The Death of Ayla Reynolds
by Peter Hyatt
Part One: Behavioral Analysis.
From the very beginning, those who listen, knew.
They knew that this was yet another false report of a missing child, and that Ayla Reynolds was, in deed, dead, due to mistreatment by those of whom the little girl would trust.
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" is an age old truth. As such, time cannot alter it, and human beings will speak from what they know, and what they feel. Statement Analyst and investigator, Kaaryn Gough said, "the brain knows. The subject wants to deceive, but the brain knows the truth" and the subject must work diligently from keeping the truth from leaking out. She said that the imagery she uses in teaching Statement Analysis is this:
Picture each word as a different marble, and that the brain is like a cabinet full of marbles. The subject wants to deceive the listener, and has to open up the cabinet and choose just the right marbles to do so, but other marbles slip out. This is "leakage."
A short example is found in a pick up bar.
A young man attempts to flirt with a married woman. In conversation, the woman will mention that she is married.
"My husband, Bob, says..." shows that she uses the possessive pronoun, "my", along with the title, "husband" and his first name, "Bob" which, the young man instinctively knows, means he has come to a dead end.
For a woman seeking the attention of a married man, "the wife", rather than "my" wife, is a signal that the married man may not remain faithful to his wife.
Both may be playing the flirtatious game, but each, when speaking of the spouse, has revealed a status of the relationship. The first, using all three elements of a "Complete Social Introduction" (LSI) tells us of a strong relationship, while the latter, using only "the wife", reveals a much weaker relationship and the possibility of infidelity.
We all show such leakage, every day, all the time.
When Baby Ayla was first reported missing, in these first moments, Behavioral Analysis began.
When a child goes missing, even for just a moment, perhaps, at a supermarket, the parental instinct will be to call out for the child...without delay. It is no different when a child is kidnapped. The parent will, by instinct, call out for the child...without delay.
When there is a delay, or the child is not called out for, there is a reason. I liken this to a parent food shopping at Walmart with her toddler, who wanders off. The parent knows the child has wandered off, but instead of stopping to search, she continues to fill her cart, goes to the checkout, pays for her food, and drives home.
This is the unexpected scenario.
This is what, in effect, Sergio and Becky Celis did right after they reported their 7 year old daughter, Isabell, missing. It is what Baby Ayla's father and paternal family did as well. They completed their shopping, drove home, unloaded the groceries from the car, and began to prepare dinner; all before seeking Ayla.
Objection: There is no textbook on how a parent of a missing child responds!
Answer: Yes, there is. It is written within the heart of mankind, as evidenced by King Solomon's appeal to the maternal instinct of the mother of the living child during his landmark custodial decision of long ago.
The child goes missing and the parent immediately calls out to the child, caring for nothing but the child's welfare.
Police know this.
Prosecutors know this.
TV commentators know this.
Children know this.
People like Cindy Anthony, or the Tudela family, defending Justin DiPietro, deny it, but all the same, there is no argument to engage in. A missing child causes a parent to call after the child, with no thought for anything but the child.
In the case of Baby Ayla, police offered to set up the most natural of events: the father would speak to the kidnapper or kidnappers, and arrange for his daughter's safe return, via media. It is what you or I would do if our children were taken, and it is the natural, instinctive response.
Someone has taken your child, and you will begin to negotiate with the kidnapper, for your child's return. You will give anything, including your own life, for the sake of your child.
When a parent refuses to call out to the child, and negotiate with the kidnapper, it is evident that the parent does not want the child found, no different than the parent who discovers her child is missing in Walmart, but decides to finish the check out and drive home, first.
Yet, in the case of Justin DiPietro, a major weak spot was evidenced, yet not taken advantage of by police.
He refused to call out for Ayla, showing police that the father does not want his child found, immediately bringing to the forefront of mind: this is not a kidnapping, but a homicide of sorts. Perhaps it is an accidental death and a panicked family, but whatever it is, it does not bode well for Ayla, and it is not a kidnapping.
DiPietro, however, has a blaring weakness (among many) which was quickly picked up, and should have been used by police.
He, like a classic abuser, has a raging ego.
Liars, that is, those who regularly practice deception via the use of words to alter reality, hold the rest of us in contempt.
Liars believe that they will get away with their deception because, they think, the rest of us are all idiots.
Liars hold to the expectation that they will be believed because they are smarter than their audience. A habitual liar, one who has learned to lie from childhood, thus hold the audience, that is, the world, in contempt. As they speak, the contempt becomes evident.
A liar's ego will cause an interesting response:
When a liar has told the truth, they will become indignant when not believed.
This is because they lie so often that when they finally tell the truth about something, they will jump to their own defense. It is the opposite of the LSI rule that "no man can lie twice."
"No man can lie twice" is the ancient belief that a liar will not look upon his lie, and lie about it! It is a fascinating phenomena that I have never seen, nor even heard of, being violated. It is why we turn a liar's own words back to him and ask the question, "Why should you be believed?" knowing that the liar will look upon his own lie and be utterly incapable of saying, "Because I have told you the truth."
The liar may say, "I don't lie" (and use various forms of the word "lie" in their defense" but will not be able to say "I told you the truth", with:
1. The pronoun "I"
2. The past tense verb "told"
3. The word "truth."
The liar will look upon his lie, and avoid this simple sentence while a truthful person will, when challenged, say "I told you the truth" with an element of confidence that puts the burden of disproving the statement upon the audience. There is a 'devil may care' type of dismissal that comes from the truthful . There is no need to wag the finger, or call upon a mother's grave to swear upon; that is the language of the deceptive.
DiPietro was faced with a lie and it was this lie that triggered his response.
Trista Reynolds, the missing baby's mother, complained that Justin DiPietro was not giving answers. This was not entirely true and that fact that DiPietro suddenly saw that he was being lied about, was incensed and quickly ended his silence. His pride and ego hit, he rose, with 'righteous indignation' to defend himself, even offering to show the text messages to police!
DiPietro was "emotionally incapable" (so he claimed) of speaking to media, thus, showing that he cared for his "emotional health and wellbeing" more than whatever it was that Ayla was experiencing.
Because DiPietro spoke, leakage took place.
He referenced Ayla in the past tense.
When a parent of a missing child slips out a past tense reference, it is a signal that the parent has either belief or knowledge that the child is dead.
"My boys needed me" Susan Smith.
"Hailey wasn't allowed to go out by herself..." Billie Jean Dunn, mother of murdered Hailey Dunn.
"She was a great woman. She is a great woman..." catching his slip, correcting himself (Scott Peterson)
"Caylee loved the park." Casey Anthony.
We simply ask: Does the subject have a reason to believe that the child is dead? Have police revealed something so terrible that it would overcome all natural denial within a parent's heart to cause the parent to slip, even once, into a past tense reference?
In the case of Baby Ayla, there was nothing to convince, over and against his parental instincts, Justin DiPietro to believe his child was dead.
Yet, there he was, telling us, that his child was dead.
"Contrary to rumors floating around out there..."
I shared this with LSI founder, Avinoam Sapir, who immediately asked me, "What does the father do for a living?"
I said, "he is unemployed."
Mr. Sapir asked, "Yes, but what does he usually do?"
I had been told by those close to him that he was taking driving lessons to be a truck driver, but was chronically unemployed because of his personality disorder; that is, he is a minimum wage kind of guy who demands to be treated like a boss, and storms off his jobs incredulous that he is not being treated like a CEO.
When I said that he was taking truck driver classes, Mr. Sapir said, "Uh oh. That's not good. Trucker drivers have their wheels firmly on the ground. Better check water. That baby's in water."
This was long before the Kennebec River was the target of searching.
Mr. Sapir knows, and teaches, that every word (or every "marble", thanks to Kaaryn) that the brain is choosing to use is important and chosen for a reason. We should be listening. He is the 'grandfather' of all Statement Analysis in the country, and can be reached via his website here.
When Caylee Anthony was "missing", Texas Equasearch founder Tim Miller moved a fortune of material from Texas to Florida to help find the missing toddler. He went to the home of Cindy and George Anthony, and spread out a map and asked the mother, Casey Anthony, to point out where they should begin their search. To his shock, Cindy ordered Casey to be silent and to go to her room. Miller said that this was the first "missing" persons case in which the family did not cooperate, and could not understand why the family was sabotaging attempts to locate the child.
Do you remember the jailhouse video tape in which Casey said to her mother, "In my heart, Caylee is close, Mom..."? They were putting on a show for the camera, feigning ignorance, yet even the words chosen, while attempting to deceive, gave us information. When CNN commentator Mike Brooks said, "I can tell when Casey is lying, her lips are moving!" all the other talking heads laughed as they agreed that talking to a liar was useless. Trained interviewers, however, could only shake their heads at such stupidity.
Cindy Anthony was then challenged by Tim Miller who demanded to know why the family was hindering the search efforts.
Cindy ordered him out of her house.
Cindy then walked calmly to the microphones set up by the hoard of media and said,
"George and I don't believe Caylee's in the woods, or anything."
Caylee was found, in the woods, less than a half mile from the house.
Cindy knew, and even while being deceptive, "leaked" out where Caylee was.
"Contrary to rumors floating around out there..."
Trista got Justin to speak, something we later learned police were struggling with. She was successful in getting him to speak by pricking at his ego. He is a liar, and he learned it in childhood. We saw his deception teacher on television, shaking her head, closing her eyes, and saying she "heard nothing" on the fateful night that Ayla met her demise. It did not take us long to see where Justin got his training.
But what of the polygraph?
The polygraph test is something that advocates for missing children, like John Walsh, counsel parents to take immediately, so that time is not wasted needlessly looking at the parent.
Justin balked at taking it, a red flag itself, but finally did. How did he do?
"I smoked it", he said.
Lying causes internal stress, therefore, liars will go a long way to avoid a direct lie. He did not say "I passed it" because he didn't. Listen to what he says. Note what he does not say.
Objection: sociopaths have no conscience.
Answer: Stop watching reruns of Silence of the Lambs.
The stress is not due to a tender conscience, necessarily, but more about not wanting to get caught. Liars will go out of their way to avoid a direct lie, making lying via missing information the extreme majority of percentage of deception. People will skip over, or withhold information rather than directly lie. This is what makes the "reliable denial" principle so, well, so very reliable.
"I didn't cause Ayla's disappearance" would have been the simplest and easiest thing for DiPietro to say.
He did not.
"I did not kill Nicole" would have been the shortest and easiest of sentences for OJ Simpson to say, especially given the volume of interviews he gave over the years.
He did not.
"I did not take performance enhancing drugs" would have been easy for Lance Armstrong to say, over many years and many interviews.
He did not.
Michael Jackson said many things, but did not say that he did not molest children.
In interview after interview, Billie Jean Dunn and Shawn Adkins both avoided denying killing Hailey Dunn, 13, who's body was found this year in the "ugly" fields where the mother said she refused to search.
Kevin Fox repeatedly told his untrained and ignorant interrogators, "I did not kill my daughter" and when they brutalized him into a confession, his confession showed deception. This is the nature of false confessions: they do not come from experiential memory, therefore, they show deception.
When Justin DiPietro's mother said that police claim that the three adults in the house are not telling all they know about what happened to Ayla, it was the perfect opportunity for her to say "they told the truth."
She did not.
We have a rule we follow in the world of analysis:
If the subject is unwilling or unable to say he did not do it, we are not permitted to say it for him.
Justin DiPietro was unwilling or unable to say "I passed my polygraph." We are not to say it for him.
His sister, Elisha DiPietro, was unwilling or unable to say "I passed my polygraph", even though she was asked the same question repeatedly; therefore, we are not permitted to say it for her.
If someone is able to bring himself to say "I didn't do it", but actually did, he will be unable to say, "I told the truth" about his lie, when asked for a reason to be believed. It will not happen.
Behavioral Analysis showed that when Ayla was first reported missing, the paternal family did not want police to find her.
This is the same as the family filling up their shopping cart at Walmart, knowing that their toddler has wandered off, but instead of calling after the child, they finished their shopping, checked out paying for the food, drove home, unloaded the groceries, put their feet up, and...
all while supposedly feigning concern for finding the child.
The "Waterville Three"; that is, Justin DiPietro, his sister, Elisha DiPietro, and his girlfriend, Courtney Roberts, conspired to hinder the ability of police to find Ayla.
This means that they have a reason why they do not want her found.
Given the fact that Justin DiPietro is a liar, and holds the world in contempt, police could have formulated a strategy that included bringing charges up against one of the two women present; charges which could have cost them custody of their own children.
I do not believe their loyalty towards Justin would have caused them to remain in the conspiracy of silence.
By going to the public in an attempt to persuade one of the three to come forward, by telling us that they are not telling all, police (or prosecutors) revealed their own lack of confidence in being able to prove the case.
It was a tactical mistake.
Next Up: Part Two: the Escalation and Desensitization of Child Abuse in Ayla's Life
Part Three: Motive Examined.
Peter Hyatt is a Statement Analyst and he and his wife, Heather teach Statement Analysis and Analytical Interviewing; that is, interviewing based upon analysis. He can be reached via Facebook for speaking engagements, and scheduling seminars for Human Resources and Law Enforcement.