I was recently sent this statement made for analysis. The author is the mother of missing 13 year old, Hailey Dunn, reportedly went missing December 27th, 2010, from Colorado City, Texas.
Nancy Grace : Miss Dunn, how far did she have to go to get to the little sleepover?
Mother: Four to five blocks. It wasn’t rare for Hailey to walk a short distance during daylight. She wasn’t allowed out after dark especially to walk, but she only had four to five blocks to go."
Please note the past tense verbs used.
Nancy Grace: Tell me what happened the day she went missing, Miss Dunn.
Billie Dunn: She went missing on Monday while I was at work. My boyfriend - - he came home from work about 3:00 -- or he got to my house about 3:00. And he`s seen Hailey. Hailey was there..."
In just these few words, the mother has indicated two major linguistic indicators for investigators to follow:
The mother has told us that:
1. Hailey is dead
2. The mother is in need of establishing an alibi.
When the mother of a missing child speaks of the child in the past tense, it is a verbal indication that the mother knows or believes that her child is deceased. This is the Solomonic principle of maternal instinct: natural protective nature to embrace hope and deny death.
The maternal instinct is very powerful.
At the 6 month mark, the mother was quoted as making plans to attend the 1 year anniversary, again indicating no natural denial, but instead the expectation that Hailey would not be found.
The indicators of knowledge of death have been consistent from the beginning.
In the above question, "What happened?" the mother was not asked "when" Hailey went missing. She chose to begin her statement adding that it happened while mother was at work. This was her priority and it is why it entered her language. She did not need to include these unnecessary words but they were important to her.