because you’re making up things or they’re making up things and you’re getting into —

Ronald's response uses Geraldo's language (reflection) again but then adds in two seemingly unneccessary words: "for you". This may indicate that Ronald believes that Marcus and Chad have given this information because of who Geraldo is; a celebrity and not an investigator formally attached to the case.

then Ronald says that he is preparing to have the law called "right here" and "right now" because "you" Geraldo, is making things up, which would indicate that Ronald does not believe that Marcus and Chad would tell Geraldo these details, but then adds that "they're making up things". He does not specify which things are being made up. The drugs? The abuse of Haleigh? The certainty of who took Haleigh? The domestic violence against Crystal?

RIVERA: I am — I am relating to you what they are saying.

CUMMINGS:  Get out of my face, man. 

Ronald is now escalated and demands respect from Geraldo. The demand for respect in this situation is what often leads to violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to back off, man. That’s my son.

A man steps forward and tells Geraldo what he "needs" to do, and identifies himself, after this threat, as Ronald's father.

RIVERA: Alright. Well I’m sorry — I am sorry for what has happened.


A woman does not believe that Geraldo is sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are — [OVERLAPPED CONVERSATION] Listen. You wanna come up here and make [OVERLAP] allegations. Why don’t you go back to —

RIVERA: These are not my allegations, man. These are not my allegations. You have to understand that.


RIVERA: You have to understand this is not my allegation. Don’t touch him, don’t touch him, please. We’re leaving. Come on, let’s go. Let’s go.

CUMMINGS: [OVERLAP]" I wanted you to see that all this is about is my daughter. I love you, baby. [OVERLAP] If you are out there, I want you to know that I love you and I will find you, baby. I love you. And two, whoever — whoever has you, please bring my daughter home to me. I love my daughter. I love you, baby. I will find you."

Ronald said that he wanted Geraldo to know that "this" (this means close; that means far away; this that has been about drugs and domestic violence and child abuse; the subjects asked by Geraldo) is about Haleigh; except Ronald does not use her name.

"If you are out there..," Doesn't Ronald believe that she has been taken? Why the question? A parent who's child is kidnapped does not question whether or not the child is alive. Protective instincts put them firmly in denial. When Christ raised Jairus's daughter, we are told that the parents were stunned. He jolted them out of their denial by directing them to feed the little girl.

"whoever, whoever has you..." The subject of who took Haleigh triggers the repeat; this shows an increase in sensitivity. He repeats his love for her. He calls her "baby" which is a term of endearment, showing affection. Geraldo reacts to this speaking directly to Haleigh and interprets it as Haleigh being alive, and asks:

RIVERA: "You believe she’s alive then?"

CUMMINGS: I’m always gonna believe that my daughter’s alive until they find her.

This is a powerful indication that Ronald Cummins knows that Haleigh is deceased and that when she is found, she will be seen as she is: dead. While she is not found, he is going to believe that she is alive but when they find her, he will then no longer believe that she is alive.

This form of statement is common in cases where it is known that the missing person is dead. OJ Simpson was going to search for Nicole's killer. How long? For the rest of his life. Why did he think it would take that long? John Ramsey and others used similar language.

When someone says that they will search for the rest of their lives, they are likely telling the truth. They likely hope the killer is not found soon; and for good reason, so the search must go on for as long as they are alive.

Ronald did not take the time to think about his words. He just spoke them. In less than a microsecond, the brain tells the tongue what to say, using words and tenses; many instilled within us from a very early age.

It is not a slip, nor a mistake.

In statement analysis, we believe what someone tells us unless we find indicators of deception.

Ronald has told us that he will go on believing that Haleigh is alive but only until they find her.

This is a strong indication that he knows she is deceased.

This represents the opinion of the author only and not that of any organization. The comments posted by users are the expressed opinions of the authors only. All are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon personal interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

Haleigh Cummings Step Grandfather Arrested

Remember the case of Haleigh Cummings:  Statement Analysis showed deception on the part of Misty Croslin, who was watching Haliegh that night, and that the language suggested sexual abuse.

Here  is the report:

Bruce Griffis, 52, has been arrested for molesting a fourteen year-old girl. He has been charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, which is a first degree felony in Florida.

Griffis is the step-father of Crsytal Sheffield, mother, HaLeigh Cummings.

HaLeigh was reported missing on February 10, 2009.

Timothy Charles Holmseth conducted approximately 100 hours of in-depth interviews with Sheffield's victim's advocate, Wayanne Kruger.

During Holmseth's interviews, shortly after HaLeigh vanished, Kruger said Bruce Griffis' wife, Marie Griffis, said she believed HaLeigh had been severely sexually molested. 

Kruger said she was frustrated that Marie Griffis did not want to report the sexual abuse to the police.
Marie Griffis also told mainstream media outlets she was receiving assisstance from a 'family friend' named Jeremiah Regan.

Jeremiah Regan is the son of John Regan. John Regan is a phony pastor and FBI impersonator that told Kruger he was working as an "undercover pedophile" for the FBI.

Dep. Jeremy Banks 911 Call

Recently, this case was revisited on television; and I will analyze the interview should transcripts become available.

The Scientific Content Analysis (SCAN) system was developed by Avinoam Sapir, and it is the basis for all Statement Analysis today.  Mr. Sapir's website is LSI  and his work is applied to 911 calls in the same manner as it is applied to all statements.  Work on 911 calls is to the credit of Mr. Sapir.

 Any claim to the contrary is fraudulent and is intellectual theft, whether or not the one taking credit is a trained analyst or not.

He taught us to begin with "the expected" and to then analyze the "unexpected."  This is the same everywhere there is communication, including emails, texts, interviews, and 911 calls.

It is common sense to apply the "expected" to 911 calls.  911 calls are emergency calls.  This means there is no time (nor expectation) for chit-chat, as it should be similar to "excited utterance", that is, a broad display of the free-editing process where the subject is choosing his own words quickly and freely.

This is a domestic homicide call where the victim  Michelle O’Connell died.  The NY Times article has mocked the investigation into the 2010 death.  I would like to analyze the transcripts of Jeremy Banks' interview.  It will reveal the truth of whether he murdered her, or if she committed suicide.  Statement Analysis always gets to the truth. 

                                    What do we expect from a 911 call?

We expect urgency, therefore, in a domestic homicide, we do not expect a greeting.  (See Sergio Celis, Tiffany Hartley 911 calls for examples of deceptive callers possessing guilty knowledge of the crime while making the call).

We do expect someone to be upset and not giggling when his 7 year old child is missing as was the father,  Sergio Celis in his call.

We do expect the caller to ask for help for the victim.  This is what Avinoam Sapir called, quite simply, the "expected."  If someone does not, who does the caller ask for help for?  Does a guilty caller slip or leak out that he, himself, needs help?  If so, it makes sense as it is true:  the guilty party is the one in need of help.

We listen, in every statement, for an apology of any kind, to show up, as the words "I'm sorry", for example, are on the mind of the guilty.

We don't "hang our hat" on any single indicator, as some of these might show up on an innocent caller, but when we have enough indicators that something is amiss, it comes down to the judgement and skill of the analyst who makes the call:  deception indicated.

We listen for truth, and not qualifiers.  We use the same principles of analysis applied everywhere in statements.  We set up what we expect ("I didn't do it") versus what we hear ("Dead squirrels crawled up my engine...") and we are faced with the unexpected for analysis.

Deputy Jeremy Banks made this 911 call.  First is the transcript, then it is repeated, with emphasis added, with Statement Analysis in bold type.

Question for Analyst:  Does Jeremy Banks make this call as a caller with guilty knowledge of the death of Michelle O'Connell?

PS:  More to come on this case.  See'Connell%20Case%20Review.pdf

911 Call.


JEREMY BANKS: HEY! Please get someone to my house! It’s 4700 Sherlock Place. Please!

DISPATCHER: What’s going on?

JEREMY BANKS: Please! Send─ my girlfriend, I THINK she just shot herself! There’s blood everywhere!


JEREMY BANKS: She shot herself! Please! [unintelligible] Get someone here please.

DISPATCHER: Ma’am? Ma’am, I need you to calm down.

JEREMY BANKS: It’s mister! It’s SIR!

DISPATCHER: Ma’am, listen to me─

JEREMY BANKS: It’s SIR! It’s SIR. Listen─ hang on, LET ME TELL YOU THE TRUTH. I’m Deputy Banks with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. I work with y’all. Get someone here now!

DISPATCHER: Ok i need you to calm down you know how it goes. Whats the address ? I don't..

JEREMY BANKS: 4700 Sherlock Place.

DISPATCHER: Ok what's going on there?

JEREMY BANKS: My girlfriend has just shot herself with my duty weapon. Please get someone here now please.

DISPATCHER: Sir were doing that while in talking to you. is she still breathing ?

JEREMY BANKS: No,there is blood coming out of everywhere.-please.

DISPATCHER: Ok, she's not breathing.

JEREMY BANKS: Call dispatch on Tac 2, get them here now.

DISPATCHER: Sir their on the phone i need you to calm down.

JEREMY BANKS: Please please please-

DISPATCHER: Jeremy were coming as fast as we can ok? Calm down for me ok.

JEREMY BANKS: Please, you don't understand she just shot herself, pleases get someone here.

Here is now the same transcript (thanks John!) with analysis and emphasis added.

911 Call.


JEREMY BANKS: HEY! Please get someone to my house! It’s 4700 Sherlock Place. Please!

I'm not sure if everyone will consider that "Hey" is a greeting of sorts, but I believe it is.  
Note that the caller does not here ask for help for the victim, only to get "someone" to his house.  

DISPATCHER: What’s going on?

JEREMY BANKS: Please! Send─ my girlfriend, I THINK she just shot herself! There’s blood everywhere!

I'm not a big fan of capitalizing things spoken, but these are the transcripts I have to work with. 

Please notice the weak commitment.  He only "thinks" she has "just" shot herself.  He does not know this?  He is unable to bring himself to say "she shot herself" at first.  He allows for someone to "think" that someone else may have shot her, or even for himself to think contrary.  

He does not specifically ask for help for the victim....yet.  


JEREMY BANKS: She shot herself! Please! [unintelligible] Get someone here please.

He now drops the word "think" from his initial statement.  

DISPATCHER: Ma’am? Ma’am, I need you to calm down.


JEREMY BANKS: It’s mister! It’s SIR!

Not only does he want to clarify his gender, but he wants to be respected:  call him "Sir"

This is likely more important than many realize.  When a man holds a gun, he holds power and authority.  Those unarmed are at a significant disadvantage.  Insecure law officers are  a danger and menace to society.  There is little nobility in hiding behind a bush and pulling over a driver for going 10mph faster than others, just to make money, so when someone with insecurity is given authority, much patience is needed when said cop approaches a car.  

Yet, this is also significant because we are all wondering if there was domestic violence in this relationship and the more insecure he is, the more I am going to wonder if his girlfriend did not show him the "respect" he feels he needs.  This one word, "Sir!" would have sent Domestic Violence expert Susan Murphy Milano into writing an entire article about insecure and demanding law enforcement:  her own father was one, who killed her mother. 
DISPATCHER: Ma’am, listen to me─

His voice did sound high at this point.  Let's now see if the insecurity of not being addressed as "Sir!" matters:

JEREMY BANKS: It’s SIR! It’s SIR. Listen─ hang on, Let me tell you the truth. I’m Deputy Banks with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. I work with y’all. Get someone here now!

"Sir" is repeated, making the title of respect sensitive to the subject.  If you know anything about domestic violence, you're choking on this one now. 

But next he signals that he is deceptive:  he prefaces his words with "Let me tell you the truth."  This is a strong indication that what he is about to say is true, but other things may not be.  

"I'm Deputy Banks"; note that he uses title, rather than first and last name.  He sounds like one who is desperate for respect.  This does not bode well for the girlfriend.  

Note that he now demands that they get someone out there, but fails to ask for help for the victim.  He does not beg, he orders.  This is part of who he is. 

DISPATCHER: Ok i need you to calm down you know how it goes. Whats the address ? I don't..

JEREMY BANKS: 4700 Sherlock Place.

DISPATCHER: Ok what's going on there?

This is the best question.  It allows him to begin his statement where he chooses, as well as choose his own words:  
JEREMY BANKS: My girlfriend has just shot herself with my duty weapon. Please get someone here now please.

Note that he no longer "thinks" she shot herself, but goes into extra detail.  Not only did she shoot herself, but did so with his weapon; his "duty" weapon.  He is no longer just "Sir" calling who thinks his girlfriend might have shot herself, he has changed:  he is now "Deputy Banks", sounding self important, and demanding, acknowledging that the weapon was his "duty" weapon and it belonged to him.   He returns to "please" (repeated) rather than order, but he still has not asked for help for the victim. 
DISPATCHER: Sir were doing that while in talking to you. is she still breathing ?

JEREMY BANKS: No,there is blood coming out of everywhere.-please.

Specifically, where is blood coming out of?
DISPATCHER: Ok, she's not breathing.

JEREMY BANKS: Call dispatch on Tac 2, get them here now.

Deputy Banks is now telling Dispatch how to do its job.  He still, however, hasn't asked for help for the victim.  
DISPATCHER: Sir their on the phone i need you to calm down.

JEREMY BANKS: Please please please-

DISPATCHER: Jeremy were coming as fast as we can ok? Calm down for me ok.

JEREMY BANKS: Please, you don't understand she just shot herself, pleases get someone here.

Here is leakage.  He has first reported that she may have shot herself, but then changed to the affirmative, without question.  Yet, he feels the need to persuade with "you don't understand."

What does Dispatch not understand?  This is something that readers may wish to question. 

It may be that he has failed to sound convincing to the Dispatcher, that in spite of repeating that she shot herself, he has failed to cause Dispatch to "understand" this?

He did not ask for help for his victim and there are signals in his call that he may not be telling the truth.  What it is that is to be understood is that he needed to persuade Dispatch that she shot herself.  Why would he need them to understand this?  Would it matter, to the bleeding victim, who pulled the trigger?

It matters very much to the caller.  

I would be very surprised if the victim's family did not hear of at least some reports of domestic violence or threatening by this caller.  

It is a short call, but there are signals that Deputy Jeremy Banks was not truthful in this call.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Balloon Boy: Was It a Publicity Stunt?

October 15, 2009, and the nation was captivated by the dreadful thought of a little boy hundreds of feet in the air, in a homemade travel balloon of sorts.  It was a hoax, as we quickly learned from the mother's initial statement as well as the father.  Desperate to get media attention, this family has resorted to some of the most bizarre family behavior imaginable, including a televised appearance where the boy was unable to perpetuate the parents' lie.

We covered this case when it happened, and it is interesting to note how the CNN announcers covered it, looking back, and how the general public seemed to be more in tune with the deception than those in media.

Its interesting to note that we had indicated the family for deception right away, but as the case unfolded, the networks seemed to want to hold on to the drama.

The family cost taxpayers quite a bit.

Here, Diane Sawyer asked Richard Hennee, the father, if it was a publicity stunt.  She brings forth the assertion that many people believe it was a hoax.  This is the father's reply:

"Well, you know, they weren't there. Um, I went through such a roller coaster of um, emotions yesterday, um, to have people say that I think is extremely pathetic. Um, we were holding on to every second, you know, every second just hoping that, uh, he was going to come out of it ok. And um, I mean, I'm not selling anything. This is what we do all of the time. We made out , uh, the Henne family schedule in advance, a year in advance, what were gunna do, where were gunna do it, and um, I'm not selling anything, you know, I don't have a can of beans I trying to promote. So uh, this is just another day in the life of what we do."

The question is simple:  Was it a publicity stunt?

Even though it is a "yes or no" question, we find that the subject avoided answering the question, meaning that the question, itself, is sensitive to him.  

Recall if he is unwilling or unable to deny it, we are not to deny it for him.  But his answer is useful for teaching. 

In a "yes or no" question, particularly when viewing a presupposed or expected denial, we like to look at every word that comes after the word "no" as additional wording. 

"Well, you know, they weren't there. 

When one begins with a pause, there is a need for a pause.  

The phrase, "you know" is a habit of speech.  Like all habits of speech, we note what topics cause it to arrive, and what topics do not.  "You know" shows an acute awareness of the presence of the interviewer (or audience).  I use it when nervous, in public speaking, particularly when I veer off my carefully prepared notes.  

Note his answer:  he does not deny it was a publicity stunt, but only asserts that those who think it was a publicity stunt (Sawyer said that many people think it was a publicity stunt), were not present.  This is the basis of his argument?

Um, I went through such a roller coaster of um, emotions yesterday, um, to have people say that I think is extremely pathetic. 

He uses the word "I", which is strong and unless the language suggests otherwise, we are to believe him.  He connects it with the past tense verb, "went."
 When he says that he went through a "roller coaster" of emotions, I believe him.  Even if it was a publicity stunt, the roller coaster of emotions were likely present.  

...yet, if it was not a publicity stunt, a "roller coaster" is known for its "ups and downs", which would leave me wondering:  if he thought his son was hundreds of feet in the air, what "ups" did he experience?

Um, we were holding on to every second, you know, every second just hoping that, uh, he was going to come out of it ok. 

While describing his emotion, he changes from "I" to "we" without contextual change.  The roller coaster now became "holding on", and "I" went to "we", another indication that deception may be present. 

And um, I mean, I'm not selling anything. 

That which is reported in the negative is always important.  Here, he, himself, introduces the topic of profit.  Simply listening to him, I would ask myself, "What is he selling?"  We now know that he was trying to sell himself into a 'reality' TV show.

This is what we do all of the time. 

I believe him.  I think that "we" (the family) tries, "all the time" to find ways to get themselves on television and noticed, using appearance, music, and even deception, in attempts to be noticed.  

We made out , uh, the Henne family schedule in advance, a year in advance, what were gunna do, where were gunna do it, and um, I'm not selling anything, you know, I don't have a can of beans I trying to promote. So uh, this is just another day in the life of what we do."

Going from "We" back to "I", we now have the negative and repetition of:

"I'm not selling anything", which, for most people, screams that he is, indeed, selling something. 

He is truthful in that he is not selling a can of beans.  He is selling an idea; the idea that his family should be on television and he should be paid.  

This did not work out for him, as the hoax came to light after the tv interview, though readers here knew immediately.  That this is just another day in the life is also true:  he went on to try to sell other ideas, including foul mouthed children's video.  

Follow the pronouns.  

Note the location of emotions. 

Believe the subject unless he gives you reason not to. 

Avoid reality TV shows.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Det. Steve Thomas and The Ramseys

Below is transcripts from the Larry King Live show in which John and Patsy Ramsey appeared alongside Steve Thomas, former detective who wrote a book alleging Ramsey guilt.

Statement Analysis (and commentary)is in bold type.

P. RAMSEY: You must have conjured something in your head for you to come out and call me a murderer of my child. I want to hear one through 10. When did I write this ransom note? Before or after I killed JonBenet?

Patsy forms the words innocent people avoid: "murderer of my childwhich indicates guilt.  Even when entering the language of another, it is something innocent people feel disdain towards and avoid.  She said that he called her, and not he said...

Note she uses the word "child", associated with child abuse, risk, etc.  

"I killed Jonbenet". This is a principle in Statement Analysis used in investigations frequently. "You think I did it" contains the words "I did itwithin the sentence. This is something the innocent do not normally do.

An early example of this is when Christ was on trial and told the accusers that their own lips had framed the words that He was 
"King of the JewsHe pointed this out to those who accused Him. Their own words, even when framed in the form of a question or accusation, had literally formed the truth.
An innocent person is not likely to frame words projecting guilt in any form; especially not in an open statement. Here, Patsy implicates herself while challenging the detective. She asserts that he has reasons, 1 through 10 that he should tell her. Then, we have repetition. Repetition heightens sensitivity.

Patsy affirms what she had already said by saying "murderer of my child" when she frames the words "I killed Jonbenet" in her statement. She herself confirms to us by the words she has chosen: first the "murderer of my child" and then "I killed Jonbenet". In Statement Analysis, we listen to what someone actually says, rather than what they want us to think via interpretation. Listen, do not interpret.

It is unusual that one would use both these phrases together. 

notice also the words Patsy uses: "conjures up". Is this what she did in fabricating the ransom note, including building a "suspense novel" like length, complete with overtures of terrorists? Interesting choice of words.

J. RAMSEY: Answer the question. What did you find in our background that would demonstrate that we are capable of this crime?

The defense for the Ramsey pair is not "we didn't do it" but that they did not have a history of violence. 

this common profiling technique popular in the 80's and 90's, that one must work their way up to murder, is no longer used today.  We have cases regularly in the news of murders committed by someone with no criminal history.  

See:  Tammy Moorer

When John Ramsey says, "answer the question" it is not clear if he meant the previous question or the one he now asks.

Note the same principle used above is applied here: John Douglas said, "we are capable of this crime" within his sentence. This is not something we see in innocent statements. This same principle is applied in all statements, so when someone says "just because you think I implicated myself" we note that they were able to frame "I implicated myself" within their objection and is an indicator of guilt. In this particular example, you will find, indeed, that once you search the statement, the subject will have implicated himself.

John Ramsey himself, using the plural, says "we are capable of this crime". Take this statement and look at their actions after calling the police, as well as full analysis of the ransom note at and decide if John Ramsey has told us the truth.

John Ramsey read John Douglas' book on profiling and had the financial resources and pull to bring in the celebrity author to do a profile of him for his "own" investigation. Dougas said that no one just "graduates" to this type of killing, but would have had a history of violence leading up to killing. This emboldened the Ramseys.

Since that time, a number of  cases have come to light where the killer had no history of violence that suggested the killing. Generally, violence escalates and we often can see a pattern; not always, but enough to see a history of violence and be on alarm. But this does not change the fact that some will kill without warning. When a 17 year old girl killed a school mate recently, it was learned by media that the killer had no history of violence; no school reports, nor anything else that suggested she could "graduate" to this level of violence. If someone accused of murder is not guilty by reason of not having a record of violence, Casey Anthony would be acquitted. We do not have a record of violence by her; nor have we heard any witnesses claim that she was violent to Caylee. Does that negate all the evidence?

My own experience in child abuse investigations tells me that the doctor would have likely suspected child abuse when he saw the constant infections that Jonbenet suffered from, and if Patsy reported the constant bed wetting, but due to their afluence, he likely did not.

When a young girl is being sexually abused, we will likely find infections, along with bed wetting. The fact that she was dressed up in a sexualized manner is difficult to ignore. The doctor should have reported this, and had he done so, Jonbenet may be alive to this day, a sophmore in college.
Steve Thomas didn't have evidence of violence on the part of the Ramseys. What he did have, however, was a history of doctor visits that should have triggered suspicions of sexual abuse and a child protective assessment.

It also should be noted that Jonbenet's death location was staged. 

P. RAMSEY: God willing, if you ever have a child one day, you will know the pain perhaps when someone hands you the child in your arms, and says, Mr. Thomas, this is your child, do you tell me that you are going to look at that child, and -- you just had a new baby, Larry. Could you ever conceive of...

Patsy presses an emotional issue which avoids the topic of murder. In her wording she wishes the pain upon Steve Thomas. This is unusual for a victim, but not for a guilty party who has rage capable of a murder; or the cunning capable of not only a cover up, but an ability to take to the airways. She would have likely said later, "that's not what I meant", but in Statement Analysis, people choose their words in less than a micro second and we do not interpret: we listen to what they say. This is what she said: she wished horrific pain upon him, and judging by the anger they showed towards him, including threats of suit, etc, Patsy gave no indication that she didn't mean exactly what she said.

KING: I can't imagine how anyone could harm a child.

This is what most people do: they project their own beliefs and value systems upon others and struggle to believe that someone could actually kill a child.

Had I had a chance to interview King, I would have asked him if he would have dyed his 5 year old daughter's hair, given her false teeth, and dressed her up in provocative show girl outfits for pagents followed by pedophiles. This may have helped him think outside of his own experiences.

I would have asked him that if he had found his child "kidnapped", would he have called in neighbors, friends, and lawyers after being warned not to call the police;or would he have been so scared that he would have waited for instructions from the police?

I would have asked him if he would have made arrangements to disappear from the scene on a plane,leaving behind his daughter?

I would have asked him if he would have had his lawyer stall the investigation.

I would have asked him if he would have rather spoken to the media than investigators.

I would have asked him if he would have shopped around for a polygraph that was passed.

I would have asked him if he would have then made the polygrapher sign a contract limiting what he can release.

He may have understood a bit more

P. RAMSEY: ... doing something to this child, let alone the things that this man is...
"this man". . It is unclear who he is referring to. Is it the kidnapper? If so: I thought it was a "group of individuals" or a "small foreign faction? Note that "this" man is close; "that" shows distance.

Or is "this" man (close) Det Steve Thomas, who was physically close and who has alleged that the Ramseys are responsible for the death of Jonbenet.

J. RAMSEY: I've lived with her for 20 years. I know that she loved that child more than anything in the world.

Note that "I" and "her" are distant. He could have said "Patsy and I have lived together for 20 years..." but he did not. He chose to use the word "with" which commonly shows distance.

"My wife and I went shopping" is different from
"I went shopping with my wifeThe subsequent interview revealed that the latter statement showed distance as he did not want to go shopping that day.

J. RAMSEY: We speculate. The world's -- one of the world's leading profilers, John Douglas, has said that this killer was angry with me or was very jealous of me. And this was an anger or jealousy that was acted out against me.

The autopsy showed signs of vaginal trauma consistent with sexual abuse. John may have now inadvertently revealed that Patsy was angry with him, and may have coerced him into helping stage the death scene if indeed, this was an accidental killing during discipline where Patsy then went into cover up mode, sat down for a long time (something an intruder would not do) and wrote a practice note and then the real note. .

KING: Instead of taking it out against you, he kills your child.

J. RAMSEY: Sadly yes.

J. RAMSEY: I am not ruling out any possibility. It's a horrible thought to think that somebody would be angry with me enough to kill my daughter, but I'm not ruling out anything.

The issue of "anger" is sensitive which is seen by John's repetition.

Now we have the motive-this killer was angry with me or was very jealous of me. And this was an anger or jealousy that was acted out against me.

KING: Instead of taking it out against you, he kills your child.

J. RAMSEY: Sadly yes.

And finally who wrote the note-
KING: So you agree that whoever authored the ransom note probably killed the child?

Patsy was never ruled out as the author of the note. The linguistics point to her: including the now famous "and hence" phrase she used in her Christmas card to the church (the same unique (and improper) phrase is in the ransom note)

J. RAMSEY: I agree.

P. RAMSEY: I would agree with

Notice the weakening of Patsy's agreement. A simple "I agree" would suffice but she gives us additional words which give us additional information: "I would" is future tense; weakening her commitment, and "with" shows distance, as does "that". "I agree" would be first person singular, present tense (the statement by King was present tense) and would have been strong.

KING: It's a strange, letter, isn't it?

THOMAS: Absolutely. It is an absolutely bizarre letter, that the writer knew so much about this family, using Patsy's tablet, a pen from within the home, and...

P. RAMSEY: They did not use JonBenet's name.

This shows familiarity with the lengthy note. Why the absence of Jonbenet's name? The author would likely had struggled due to emotional attachment and not used Jonbenet's name. We saw this often in the answers given by Ronald Cummings. His use of Haleigh's name was limited, especially in the "Cobra tapes" where the investigator repeatedly used her name.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Statement Analysis: Letting it Go

There are times when sensitivity indicators regarding a difficult topic often mean simply walking away.

I hope this helps explain why some analysis is not pursued vigorously. It is a personal judgement call on my part, as author of the blog, and it varies from case to case.

When a crime has taken place, and the subject has been deceptive, it is important to learn if the subject is being deceptive about the crime itself.  There are times in investigations where a subject has written a statement about the event, and has been indicated for deception, except that the deception was not about the allegation.

On one such case, a few years ago, a company had reported missing money, and the difficult issue was that there was an unknown number of people who had access to the missing money, including sub contractors, and visitors to the building.  This means that even if all the workers write out statements, the thief could still have been someone else who is not known, and who has not written out a statement.

In cases where the missing money had to be one of __ number of workers, the written statement is going to find out who took the money.  This is the norm.

In the above case, I asked for assistance in my analysis, for I had seen deception, but it did not appear to be related to the thief.

I sent the statement to LSI.

SCAN is the place where it all begins, and is the foundation for all Statement Analysis.  I sent the statement seeking a review of my work and received back the answer that I had, indeed, uncovered deception, but that something else had taken place.  I was instructed to inquire if another theft had taken place.

When I spoke to the company, I learned that there had been, recently, a break in and robbery of high tech equipment where there appeared to be no forced entry.

I approached the subject who agreed to take a polygraph but, she said, only if the questions were about "this" theft (the theft of money).


In reviewing statements for companies, I have often found deception within the statements, though unrelated to the allegation.

There are those, for example, who will reveal that they lied about time off, or stole time from their employer, or felt a need to brag up poor work; all points of sensitivity, but all unrelated to the allegation.

This is where the Analytical Interviewing shines:  it allows the subject to choose his own words, define these words, and for the innocent to assert so, even while alerting employers to other problems that need to be addressed.

Recently, a tragedy took place in which two children died.  The mother's language indicated sensitivity about leaving them with her own mother. The mother of the deceased certainly appeared to have questions, within herself, about her choice to leave her toddlers with their grandmother, and she will be haunted for the rest of her life.

She would not need to read analysis of her words here, as it will serve no purpose even in justice for the toddlers.

Yes, there is a story behind the words and it could be anything from a grandmother who fell asleep while being ill, right on up to substance abuse and so on, but there are just times when there is no purpose to pursue analysis.

Years ago, a boy went missing and his mother's words indicated sensitivity about leaving him in the case of his father and step mother.  To analyze her words would have meant nothing but added pain.  It would not help the case.  Even a letter from the mother, open the public, was left unanalyzed.

Terry Elvis' pain is acute and his words about his own daughter showed, from the beginning, veracity.  Yet there are those who continue to have their malicious comments deleted here as the comments are intended to add to the family's pain.

Trista Reynolds is another of whom a small group of DiPietro supporters delight in posting her shortcomings in life for the whole world to see.  Statement Analysis of Trista Reynolds showed that she did not know what happened to Baby Ayla, and she had no guilty knowledge of where Ayla was.  Justin DiPietro showed guilty knowledge of Ayla's death.

"Letting it go" means just that; there is no purpose in further analysis.

Sometimes, this is best.

Recall the "Zumba" scandal in Maine.  The husband of the prostitute suffered many things and the more he spoke...well, you get the picture.

Later on, the words can be taken, long after the case is forgotten, and be useful for instruction, with the names redacted.  This is different.

For now, readers, use discretion and wisdom, even when analyzing comments.