The expected versus the unexpected.
Place yourself in the position of the caller, with the presupposition of innocence; that is, no involvement, nor guilty knowledge of what happened.
This is an emergency.
We expect to hear the information that best helps the victim, and not about the caller.
We expect a rush to give the information; therefore, we do not expect to hear a "greeting" or any attempt to be 'friendly' to the police. This is an emergency with all expectations of an emergency in place.
We listen for the "expected", but when we are confronted by that which we did not expect, we apply analysis. This is what it means to have the "Expected Versus the Unexpected" in analysis.
Katelyn Markham was reported missing by her fiance, John Carter. The following is his 911 call with analysis.
John Carter: Hi, my name is John Carter, I am calling - I know that you're not supposed to report a missing person after - before 24 hours, but my fiancee is missing, I can't find her anywhere.
1. "hi" Please note the that call begins with a greeting.
In Analysis, we deal with the unexpected.
Put yourself in the caller's shoes and presuppose innocence. Would you begin with a greeting as such? This is not expected in an emergency. It may be an attempt by the caller to be in a 'friendly' position with law enforcement.
You would be upset, fearful, that your fiancé is in danger. Let's note some of the red flags in the call:
2. Note the Incomplete Social Introduction.
Please note that there is no use of her name indicating a problem in the relationship. He says "my fiance" without using her name. We expect him to be frantic, not casually, meaning that his words will be in a 'hurry' to get to the specific issues. Instead, it begins with a casual greeting and here he does not give Katelyn's name.
3. "I can't find her anywhere" should lead to the question, "Where, specifically, have you been looking for her?"
911 Dispatcher: Okay, where'd you see her last?
J: Um, I saw her at like 12 o' clock last night. She stays in a house by herself, um, so, she - I'm just, I'm really nervous. Her car's still there, her purse is still -
Note "um" is a pause to think, indicating sensitivity. Why the need to pause to think? He was asked a direct question: Where did you see her last? He was not asked, what time, nor where she stays, nor about his own emotional state. He was asked to tell police where he had seen her last.
In his answer, he avoided saying where he saw her. The location of where he saw her, therefore, is to be considered very sensitive to John Carter.
"She stays" is present tense. This is outside the boundary of the question, "where did you last see her?" He avoided answering the question, instead choosing to report where she normally is. This is a strong indication that she was somewhere else when he last saw her.
Note that "so" is highlighted as very sensitive since it shows a need to explain ("so, since, therefore, because, to...") Yet, he broke his sentence (self censoring) so we do not know what explanation he was going to give. There should be no need to explain why his emotional state would be such. This then suggests that the emotions may be in question:
Is he nervous for her, or is he nervous for himself?
"I saw her at like 12' o' clock last night" is only slightly weakened by "like"; investigators should focus upon this time period as it is introduced by the subject along with the pronoun "I" and the past tense verb "saw" connecting him to her at this time. This time period is likely very important to the story. It sometime near midnight, is likely truthful.
Please note the phrase, "I'm really nervous"; not just "nervous" but "really" nervous. This is a focus upon the caller himself, not the victim. Innocent callers focus upon the victim and ask for help, specifically, for the victim. This is a focus upon himself. We have already seen that
The focus is upon the caller, not the victim. He is the one who is "really nervous" but she is the one alleged to be missing. Note also the context of being really nervous: it is around midnight and he reports she is alone. This is suspicious.
D: Is there an address?
J: Yeah, 5214 Dorshire Drive.
J: Dorshire, yes.
D: Okay. And you're out there now?
J: Um, I'm heading out there now, I, like, have been trying to get ahold of her and I decided to go by her house to see if she's okay, and her car's still there - she would be at work right now with her car. Which is why I'm like really freaking out.
1. Note that the question, "you're there now?" is sensitive to John Carter who did not say "no", but avoiding answering it directly.
2. He is only going to "go by her house" and reports being in transit, rather than simply stating he is going there.
3. "to see" is the same as "because", indicating the need to tell why he is doing something rather than report what he is doing.
4. "and her car's still there"; is he there now, and can see that her car is still there, or is he just "heading out there" now?
5. "I'm like really freaking out" now uses two words to modify "freaking out", making it very sensitive. This should question if he really is "freaking out". Again, note focus upon himself and his wellbeing.
6. She "would" be at work right now instead of she "should" be at work
7. Note the inclusion of "decided" to...What made him "decide" to? Why the need to add this?
Has he "like trying to get a hold of her" or has he "searched everywhere" for her?
D: What's her name?
He had to be asked before he gave her name. This is indicative of something amiss in the relationship. Police should seek to learn if they fought this night. Were there any ongoing disagreements between them? Were there tough issues in what otherwise may have been a functional relationship?
J: Katelyn Helene Markham.
full name given, which is appropriate.
We look to see what he calls her next:
D: Have you called the hospitals or jails or anything?
J: Um -
D: Where was she at midnight last night when you last saw her?
J: She was at her house. She was going to bed. She wasn't going out to do anything, so she would've been in her bed. And I mean, I've been with her for 6 years - she's not deceiving, you know, she doesn't -
He did not use Katelyn's name here.
1. She was at her house.
2. She was going to bed.
These are two things he states and it is likely true. He has brought us to a very critical point of the night she went missing. He should continue to tell us what was happening, or about to happen. She was at her house and was going to go to bed when something happened. Now notice the sequence is broken:
"She wasn't going out to do anything"
What someone tells us in the negative is important information. Here he has three things to tell us what she was not doing: not going out "to do anything"; not deceiving, and doesn't, but stops himself or is interrupted.
He not only tells us that she wasn't going out, but adds "to do anything." This is critical.
Police need to learn what he does when he goes out at night.
Did she refuse to go out?
He has known her 6 years. He does not say she went to bed, or was in her bed.
D: Okay, and you guys didn't have an argument or anything?
This is a "yes or no" question.
J: Not at all.
"Not at all" is not the simple "no" and should lead to follow up questions such as, "What did you discuss last night?"
This is an indication that they had an argument.
D: Okay. Is she on any medications or anything?
J: Not at all.
He now repeats his previous denial. Repetition becomes weaker as it goes on, because it gets easier and easier (less stressful) to use. She may not have been on any meds but she may have been on "anything", such as marijuana. Compound questions are always to be avoided as they let the subject pick and choose, by concentrating on one aspect over the other, reducing stress over deception.
D: Has she had thoughts of suicide or anything like that?
J: No. Never. I... never.
Broken sentence means missing information. This is self-censoring.
He begins with a strong, "no", but weakens it with "never"; but then makes this about himself with "I"
Why would her suicide thoughts be linked to him? What was he going to say?
This is concerning.
He still does not use Katelyn's name yet, nor express concern about what state she may be in. We expect to hear concern for the victim and not the caller.
D: All right. And have you talked to her mom or anybody like that, to see if maybe she's out shopping, or - ?
J: I called her father. The only thing that's not there is her cell phone, which is positive, but she's not answering it. So... and the Sacred Heart Festival is going on right up the street, and there's a lot of questionable people there, and it's just kind of. I'm sorry.
The question is answered, but then he goes beyond the question to talk about the Festival, casting suspicion towards those at it.
The cell phone can 'ping' to locations.
Often the addition of "phone" connects a perpetrator to a crime.
Note "I'm sorry" is often found in the language of the guilty, no matter what its usage is. See Casey Anthony. It is a red flag for possible guilt.
We look to see if the words "I'm sorry" enter the vocabulary of the caller for any reason as it is a red flag, as it is not expected. This may be an example of guilt leaking out. We look for its inclusion for any reason, even as if used as 'pardon me' type of pause.
He has not used her name yet.
D: Okay, well, we'll go ahead and have somebody meet you there. What kind of vehicle are you going to be in?
J: A 2008 Ford Docus. It's red.
D: Okay, we'll have somebody come out and speak with you, okay?
J: Okay, thank you.
D: Mmmhmm. Bye.
J: Okay. Bye.
He did not use her name except to give the full, formal name. This, itself should be considered distancing language. Why would he distance himself from his fiance?
It is concerning.
The caller has not told all that he knows about what happened to Katelyn Markham.