The following is Statement Analysis of the 911 call, made 11 days ago, by Lena Lunsford, reporting her 3 year old child missing.
What do we look for in 911 calls?
Besides following the principles of Statement Analysis, we specifically look for some of the following red flags in 911 calls:
1. Does the call begin with a greeting?
2. Does the caller ask for help for the victim, or for herself?
3. Does the caller frame the words "I'm sorry" for any reason, in the call?
4. Does the caller disparage, in any way, the victim?
5. What is the focus of the call? Is it the victim?
6. What does the priority show?
7. What does the language show?
911 What is your emergency?
My baby’s missing.
Note that this is the first thing mentioned.
What is your address?
(address given) I was out looking for her for over an hour.
In 911 calls, it is common to find over-talking, so it may be that one interrupts the other.
Here, we have the caller portraying herself in a positive light, adding in the time she has invested.
Note that after answering the question that she provides additional information. When an answer goes beyond the scope of the question, every word is critical. What is it that is a priority to the caller that she goes beyond the address alone? It began well with "my baby's missing" but without listening, she has a message for police.
The subject wants police to know that she has been out looking for over an hour.
Please note that she does not say "I was looking for her" but "out" looking for her for "over an hour". This is important as it is a reference to time; as all time references are significant.
How old? I need you to calm down.
I’m sorry she’s she’s only three.
Please note "I'm sorry"has entered into the subject's language. This is always noted no matter why the subject is using these words (see Casey Anthony's 911 call)
We red flag it because it enters the language of the guilty. It does not conclude guilt (we do not make conclusions on a single indicator) but is part of an overall view.
We wonder if there is guilt within the caller that causes the words, "I'm sorry" to enter the language.
When was the last time you saw him?
It’s a girl. This morning. Real early. I went in and checked on her because she’s been sick with the flu.
Note that "because" tells us why, rather than simply answering the question. This goes beyond the realm of the question of what happened and goes to why something happened. Here she says that she checked on her "real early" because she was sick. Note that she "went in" and checked on her.
Note that sick with the flu is now mentioned. The caller feels the need to explain why she checked on a little girl, making her checking on the child very sensitive to the caller. It is norm for a parent to check on a child, yet here, it is beyond the norm.
Okay is it a male or female?
It’s a Girl
Note that "it's" is reflective language; entering into the language of the operator. We might expect, "she's a girl!" or the use of Aliayah's name here, but we only find her using the 911 operator's language.
Ok you saw her this morning around 6:30?
That’s the last time you saw her was at 6:30 this morning?
Yes and then she laid back down and went back to sleep. And we went back to bed.
Note that she "laid back down" would indicate that she would have to be up in order to go back down.
Note that when a sentence begins with "And" the subject has missing information here. This information is about the time Aliayah got up, and laid down again. Note that the child laid back down, not that the mother put helped her back to bed. Given her age, and the fact that Aliayah was apparently awake (laid "back" down), the normal or expected is that she would be up and she would be hungry. Children have "stomach clocks" that once they go off, they stay on until fed. We must consider this in light of the "blue" indicator above: The mother felt the need to explain why she was up checking on her. This is a critical period of time in the case.
Note that "we" went back to bed. Who is "we"? Is it she and Aliayah? Since "we" indicates unity or cooperation, was it she and her husband who went back to bed? She and another child? Who is the other part of the "we"?
Ok was the doors open or anything?
No the doors weren’t open.
Note that she uses reflective language (the language of the operator).
Were they locked?
Yes I think.
(Inuaudible) the residence?
It was difficult to hear the question but it sounded like who lives in the residence, of which the answer is important:
Me and my other kids.
She does not mention the husband or step father. This is not lost on the 911 operator who then asks:
Ok do you live with her father?
Note that other questions she answers but then adds information. Note here regarding who else resides there that she does not give additional information and is not bringing up her husband's name. We note all names that enter the language, especially the victim's name.
Who is her father?
Her father is a guy named Eric Harris. He doesn’t even know that she exists.
Note that she references the father (male) as a "guy" and gives his full name.
Ok and you’ve been looking for her for the past hour?
Yes I’ve looked everywhere (inaudible)
This is alarming.
First, "I've looked" is first person singular, but then she says,
"everywhere". When someone says that they have looked "everywhere" they have no other places to search. This is akin to saying, "I've told you everything" therefore, there is nothing more to say. When someone says "I have looked everywhere" they are saying that there are no more places to look, a strong indication that she has no places to search; hence, out of hope.
What was she wearing when you put her back in bed?
She had a little pair of purple Dora pj’s. We went up all these streets. We went up all these streets.
"we" often shows the desire to share guilt or responsibility.
The pronoun is changed to plural, "we"; which is repeated. If she is now speaking of herself and her children, please note that it is repeated:
this is sensitive.
She did not say that they searched or looked for her; only that "we went up" these streets. We seek to believe what people tell us.
If she does not tell us that they went up searching, we cannot say that they were searching. This correlates to what the lawyer said: children asked him for gas; and it fits what another neighbor said: he was out at his truck all morning and no one was searching, nor asking him if he had seen Aliayah. People did not report searching. If the children were begging gas from a neighbor, would they not alarm the neighbor and tell him about the missing sibling? This sets the scenario for a contrived situation set up by Lena.
If she went "up" by herself without the children, the change in pronoun is deceptive.
Also, that she went "up" ; something that is repeated. Does this mean that she went up, and that she did not find Aliayah, that Aliayah is "down" somewhere?
Have you been outside checking the area?
Please note that she checked "everywhere" but the operator asks this question anyway.
Yes I’ve drove up all the streets around here looking thinking that maybe she went outside or something. And I don’t think my mom would have came and got her because she’d have woke me up and stuff.
1. Please note that she uses for the third time the word "up" where Aliayah is not found. This may indicate that Aliayah will be found "down" somewhere; down in water, buried in a grave, et.c.
2. "all" the streets; with the same meaning at looking "everywhere". All the streets "around here" have been looked so even though she has been thorough, she has not been located.
3. Note the inclusion of her thinking, even though it wasn't 'correct' thinking.
4. Note the inclusion of "or something" which strongly indicates that Aliayah went out "or something"; what is the choice? It is she went outside "or" something else happened to her. She is giving police a choice. If she went out, we won't find her because she has searched "everywhere" and on all the "streets around here" where Aliayah, "only three"could have gone. But since she didn't, we then must conclude "or something" took place with Aliayah that Lena knows and is not sharing. This sentence is an indiction that Lena Lunsford is deceptively withholding information and would like to limit the searching. She does not want someone else to find Aliayah.
5. Lena introduces, with the word "And" to start the sentence (missing info) her "mom" to the operator. Her mom is significant to Lena and her mother should be carefully interviewed. Please also note that she tells us "because" which explains why something, rather than report what happened. Her mother would have wakened her "and stuff"; what stuff? Police should seek to learn if there has been any arguments, specifically about child care, between Lena and her own mother. What other "stuff" would the mother have done, besides woken Lena up?
Ok have you called your mother?
No I need to do that.
Did the operator just give Lena the idea that she should have called her mother? Now she "needs" to do it.
Please note that she allegedly drove around for an hour and did not call her mother. If she was searching for her child, would she not, after the first few minutes, called her mother? Why would she think that her mother could have had Aliayah ? Is this the type of family that takes a 3 year old without notice? How could a three year old leave without it being known?
This appears contrived and false.
Do you have a phone number for her?
Yes its (number).
What is her name?
Do you want to just call her real quick and call me right back so I know what’s going on ok?
This is unusual and may indicate that the 911 operator did not entirely trust the caller and wanted her to check with her mother. Better would have been to keep Lena on the line, give pauses to allow Lena to choose her own words, while the police were en route to the home. But it does not answer the question as to why she would need to call her mother when she was out searching "everywhere" (everywhere but...her mothers? everywhere, but..."down" where Aliayah can be located?)
911 what is your emergency?
This is Lena Lunsford my mom doesn’t have her.
She doesn’t have her she’s coming now. Oh my God.
You don’t know of any place she would have went there in the community? Is there a friend’s house nearby or somebody that she plays with?
Ok. Is there any place there in the community, a playground, or does she go to church anywhere there?
No. (crying) Help me find her.
The caller specifies her request for help: "help me find her" yet she has looked "everywhere" (see above) so there is no other place to look.
I have an officer on the way mam, I need you to calm down ok. You’ve looked everywhere in the house
All the closets, under everything? Under every beds
Do you have a basement?
Its been checked too.
The passive language here suggests concealment. It is likely that if police asked the children if they searched the basement, they would tell the police that they did not. Passive language is used to conceal identity often, or when a subject does not want to own a statement with the pronoun, "I" such as "I checked the basement too" especially since she said "I" previously, but then also said "we" drove up the streets...
Ok how about the vehicles outside?
Its been checked that’s what I used to go look for her.
She reported driving around for about an hour looking for her.
And you said that there’s other children in the residence?
Is she old enough where she would be able to reach the door handle?
Yes she is.
Oh my god. Here, please play with your brother for a minute. (talking to child)
What color is her hair?
She has brown hair and brown eyes.
Here the subject gives the additional info of the color of her eyes which would have been asked next. Was this rehearsed?
Do you know how much she weighs?
She weighs approximately 32 to 35 pounds.
Maybe a little more.
Ok. Do you know how tall she is?
Um I’m guessing around three feet I’m, I’m not for sure right now I’m sorry.
Please note that this is the 2nd time she has said "I'm sorry" to a 911 operator.
That’s ok. Was there anybody else in the residence with you this morning, any other adults?
No, umm the only adult that
The tape cut out here.
Other children in the residence?
Umm I have five kids.
OK so there’s 4 others in the residence?
There’s three right now.
Ok. Where is the other one?
My son is at visitation with his father.
Note: he is not visiting with his father, but "at visitation" suggests court ordered or supervised.
Ok. So you got up at 6:30 this morning with her?
Yes she got sick. Yes
This should be considered sensitive; via repetition and that the time frame is mentioned and she repeats about being sick. That the child was sick may prove vital in the investigation.
She went back to bed, went back to sleep and you laid down on
How old are your other children that are in
Ok did any of them see her this morning? What time did they get up?
The compound question is to be avoided.
They came in here umm, I’m not sure maybe around 7, 7:30, came in my room with me.
Please notice that the additional qualifiers are found when asked about timeframe.
"I'm not sure" is a qualifier
"maybe" is a qualifer
"around" is a qualifier, equally three in one sentence to this point, but then she says "7, 7"30,
which is the fourth. Investigators assuming that this is sensitive and deceptive would be correct. Overall, her time frames are sensitive and she does not appear truthful about them.
Ok you said 11 year old 9year old and 8 mos?
Ok can you look outside and see the officer?
Yes Inaudible Oh God.
In the front. Oh my god. Yes I see one out here.
Please note that in these two calls, she appeared to avoid talking about her husband, Aliayah's step father. Statement Analysis means not only looking at the words chosen, but what is missing.
It can be assumed that the following are sensitive to Lena Lunsford:
1. Time Frame
2. Actual Searching
3. "Up" versus "down"
4. Her husband; Aliayah's step father
It appears that she does not want them looking for Aliayah, as she has already told them that she has searched "everywhere" and that being only 3, she could not have walked far, but "we" have been "up" all the streets in the area.
It should be noted that twice she formed the words "I'm sorry" in this call. This is often an indicator of a form of regret; for some, they are sorry for what they have done (or failed to do) and for others, they are sorry for being caught.
It is likely that Lena Lunsford knows more than what she has said to police and may be directly involved, or may be covering up for someone else, including her husband. Careful interviewing and polygraphs should be conducted also with the grandmother, and from other statements, the aunt.
Others will weigh in on the crying; those trained in voice recognition, for example; though at times, to my untrained ear, the crying sounded contrived and forced.
911 Call Analysis Conclusion: