Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Past Tense Verbs And Missing Children

Justice for Hailey!

There has been recent discussion about past tense references and mothers of missing child.  Let's review the principle. 

When the parent of a missing child makes a past tense reference, it is an indication that the parent knows or believes the child is dead. 
This is a simple precept.  

When we speak of someone who has died, we say things like, "She was a wonderful person", indicating death, that she is no longer a wonderful person.  When a child goes missing, the innocent parent will speak as if the child is alive.  "She is a wonderful person" is in the present tense, ongoing.  

Casey Anthony actually caught herself in this slip of the tongue.  "Caylee loved the park", she said, adding, "Caylee loves the park."  Yet, it was this single slip that told us that she knew Caylee was dead. 

Recently, a guest on The Nancy Grace Show attempted to reference this principle, but got it backward saying, 'The parent is innocent.  We can know this because she speaks of her child in the present tense.'

Not so.  

This reminds me of Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones:  'I have passed 100 drug tests" instead of saying, "I did not take testosterone."  This is like the man accused of robbing his bank who says, "I have made withdrawals once a week, 50 times a year, for 10 years at this bank and have never been caught stealing" instead of saying "I didn't take the money."


The deceptive parent, with guilty knowledge of the child's death will attempt to always speak in the present tense, for the purpose of continuing the deception.  It is the rare and occasional  slip that reveals the guilty knowledge of the deceptive parent.  

This must be viewed in context:

1.  Natural parental denial.  

Parents have a natural denial within them; oftentimes mothers have a steeper acceptance curve and will refuse to give up hope longer than fathers.  It goes against every fiber of a mother's being to accept that her baby is dead.  Fathers can give up hope earlier.  This denial can last for a very long time.  

2.  Have the police given indication to the parents that their child is dead?  In a case, for example, where the child is missing and the police are thinking that she is a runaway, or met someone on line, there is no reason for the parent to lose hope.  

3.  How much time has passed?

The earlier the reference in the past tense, the more alarming.  If a teen, for example, has been missing a week, an innocent mother will not likely accept anything but hope.  In the case of missing 7 year old, Kyron Horman, a year passed and Desiree Young still did not use past tense verbs.  

Not forgotten by us


4.  Has evidence or circumstance taken away hope?

This may be where blood is found, and the parent loses hope, yet, the mother will still struggle to accept that the child may be dead, and will, because of the powerful God-given instincts, believe that even with this much blood, her child would have survived.  

Here are some examples where the parent slipped into past tense verb usage, without any indicators from police that the child was dead:

Susan Smith:  "My boys needed me", she said, while the search had only just begun.  As a mother of missing sons, did her boys no longer need her?

Casey Anthony:  "Caylee loved the park.  Caylee loves the park" correcting herself as she slipped out knowledge that she had killed Caylee, put duct tape over her mouth, and stuffed her into a garbage bag.  Casey Anthony's words are useful for studying and teaching deception detection.  

Deborah Bradley wanted people to search for the 'kidnapped' Lisa when her language revealed, from the beginning, that she knew Lisa was dead.  Lisa infringed upon her "adult time" and, in a likely moment of anger, Lisa met her fate in the home, which quickly became a cover up, like so many others.  Death was not likely intended, but came just the same, and rather than risk arrest, she concocted an implausible story, but it was the words of the story, rather than the implausibility, that showed her deception. 

Sergio Celis and Becky Celis used past tense language even while telling others to keep searching and have hope. Sergio Celis' 911 call showed indicators of deception, speaking from a script, and an attempt to persuade that he was not involved.  He utterly failed.  His language brings sexual abuse to mind. 


Justin DiPietro, like the Celis', refused to call out to the missing child, via media, and was provoked to come out and referenced Ayla in the past tense.  We knew, early on, that there was no hope for Ayla.  DiPietro, with a likely underlining thought, purchased life insurance, not for Ayla, but against her.  Even though he has another child with another woman, he did not purchase life insurance against his other child.  Can we imagine the other mother's relief?

Billie Jean Dunn did so on the Nancy Grace Show while attempting to portray herself as a caring mother.  Some have written that she did so because she was answering questions from people prior, therefore, she went out of bounds of the question, "How far did she have to go to the sleepover?", which is an excellent explanation:


She felt the need to explain herself.  Deceptive people anticipate such things and seek to preempt them. They think to themselves, "I  better explain this before it is asked..." not realizing that it indicates clear deception.  We note not only that she went outside the boundary of the question, but the need, itself, to go beyond, as critical information.  

When it was learned that the home had serial killer literature, among so much else, Dunn defended herself by saying she had downloaded and printed a story from Nancy Grace's crime library. 


desperate to control information
The problem with this defense?  She downloaded and printed a story of a young girl who went to a sleepover and was murdered along the way.  

This highlights that even lies have a genesis.  Words do not come from a vacuum, and it is why when humans speak, they give themselves away.  

Billie Dunn's amateurish lies have not been difficult to discern and her contribution to society is that her interview on The Nancy Grace Show is now used around the country to teach deception detection techniques.  


"Don't Shake Jake!"

I attended a seminar on medical indicators of child abuse and was treated to a lecture about Shaken Baby Syndrome by a mother who's son, Jake, had been shaken to death by a babysitter.  The innocent mother used her son's death to educate society to the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome.  I took careful notes during her speech.  She repeatedly spoke of Jacob in the present tense, though he had been long deceased, and instead of the pronoun "him", she called him terms of endearment with the possessive pronoun, "my."  She said, "My Jake" and "My special guy" and so on. Her natural denial, in spite of the very setting in which she was speaking, was still in play.  She left a life-changing imprint upon me. 

Take a moment to read this story HERE.  I will never be able to thank this courageous mother enough for her work, in her son's name.  He, being dead, continues to 'speak' and warn parents about that momentary loss of control. 

His death was not in vain.  

Innocent mothers will struggle, even when police break the bad news to them, to accept their child's death.  The natural denial overpowers reason and the mother will, even upon viewing her deceased child, shake her head 'no' and speak to her child, as if alive. It is something deep within a mother's heart, and it is from this place where the intellect and emotions meet, that the mouth forms its words. 

Many innocent mothers will continue, even for years, to speak of the deceased child in the present tense.  The denial within them is very powerful, even as maternal instincts were highlighted by Solomon in his maternity decision from ancient Israel.  

22 comments:

heartbroken said...

Peter, I love this post. I lost my son at age 5 in an accident. I struggle with the present n past tense pronouns when talking about him. It's hard to accept in my mind that he's gone. I applaud Jake's mom for her courage. I personally can't get over my son's death and it's been 18 yrs. Even though I wasn't there, I still have a lifetime of blame and what if I had done this instead of that.
On another note, Can you please do a sa on Trista Reynolds? I'm so disturbed at the ppl that still defending the Dips. Trista bashing and blaming is disgusting at this point in time.

Apple said...

Heartbroken,
I am so sorry for your loss and your pain.

heartbroken said...

Thank you Apple, my son was with his dad for the weekend. He was too hung over and wasn't watching my kids. He fell in the inlet to a river and drowned. Well, had to take him off life support. So, I understand some of Trista's pain. It really gets to me when they torment her more with their sickening accusations. It took me four years to be able to function and even now I still go to counseling.

Hobnob said...

My condolences on your loss heartbroken.

It is the hardest thing in the world to lose a child, we accept our parents and grandparents will pass before us, it is the norm, it is how it should be.
Losing a child is wrong, it is unexpected, even when a child is born gravely ill and will pass at a tender age it is still against the laws of nature and nurture, we instinctively know it is wrong and will fight it.
Parents especially moms still use present tense when talking about them as inside they are continuing the life their child lost.
I lost a brother when he was nearly 3 in a road accident many years ago and my mom would still occasionally slip into present tense as the anniversary came round.

The hurt never goes, it fades into the background occassionally to rear it's head at anniversaries and special occasions or when we read of something similar happening to another.
Remember the good times and the joy they brought.

Anonymous said...

Oh Dear Heartbroken, I am so sad for you and your lost little loved one. My heart hurts for you.

May God bless you and keep you in his tender loving care until that great and wonderful day when you are at last reunited with your precious son. Just wipe your tears and KNOW that it will be.

xx00xx REB

Nanna Frances said...

REB
well said!

heartbroken,
I am sorry for your loss. Losing a child is unbearable, but we have have to bear it somehow. The knowledge that we will meet again helps.
You were very brave to continue on and take care of your other children.

Anonymous said...

Peter,
The mother of Dylan Redwine was on Nancy Grace 2 nights ago, I think. She seems to have changed since she got to the father's house where Dylan disappeared from. She was speaking of Dylan in the past tense so much, it was clear to me she knew he was deceased.



Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:14, Elaine Redwine also says the "you know" words frequently, just like Daddy Redwine does.

You know, you know, you know...

You know this and you know that, as if she's trying to convince someone that they should know how she feels, or can relate to whatever she says or feels.

Oh yeah, do we "know"? Don't think so! REB

CEC said...

Anon 1:14 PM:

But emotionally, wouldn't Dylan's mom need some kind of proof that her son was deceased, before seeming to agree with it by referring to him in the past tense? Then, with that proof, wouldn't she be screaming to LE for justice for Dylan? If she were not complicit in his death, why would she have any reason to help cover up?

CEC said...

Heartbroken, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious little boy.


When my youngest was in 5th grade, his teacher assigned them to write their own obituary! I was appalled, but glad I learned of the assignment in advance. I literally made him use "132" as his age for it. It was the only form of "past tense" I could tolerate! The teacher (who was otherwise a wonderful teacher) displayed the assignments during open house. Kids wrote about being shot, dying of horrible illnesses, dying at age 14, etc. ::shudders::

Anonymous said...

CEC, that is what is so mysterious about her change. Did she learn something when she got to her ex-husband's house? If so, what?
And she even caught herself talking in the past tense when she said "I WAS going to get him a smartphone for Christmas," then corrected herself to say, "I AM going to get him a smartphone for Christmas."

Anonymous said...

To heartbroken, I'm so sorry for your loss and for your continued pain..thank you for opening up and sharing because your story truly had an impact on me. Luckily, I'm able to stay home with my son, and I don't have to leave him with a sitter or daycare, but me being the 24/7 primary caregiver has led to a situation with my husband where he sometimes suffers from what I call 'selective parenting', (meaning when he's done working, golfing, drinking, sleeping, eating, bathing and anything else HE wants to do...THEN hes available to participate in child care.)

There have been times in the past when after my husband has gotten home from one of his activities, I have forced or guilted him into taking part in caring for our son, (despite his obvious lack of energy/interest) so that i could shower, cook, clean or do whatever I had been putting off until I had some help. Almost every time it has resulted in an argument, as I have walked in the room 20-30min later to find my husband asleep on the couch while he was supposed to be watching our 2yo. My house is baby-proofed with gates, locks, foam corners and nearly every gadget available to keep my little guy safe, but that's beside the point..a 2yo is not to be left alone for any amount of time...not even if my husband is 'right there', which is always his excuse.

I'm always preaching to my husband that, 'You can't take your eyes off of him for even a second', and after reading your tragic story I realize I need to take my own advice. Since my husband has proven he doesn't take supervising our son seriously, I won't be asking him to watch him again. Its so not worth it, just to make a task a little easier or to get something done a little faster. I would much rather skip a shower or leave the dishes in the sink than worry about my sons safety. Once again thank you for sharing.

CEC said...

Yes, Anon. 3:24 PM, it really is baffling about Dylan's mom seeming to have learned something bad about Dylan's fate, yet not demanding justice! I can't imagine why she wouldn't immediately want LE to know all about it and to arrest the perp(s)! I know early on, she said something about the possibility of Dylan's dad doing something bad to him, but since she arrived on the scene, I haven't heard any more about it. If he did do something, what motive would she have to defend him? And if it wasn't him, but she knows who did it, why would she have a scintilla of reason to conceal what she learned? And she HAD to have learned something to go against maternal instinct and speak of him in the past tense!

Anonymous said...

Please help find Ayla
CEC: And she HAD to have learned something to go against maternal instinct and speak of him in the past tense!
December 5, 2012 5:12 PM

She may not realize what she has heard, and is reflecting the father's language. I saw a news video of her crying uncontrollably.

Jen said...

JMO, but I don't think anything has changed about Elaine Redwines opinion about what possibly happened to her son. After all she knows her ex better than anyone and what he is capable of, and her first instinct was that he was responsible. I suspect once she arrived to find out more details about his phone, nothing to use for the tracking dogs, and to observe her ex's standoff-ish behavior for herself...her suspicions were all but confirmed in her mind.

She already stated that she believes he's involved, his probable motive (if i can't have him, nobody will), and that she could see him hurting Dylan if he did or said something her ex didnt like...what else is really left to say? The fact remains that nothing can be proven until Dylan is found, or some evidence of foul play emerges so I would think she is just waiting for LE to gather what info they can and praying she is wrong about her gut feeling. I can only imagine how terrible she must feel, being forced to send her son on a visit he didn't want to make, with a man she clearly didn't trust and now she is at his mercy for the answers to her sons whereabouts...pitiful.

Jazzie said...

Off Topic:

Hunters find two bodies believed to be missing Iowa cousins:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57557418-504083/elizabeth-collins-lyric-cook-morrissey-update-hunters-find-bodies-believed-to-be-missing-iowa-cousins/

Jazzie said...

News video re: Iowa cousins

http://wqad.com/2012/12/05/hunters-find-bodies-thought-to-be-missing-iowa-girls/

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry heartbroken for your loss. You never get over losing a child. My aunt lost her daughter and my cousin at the age of 23 and still after three years, she sleeps in her bed and cries for her every night. She visits the cemetery weekly and places balloons and a cake at her grave every year for her birthday. Her other three children don't understand why she holds on to her daughters things, and always tells her that she still has three children living, but she will never get over the loss of her daughter. Just remember heartbroken, you will be with him someday in the future.

heartbroken said...

Thanks everyone. I appreciate your heartfelt comments. It truly means alot to me. I feel so sorry for Trista. I can see and feel her pain. @anon 4:14. You're def right on with your thinking. Guys don't think like us. To them we are over protective or over reacting. We can't help it we have the mother instinct. I can tell you're a great mom.

Lis said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Heartbroken.

The attacks on Trista are an amateurish attempt to deflect attention away from themselves. The harder they attack, the more clear it makes it that they NEED to deflect attention from themselves- because of their own guilt.

Trista was not in possession of Ayla when she was killed. She could be the devil himself and it would make no difference to the guilt of those in the home that night, those who have not told the truth to law enforcement about what happened.

Hopefully all those in the home that night will be charged, soon.

Meag in Manhattan said...

Dear Heartbroken ~ My heart breaks and cries with yours.
May God Bless you and keep you, until you again get to hold your little baby boy in your lonely arms again.

Most Sincerely,
Meag

Meag in Manhattan said...

Dear Peter ~ Thank you for sharing "Don't Shake Jake" - the life saving message it gives.
I have shared this website infomation with my babies' daycare center, as well as with my sister-in-law, who is in her OB/GYN residency.
The message is extremely important to share with new parents, and I noticed per the DSJ website that New Jersey does not offer this information to new parents.

I will try to change that....

Most Sincerely,
Meag