Thursday, March 6, 2014

Katelyn Markham: Analysis of 911 Call

The techniques used here are from SCAN, Scientific Content Analysis, as developed by Avinoam Sapir.  They are applied to 911 calls in the same manner in which they are applied to statements:

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. 

If your fiancé was missing: 

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. 

This may be considered a form of distancing language, and an ISI (Incomplete Social Introduction) indicating possible difficulty in the relationship.  The analyst should now question if there was a problem in the relationship that is related to Katelyn's disappearance. 

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.

D: 5214?

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. 

This is important:  he was asked if he spoke to Kaitlyn's mother, instead, he introduces the "cell phone" in the negative (that's not there).  Does this mean he searched the apartment and knew that everything else she owns was there except her cell phone?

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. 

Analysis Conclusion:

The caller has not told all that he knows about what happened to Katelyn Markham. 


Unknown said...

Thanks for reposting this.

JoAnn said...

"She wasn't going out to do anything"
Maybe she was going out to "do something," and this is when something happened. An argument? She "would have been" in bed....except something happened that prevented her from going to bed.

Unknown said...

I was pleasantly surprised to see Katelyn's case profiled again. Here is an interview you might find interesting, with the last person known to have seen a woman in Maui before she went missing (Charli Scott). I notice he speaks of her in the past tense:

Unknown said...

JoAnn: In other interviews, he mentions going straight to her bedroom. He looks for her in her bedroom at 6-7PM on a Sunday evening. He doesn't look for her downstairs:

"So then I went to my manager at work and I said, 'Is it okay if I go to her house and see if she's okay?' I went to her house, her car was still there. That made me worry, because she should be at work. So I ran inside - I, I didn't - I mistakenly didn't check to see if the door was locked. I just turned, put my key in and went in, and went up to her room, and she wasn't there, her dog was in there which - he's never there."

Also, he says her car was "still" there. How does he KNOW her car wasn't used and returned, since 20 hours have passed? The most ridiculous statement is "I went to her house, her car was still there. That made me worry, because she should be at work." Understand the logic? He went to her house KNOWING she was supposed to be at work, rather than driving to the place where she was supposed to be located. He claims he knew something was wrong when he saw her car, which he says was supposed to be gone (and with her at work). He's still walking around Fairfield, free.

Anonymous said...

A truthful caller would not have said hi or hello. They would have said "Send help immediately for my missing fiancee Katelyn."
They would not have expressed concerns for themself.
A red flag shot up when he said "she's not deceiving". Why the need to deny deception for Katelyn or himself. I see a guilty conscience.

Unknown said...

By the way, maybe the crime was more complex than it seems. At the very least, the Fairfield PD should have arrested John for obstructing the investigation. I like the recent approach by both Horry County (Heather Elvis) and Tennessee (Holly Bobo). The Indiana State Police are now investigating Katelyn's murder, since she was found there. Fairfield missed some obvious red flags.

Anonymous said...

Did Gerry and Kate mggann make an emergency call?re "maddie"?

JoAnn said...

Lee Alderman,
Thank you. Is it known whether he called her workplace and learned that she didn't come to work? What made him leave work to check on her?
Was he once interviewed by Nancy Grace or Jayne VM? I seem to recall some questioning about his turning the key in the door & that he should have been able to detect a locked door from an unlocked door by the way the key turned.

Shelley said...

Speaking of 911 calls... I am very curious about Myra's 911 call.

I almost think they may have had one of the kids call. Just a feeling. Anyone but mom or dad.

John Mc Gowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update Myra Lewis.

Specialized search team no longer in Camden searching for missing toddler.

Sus said...


"...several rumors circulated this week about what may have happened to Myra, but none proved to be true."

Tania Cadogan said...

Anonymous said...

Did Gerry and Kate mggann make an emergency call?re "maddie"?

March 6, 2014 at 1:41 PM

No. they had a tapas 7 friend matt oldfield make the initial call and then later i think another call was made by staff at the ocean club. neither kate nor gerry physically searched according to kate in interviews and searched for less than an hour in her bewk ( scouse accent) and they waited to search for Maddie since it was dark.

Apart from a brief look around the parents never physically searched for Maddie nor did their friends, the search was performed by LE, locals, expats and tourists, many of who gave up work and vacation to search for their daughter.

kate apparantly slept well after the first few days although on the night Maddie vanished gerry slept whilst kate kept a vigil( catholics do that at a death) kate bloomed in the days follwing Maddie's disappearance( death since cadaverine and fluids were found)looking positively radiat nine days after the funeral on what would have been her 4th birthday. This is unexpected.
Rather than being stressed , frightened, exhausted to the point of dropping, not eating, sleeping or caring how she looked, rather than looking like the weight of the world was on her shoulders, kate looked like a weight had been lifted, that her problems had gone and all was well.

Instead today we see her looking like she should have looked in the days following Maddie's disappearance) she looks exhasted, aged beyond her years and carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Guilt will do that.

She may have thought with no Maddie life would be perfect, la bella vita, instead , LE and the public and media aren't buying thier story and Maddie is as big a burden now as she ever was.
This time though the weight will be forever, a lifelong guilt.

Unknown said...

He was on Nancy Grace Twice. He was active in the media for two weeks, then he stopped talking. Here is our case information (facts, timeline, transcripts):

I posted one excerpt where he referenced "mistakenly" not checking the door. I believe that issue also came up on Nancy Grace. We don't KNOW for certain whether he checked David's Bridal, Katelyn's workplace. We know his PUBLIC STORY didn't reference him checking DB's. He SAID he slept from 4AM-4:30PM, then he went to work; he asked to leave early shortly after his shift started. He COULD have easily driven by her town home on the way to work. If he checked DB's while sleepwalking, he hasn't mentioned it publicly. He might have "cornered" himself with the story he gave initially. He might have been waiting a while to see if someone else would call him and "sound the alarm" about Katelyn's disappearance.

His public story had him realizing Katelyn was missing when he arrived in her town home parking lot and saw her car (see the ridiculous excerpt I posted). He didn't mention calling David's Bridal. He didn't mention someone else calling there. He DID say that's where she was supposed to have been. His mother said publicly that DB's employees weren't allowed to get personal calls at work. The suggestion was, therefore, that John decided to call 911 and declare a police emergency rather than violate David's Bridal's standard operating procedures.

John went into the town home alone once before leaving and collecting a few friends. He called family members, and he called 911 on the way BACK to the town home. He said he was on the way there during the 911 call; he was headed there for the second time. We can speculate and suggest he needed to do something inside the town home; he referenced the "purse and keys" quite a bit publicly. Did those items need to be replaced, possibly, because Katelyn took them with her when they left the town home the night prior? A neighbor did not see John's car, and he said the lights were off in Katelyn's town home from around 9:30PM-on. John said he was there until 11:30PM. Did some cleaning need to take place? John also referenced doing general vacuuming and cleaning for Katelyn.

Unknown said...

A neighbor heard Murphy, Katelyn's dog, DOWNSTAIRS early Sunday morning. She knew the sound he made when he scratched at the common wall. John said Murphy was locked UPSTAIRS in the bedroom. Witnesses clearly exist who can refute John's account. We were hoping that when Katelyn was found by metal scrappers (miraculously), the wheels of justice would start turning quickly. We were wrong. Katelyn was found in Indiana. John was in Indiana with his father and stepmother the previous night, for some family function. Katelyn was supposed to have gone with them, but she was reportedly either tired or working late (the story has changed). Katelyn and John were supposed to ask John's father to borrow his truck for their move to Colorado. The move to Colorado might have figured prominently in their discussions that weekend. Katelyn was said to be eager to go. John's mother said the move was mostly Katelyn's idea when asked whether John planned to go ahead with the move months after the disappearance.

John said he was sent by Katelyn after Midnight over to a friend's house to burn her "documents" accumulated over time, since they were moving and didn't own a paper shredder. His friend had a fire pit. He had a "big old bag" of Katelyn's documents to burn, on the very same night she was being murdered. What an incredible coincidence; impossible, really. One must wonder whether a fire or a bag needed to be explained for some reason. His friends at the house did not mention seeing a fire, and the weather that night was memorably stormy. Earlier the same night, seven people were killed and 58 injured at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis as a result of a stage collapsing at a scheduled Sugarland concert; the same weather system hit Fairfield at the time John said he was burning Katelyn's "documents":

An anonymous witness reportedly recognized John and Katelyn's voices from a nearby property, and they were reportedly arguing loudly. We are not (publicly) sure about the time, but it was Saturday night. Another friend of Katelyns said Katelyn was unusually quiet and focused on her computer early Saturday night; he said there was "tension" in the air, and he departed early. Katelyn was found in an area that was familiar to John; it was also on the way to property owned by his family in Laurel, Indiana. Geographically, the location Katelyn was found is very damning to John. There was a strange final text conversation between John and Katelyn, after Katelyn was supposed to have gone to bed, according to John. The text conversation APPEARS to be superfluous, since they'd just discussed the "document burning" before John departed the town home. The text conversation serves to show that Katelyn was alive and well after Midnight, but I don't think she WAS alive. I don't think she sent those final texts. Her phone hasn't been found.

Unknown said...

After Katelyn was found, and the cause of death was ruled to be a homicide, John expressed no desire to find the killer. He wants to move forward. His family seems to want to move forward. John stopped speaking publicly after only a couple of weeks in 2011. He started dating again soon after Katelyn was reported missing. Katelyn was hidden by illegally-dumped trash strewn beside a rural road. When asked to comment, John expressed how HE was learning to cope with the tragedy. He said he was going back to school, for example. He still hasn't taken a polygraph, even after lying on Nancy Grace about having taken one, then saying he WOULD take one if asked.

One of John's most disturbing and telling statements, in my opinion, came at the end of a television interview on August 16, 2011. The reporter asked him a great question about the "last hour" he spent with Katelyn. In this statement, I get a sense John was thinking about the last time he saw Katelyn alive. Notice how his answer quickly turns from addressing what they were doing - he never really answers fully - to explaining in a subtly disparaging fashion how he'd "always clean up" for Katelyn, and how busy she was; she was "way more busy" than him. He is expressing (in my opinion) how she was maturing faster. She worked two jobs and went to school. Katelyn was growing; he was not. They were planning on moving to Colorado, and she was graduating. Her birthday was the same week she was murdered. I think he resented her accomplishment and success:

Reporter: What was the last hour that you spent with her like? I mean can you remember, were you guys, were you talking about your future?

John Carter: Yeah, um, I mean we were talking about Colorado and all that stuff, and... [clears throat] We were talking about, uh... uh... just, uh, the document - the - her wanting me to do those things for her, and I, uh, you know, even if I worked a ten, an eight hour day, I'd still come back and do anything for her, I'd always clean up for her, you know, vacuum her house, anything like that. 'Cause she's way more busy than me. She has two jobs and she goes to school. I mean, she deserves to be taken care of, and, and that's how I feel about it.

GeekRad said...

Is not introducing her right away by name a flag? If I were calling 911 becuase my husband was missing I would say my husband is missing to get the point across. I don't think I would introduce him until they new what the problem was. when they asked what is your emergency I would say "My husband is missing!" And then provide the pertinant details so they knew what the emergency was.

Which is not to say other statements he makes are not expected. Just lukewarm on the introducing her right away.

JoAnn said...

I might say "my husband is missing" on a 911 call, but only if I had already identified myself.

JoAnn said...

Lee Alderman,
Thank you for the background information. I remember seeing him on Nancy Grace & thinking "hinky, hinky."

JerseyJane said...

Homicide. I have limited access to find info.. I think someone was arrested or armchair detectives were trying to link to serial killer cuz of skull in shopping bag and rest remains scattered.. I don't know..

GeekRad said...

Agreed JoAnn, I would introduce myself. But I don't think I would say right off my husband, name is missing. I would get right to the point that my husband was missing. Who knows, maybe I would introduce him by name right away. I hope I never find out!

JoAnn said...

Geek Rad,
I hope I never find out either. I hesitated to even type those words. :(

Nic said...

Peter, when you use Katelyn Marham's name it is first and last. That's expected.

What bugs me about when he uses her name is that he gives her first, *middle* and last, name to the 911 dispatcher. The middle name is unexpected unless that is what she is known by.

You see middle names on formal documents and headstones.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


When asked her name (because he had not given it; as it was not a priority) he gave the full name, as if in a legal request. This was appropriate.

You must picture yourself...

911, What is your emergency?

Me: "My wife, Heather Hyatt, is missing!"

This is how I believe I would react.

When asked about her name in formal settings, I have used her middle initial.

It is similar to giving an address and instinctively giving the zip code: it is formal, expected.


Statement Analysis Blog said...

I re-posted and update this because I want to keep her name in the public view.


jenbee said...

I wouldn't think to give my husband's name if reporting him missing. My thought would be that you want to provide the dispatcher with a "headline" (i.e., a man is missing) to get the ball rolling on sending police, etc., and then start to fill in the details like name, description, etc. I also can see an innocent caller using more polite language (greeting) with a dispatcher when he knows he isn't "supposed" to report a adult missing so early on. I can imagine myself trying to be very polite in hopes ofgaining sympathy and help IF there was no sign of violence. (I think in this case Katelyn's fiance killed her, though.)

jenbee said...

I meant to say, I wouldn't think to give my husband's name *first thing* when reporting him missing.

Nic said...

Thanks, Peter.

You made me analyze something I haven't thought about in a long time. When my dad called me by my formal first or formal first and middle names, it meant I was in doo-doo (x 2 if it was both).

Maybe that's why a red flag went up when I read the middle name. Although I still don't know if I would ever use a middle name when reporting an emergency. Hopefully I'll never be confronted with that kind of emergency! :0)