Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Statement Analysis: Gregory Lewis, Father of 2 Year Old Myra

Analytical Interviewing asks open ended questions and reflects back the language of the subject.  It is the single most effective means to gain information, as Statement Analysis of the answers are used in formulating questions, even 'on the fly', that is, as they happen.  This is why training is essential. 

Analytical Interviewing avoids compound questions, which allows the subject to pick and choose which question to answer, squandering the opportunity for valuable information. 

This is the case here in which the interviewer asked a compound question, and did not follow up on the answer. 

From the local media article:  

Myra's father, Gregory Lewis says he just wants his daughter back home.

He says since Myra disappeared, his family has faced many tough obstacles.

He addresses the question many people are asking regarding his involvement in his daughter's disappearance.

"Do you know where Myra is, or what happened to her?" asks reporter, Perrise Thomas

Unfortunately, this is a compound question.  This should have been asked ask separate questions.  

"No, I do not. I don't have any idea or the whereabouts of where my daughter is at this time." says Lewis

"No I do not" is a strong response, however, we see that he continued and it is that additional wording reveals additional information.  
Note "at this time" is added, which suggests that he has knowledge of where she was previously.  This is sometimes the case when a body is thrown in water and is naturally moved.  

"I don't have any idea" is difficult to believe from anyone on anything.  Sometimes it is used in frustration.  

 It is also sometimes used by the lazy minded, or by those who wish to not engage in thought.  Here, however, he added "or the whereabouts"as additional language.  "Whereabouts" is not something we generally hear with a 2 year old child, as it is something more often used in reference to a person old enough to move about.  

"At this time" is the most concerning of the words he chose in his answer.  This is why the compound question should have been avoided, and asked separately.  This should have prompted a follow up question.  

Gregory Lewis tells us the whole situation has been tough on his family, especially after his wife was jailed for an unrelated charge.

"I've never been in a situation that I couldn't control. This is the first one and I really don't know how to deal with it." 

"Control" is  an interesting word.  It is reported in the negative, making it important.  It is also concerning as often abusers have  a desperate need to control. 

Lewis says he feels his wife's arrest has affected the search for little Myra.

"In my opinion, it got in the way of what the actual reason for being there was. They were there to help to find my daughter and everything got twisted." says Lewis

He recognizes that with this particular topic, there are other opinions. 

Myra's family has started their own efforts.

They've created t-shirts with the toddlers picture, asking for her safe return.

"They're focusing on my family. They're just focusing on us and I'm just feeling that the search for my daughter is not going on like it should." says Lewis 

Lewis believes someone has Myra, he is pleading for her return.

"All is ask is that, they return her home safe."

The Lewis family tells us proceeds from the t-shirts will go towards a reward to bring Myra home.

"What happened? (part of the compound question) would have provided us with detail and insight.

By asking "What happened?" it would have allowed Gregory Lewis to begin his statement wherever he so chose to do so, and the language itself would have given us information.  By asking a compound question, she allowed Lewis to choose which question he wanted and is a lost opportunity for information.  


ima.grandma said...

“There’s never a good time to go to jail for anyone, I don’t think. She wasn’t just ‘thrown in jail.’ There was a warrant served for her arrest,” he said. “I’m charged with the duty of serving those warrants. I don’t have the discretion to give her that authority. Those warrants are issued by the judge, and it’s my duty to uphold the law.”

When asked if he believes Ericka Lewis could have anything to do with her daughter’s disappearance, Tucker was terse.

“I’m not going to answer that,” he said.

The reporter uses his observation to describe the sheriff's emotional state as "tense." Writing news requires accuracy and objectivity in reporting. Could or should the reporter's impression play into behavioral analysis? Or could the sheriff's nervous strain simply be exhaustion from physical and mental strain?

"I'm not going to answer that,” he said.
Is this statement the same as "no comment"?

floridamomma said...

Peter, please look at the missing FB page for Michaela Wells... her parents continued comments blow my mind... would love to know your thoughts.

Chipmunk! said...

"Nothing whatsoever," [Sheriff] Tucker said when asked if the charges [against Ericka Lewis] had anything to do with Myra's disappearance.

Not a strong denial. He should have said: "No, the arrest is not related," or something like that if it were indeed unrelated.

ima.grandma said...

Missing Teen Back in Nebraska

Posted: Sun 10:17 PM, Mar 09, 2014
By: The Associated Press Email
Home / Headlines List / Article

A missing eastern Nebraska teenager has returned to the Omaha area, but didn't immediately return home to her family.

Police in the Omaha suburb of Bellevue say 16-year-old Michaela Wells was flown back to the area on Friday - a day after she was found safe in Indianapolis at the home of a teen boy.

Bellevue Police Chief Mark Elbert says Wells will be held in the Sarpy County Juvenile Justice Center until investigators can talk with her and evaluate the situation.

Elbert says this interview procedure is used in any case of missing or runaway teens his department investigates.

Is she still being held in the juvenile center? I found an article created yesterday reporting the same thing but I wasn't able to copy it.

Sus said...

It is unexpected that he speaks in past tense on LE's role in finding his daughter.

"In my opinion in got in the way of what the actual reason for being there WAS. They WERE there to help find my daughter and everything GOT TWISTED."

I don't understand past tense in this context. Shouldn't he speak of LE still finding his daughter?

Deborah said...

I think his statement about control is telling. My opinion he started out thinking it was all under control how it would proceed ie. "they'll just think she was abducted". But things started spiralling out of control with suspicion on them and wife's arrest.
I thought "I do not" sounded like a strong response but I wasnt sure.
I also wondered if his saying he does not know her whereabouts "at this time" could mean she was in water. Or, if there was even the possibility she was sold to someone although that is probably not likely.

JoAnn said...

This was a perfect opportunity for Gregory Lewis to directly address an abductor to plea for Myra's safety & return. He expresses that he "just wants" her home, but doesn't direct any comments to the abductor.

John Mc Gowan said...

MADISON COUNTY, MS -(WMC-TV) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Monday they broadened its investigation, regarding the whereabouts of a 2-year-old girl, to include the Memphis area.

Also, they are now offering a $20,000 reward
Myra Lewis disappeared in Madison County on March 1. Police say she went missing from her home in rural Camden, Miss. shortly after 11:00 a.m. She was wearing a turquoise sweater with a bear on the front, off-white or khaki pants, and pink glittery tennis shoes. She is described as 34 inches tall and 27 pounds.

One of the leads investigators are following up on include an SUV that was removed from the Lewis' home late Friday.

Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker believes Myra is still in the area and says there is no reason to believe she is not alive.

"We like to think that we're getting closer," he said. "I feel like we are, but until we get her home, you know, it's tough to say."

Tucker noted that the Friday arrest of the girl's mother, Ericka Lewis, was not connected to the disappearance. The arrest was involving a probation violation.

"They can pressure Ericka, she'll never give in," said Ericka's mother, Martha Sanders. "She'll never give in because she didn't do anything. That's why she don't care if they call her phone, somebody call. She's not afraid to talk on her phone even EVEN IF IT'S BUGGED. She's not afraid of that because she don't have anything to do with it."

She's not afraid to talk on her phone even EVEN IF IT'S BUGGED

Interesting choice of words.

I don't know if all calls are recorded while in custody in the USA. Although, her mothers language suggest that she believes that their phones are bugged. Using the word bugged conjures up the placement of an electronic device. This is not needed to listen in on conversations.

Has she been watching to many spy movies, or is she afraid that their telephone calls are being monitored. If she is, then why if they have nothing to hide?.


S + K Mum said...

@ floridamomma

I just had a look at Michaela Wells Missing Facebook page.

I think some of the comments her parents are making are pretty odd! Especially talking about discipline and she is not even home yet.... It's the last thing I would be commenting on, I'd be desperate to hold my daughter and help her after what she is going through. I am not warming to her parents. They're even commenting on her appearance and how those who know her will be 'shocked'. Why are they even bothering to tell people this, is her appearance so important to them? Poor girl.

Anonymous said...

"They can pressure Ericka, she'll never give in," said Ericka's mother, Martha Sanders. "She'll never give in because she didn't do anything. That's why she don't care if they call her phone, somebody call. She's not afraid to talk on her phone even EVEN IF IT'S BUGGED. She's not afraid of that because she don't have anything to do with it."

Is it possible this was a message to someone who does have something to do with it? As in "Don't worry she won't tell but be careful what you say on the phone, it could be bugged"?

Deborah said...

That's why she don't care if they call her phone, somebody call. She's not afraid to talk on her phone even EVEN IF IT'S BUGGED. She's not afraid of that because she don't have anything to do with it."

OK, this statement is very strange. How can the Mom talk on her phone if she's in jail?
Who is "they"?
"somebody call"
I assume "somebody" means "the abductor"?
"She's not afraid to talk on her phone EVEN IF IT'S BUGGED".
Embedded statement "IT'S BUGGED".
The grandmother believes the Mom's phone is bugged.

It's seems like she's speaking to police here, saying in essence "go ahead, call her phone she's not afraid to talk on it even if it's bugged".
It seems to me someone has told the grandmother the Mom's phone is bugged, and since this concern is stated in presence tense, and the Mom is in jail and cant use her phone, I wonder if the father told the grandmother "Ericka's phone is bugged." Trying to "control" the situation, reduce communication between mother and "outsiders".

John Mc Gowan said...

Does anyone know who placed the 911 call? Did he/she call family and friends first before calling LE?

When he said he went to look for Myra, was he on his own, and was this before anyone else was aware she was "Missing/Abducted,including Myra' mother?.

I think the 911 call may yield important information about what was for most in the callers mind.

Deborah said...

"outsiders" meaning police, relatives, anyone who isnt him

Deborah said...

Actually, now that I think about it, I think the grandmother is just saying "anyone whowants to call Ericks call her, she'll pick up the phone, she'll talk freely to you". Since Ericka's in jail, it's not like she could talkonthe phone but it sounds like the grandmother's just trying to make a point.

polywog said...

Her parents are soooo mad at her. Seems most in that situation would just be happy she us safe, they just seem mad I think it is based out of embarrassment. Heading looks are very important to those parents and having a runaway daughter crushed the facade they had put so much work into building. Poor girl, all that pressure :(

John Mc Gowan said...

RE my above post.

"She's not afraid to talk on her phone EVEN IF IT'S BUGGED".

What i failed to add was.

Each of us has our own internal, personal, subjective dictionary, so it is crucial that we do not interpret one's meaning during the interview, but ask for clarification. PH.

I may have interpreted her words to fit what i thought she may have meant by using the the word "Bugged". And although it seems like the obvious answer, we still should ask follow up questions to get her interpretation of the word "Bugged"

Unknown said...

This case gets stranger everyday!

Still no calling out to Myra, and still no words for her supposed abductor from either parent...but grandma is talking about bugged phones!?!

Who cares about bugged phones or pressure from LE? Your 2yo granddaughter has been missing for over nine days! Myra cannot source food, water or shelter for herself if she is 'lost', and if she were abducted every moment she spends with her abductor may be filled with pain and torture. (This is what I think about as the days tick by, making Myra's return or survival less likely, and I have never met this poor child.) Yet, her own family is focused on phone bugging and withstanding the pressure from LE.

Shelley said...

In the Michaela case, I noticed the parents initially stated that they learned she was found from the media….NOT LE.

I would think the family would be notified first and later….media. Isn’t that typically how this is done?

Unless there is some concern about the family?

Anyone know if this is true?

Also, the fact that her parents were not allowed to see her initially and then when they first saw her, were only allowed to view her but not speak to her.

Something about this case leads me to believe this is less than just a happy ending.

Kids like Michaela don’t take off unless there are other issues. Trouble with their parents (abuse, neglect) or emotional problems (depression, bi-polar etc)

The fact that mom and dad were not allowed to see her leads me wonder if this case is more trouble with parents.

polywog said...

I read the same thing. Also on her Nebraska teen page they posted how they were deleting her account because she will no longer be Miss Teen and just outting out there alot of things that are a private family matter. Seems like they are making her oay through embarassing her further to her friends.

polywog said...

Putting out *

John Mc Gowan said...

Myra Lewis " Help Find Me" shared a link.
7 minutes ago

Wesley Harris @WesleyWLBT 4m

Madison Fire Rescue has side and down imaging on their sonar. That will give them a wide view of the pond's bottom. pic.twitter.com/sTAZrO7iwy

Myra Lewis " Help Find Me" shared a link.

11 minutes ago
Courtney Ann Jackson @courtneyannj 1m

This 3 man crew in the fire rescue boat is the only sign of a search on Mt. Pilgrim today. #searchformyralewis pic.twitter.com/hfx6awAtpb

Myra Lewis " Help Find Me"
21 minutes ago

Wesley Harris @WesleyWLBT 2m

Madison Fire Rescue is using sonar in the pond across from Myra Lewis' home. #msnewsnow pic.twitter.com/meo73BBSlg


Anonymous said...

Off Topic:
On the CIA spying on the Senate, the spokesperson said "We WOULDN'T do that"...


Red Ryder said...

I wrote a lengthy post about the Myra t-shirt but lost it! So the abbreviated version is that I find it strange. I brought it over word for word, it is in a strange font with capital letters and capitalized words in odd places. It was like writing a ransom note from cut out magazine words.
It says "I'm lost. I was Taken. I'm scared!i need to come home. I need my Mommie& Daddy.
Please Call xxx-xxx-xxx if you know Who Has ME !!!!"
Just a jumble of being lost vs being abducted, like covering all bases.

Unknown said...

I agree, something strange is taking place in Michaela' return. It seems very unlikely that her parents would be prevented from seeing her or speaking with her after she was located. (unless she alleged some kind of abuse, or reason why she fled?).

The parents say she is being held to be questioned, but as a minor she should have a parent present for any questioning, (or at least legal counsel).

They also say, (posting all of this on MICHAELA'S facebook page!) that she will be charged with a crime/issued a citation for not obeying her parents rules, breaking curfew, etc. If this is true and they have already determined that she commited a crime, then why is there reason for further questioning?


Deb said...

Anyone else notice the Dad parroted the sherrif's statement when the Dad said
"No, I do not. I don't have any idea or the whereabouts of where my daughter is at this time." says Lewis

The "at this time" was parroted from the sherrif's exact words. Kinda reduces the Dad's credibility if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

That IS strange RedRyder! Especially the aspect of her talking and saying how she feels
"I'm lost. I was Taken. I'm scared!i need to come home. I need my Mommie& Daddy.
At least there is some empathy with the stating how she may be feeling.
Could the sequence of
1) Lost
2) Taken
reflect the different scenarios they thought upto (falsely) explain why she was missing?

Sus said...

She was found in a "house in Indianapolis". Flop house and drugs. The girl is in trouble with the law, not just her parents. My opinion only.

GeekRad said...

Regarding Michaela, I read an article that said the Juvenile Center she was placed in upon her return was standard procudure for runaway teenagers, to evaluate their situation. I expect their experience is that there is often a reason at home that a teenager is running from, therefore the evaluation before returning the teenager home. I am not going to speculate on her reason for leaving, jut commenting on the article. I think it was in the Omaha newspaper online link.

Tania Cadogan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tania Cadogan said...

off topic

The father of a six-year-old girl, who died from head injuries, has appeared in court charged with her murder.

Ben Butler, 34, appeared at Croydon Magistrates' Court accused of killing Ellie Butler.

Ellie was treated by paramedics at her home in Sutton, south-west London, on 28 October. The Avenue Primary School pupil was taken to hospital but died.

Mr Butler was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Croydon Crown Court on Thursday.

A 34-year-old woman arrested in connection with the investigation has been bailed.

Father charged with murder of 6 year old daughter

This is more newsworthy than normal since it appears he had been previously arrested and charged with cruelty and causing grievous bodily harm to the same child in 2007 convicted in 2009

Father arrested in connection with daughter death

parents face new access battle

Parents regain access after 5 year battle

miscarriage of justice corrected

Unknown said...

Hi Geekrad,

That makes sense I guess, SOP to determine the reason for running away.

I still find it strange that the parents are posting on their daughter's facebook, private info about her situation. Maybe they are just trying to answer the community's questions, before suspicions get out of hand??

Even so, it seems they should use their own FB to make statements, rather than Michaela's, and make a more generic statement that she is safe in police custody, and they are eager to be reunited with her after the process is complete.

CarlaP said...

Myra's family members statement come across as defiant.

"They can pressure Ericka, she'll never give in"

"She's not afraid to talk on her phone EVEN IF IT'S BUGGED"

Why the defiant attitude? I get that they're angry because Ericka Lewis was arrested for an unrelated offense, but that now seems to be their main concern. In regard to Myra being found, the police are their allies, not the enemy. It seems they see the situation us "us vs. them" with LE.

John, in the Sabrina Aisenberg case, LE actually put listening devices on their home phone and inside the house hoping to catch some incriminating statements. They thought they did and used it to bring charges, but to no avail. I wonder if the Lewis family is suspicious that when police were at their house the other day that they bugged the house/phones?

John Mc Gowan said...

Gregory Lewis's lack of emotion.

In this short clip we see him talking about Myra, her disappearance and pleading for her safe return.

Watch it with the sound turned down. We see is eyes gloss over ever so slightly. There is NO emotion in his face.

The expected:

Given his daughter is missing we would expect sadness/stress and or anger.


Oblique eyebrows, contraction of the muscles between his inner brows. This can at time's look like a upside down horse shoe.

We may also see the outer corners of the mouth slightly turned down, and sometimes the bottom lip pushed up.

What i would also expect to see is the presence of anger, in his voice and in his facial expressions.

There no signs of this. Narrowing of the eyes and steering, eyebrows pulled down and in towards the nose bridge, and narrowing of his lips. this can also be accompanied by a chin jut and tensing of the jaw.

Would you think he has a missing daughter after watching it, he could be talking about anything.

Watch the clip of Susan smith and she also displays none of these two important emotions given the situation.

I would like to see more vt of him to see if this is his baseline. But given the enormity of the situation i would still expect, some, if not all of the emotions stated above.

He maybe the exception that proves the rule.

The absence of emotion is as important as the presence of emotion. Dr Paul Ekman.

John Mc Gowan said...

link to Gregory Lewis clip.


Link to Susan smith case.


If you watch both, do it with the sound turned down.

JoAnn said...

Thank you for pointing that out. I don't feel that his affect portrays sadness, anger, despair or any of the expected emotions. And yet, reporters continue to attribute these characteristics or him, but only because the situation would seem to indicate that these emotions would be present, not because they actually are. Maybe just a tactic to present him in a more sympathetic light, so he will continue to give interviews.

JoAnn said...

^^^to him, not or him

Red Ryder said...

Does anyone have a FB link for Michaela Wells posts being discussed? I would like to read the parents words.

John Mc Gowan said...

Hi Red Ryder, this is the only one i can find?


Red Ryder said...

Thank you, John:)

JoAnn said...

The other page is


Shelley said...

“They can pressure Ericka, she'll never give in”

Sounds more like she will never tell you what she knows…


she doesn’t know anything or she didn’t do anything to my granddaughter.

She also fails to say the childs name or stress any concern or fear.

My mom would call the cops on me herself I had guns laying that could hurt my son. And if he was missing, my mom would sure as heck not be worried about defending what I did wrong but would be out there searching for my son.

Seems to me the whole family even aside from mom and dad have their priorities clearly out of order.

This poor child should be the only thing that matters. And lets be honest, if she was, mom would not be in jail.

But lets be honest here…. mom and dad did not become who they are by being raised by loving caring parents. Yes I get some kids just go bad, but that is rare and is usually due to emotional problems or drugs. But typically this environment is a cycle.

These poor kids.

CarlaP said...

Shelley said...
“They can pressure Ericka, she'll never give in”

Sounds more like she will never tell you what she knows vs
she doesn’t know anything or she didn’t do anything to my granddaughter.

Exactly! It's interesting in most missing children cases the parents are prime suspects off the bat, then are cleared after questioning and lie detector test and have no animosity towards LE for looking at them first. I've heard Marc Klass and John Walsh say numerous times. That doesn't seem to be the case with this family at all. If they haven't been cleared yet, there are reasons why...their main concern should be giving LE all they need to clear them as suspects so LE can find Myra if they have nothing to hide. Stop bellyaching that the mother has been arrested and how unfair that is and focus on finding the 2 yr old family member that is still missing. Did they forget about her already? Where is their urgency in finding answers?

GeekRad said...

I agree Shelly and CarlaP! Well said.

polywog said...

They are written by her parents on her page (search Miss Nebraska Teen Michaela Wells) and the missing page (search Missing Nebraska teen Michaela Wells) they are 2 differrnt pages, i haven't checked if they pulled hers down yet like they said they would.

Unknown said...

Confirmed sighting!?!? http://m.wmctv.com/#!/newsDetail/24948061

JoAnn said...

A confirmed sighting with an adult male at a South Memphis motel?

Shelley said...

Not a "confirmed sighting"

A "confirmed REPORTED sighting" very different


MPD confirms reported sighting of missing 2-year-old

Posted: Mar 11, 2014 3:56 PM MST Updated: Mar 11, 2014 3:56 PM MST

(WMC-TV) - There is a report that missing 2-year-old Myra Lewis was seen at Discovery Inn, which is a South Memphis motel. The little girl has been missing since Saturday, March 1.MOREAdditional Links

Myra went missing out of Camden, Miss. in Madison County. The FBI expanded the search for her to the Memphis area Monday night. A $20,000 reward is now being offered in the case.

Investigators have not found the little girl yet, and the reported sighting is now in the hands of the FBI.

Action News 5's Jason Miles is on his way to Discovery Inn to find out more about the investigation.

JoAnn said...

Reporter at WREG in Memphis tweeted that a second motel worker told her personally that he saw Myra Lewis earlier at the motel. Police & FBI are investigating at the Discovery Inn.

Hopefully, this is not a false lead generated by the offer of reward.

JoAnn said...


...Myra's mother is in jail. She bonded out on $5,000, but the Department of Human Services put a hold on her for other charges...

Anonymous said...

Madison County Sheriff's Department Spokesman Heath Hall on alleged Memphis sighting of Myra Lewis: "That is just another lead we are going to track and see where it takes us. It's no different than the sighting we had in Washington state. When you put that reward money out there you're going to start getting a lot more leads."

floridamomma said...

exactly... and when in the history of, oh, FOREVER is a teen held in FBI custody after running away?!

Deb said...

This story gets stranger by the hour. I hope she is found alive and safe if it was a confirmed sighting. If the motel worker really saw her I hope they called police before the man was able to leave???

GeekRad said...

I agree Jen Ow at 3:15

Unknown said...

Not her.... so sad but not surprised :(

Anonymous said...


Apparently police found the man - it was his daughter, not Myra. :(

ima.grandma said...

Find Myra page admin posted the following:

I would like to post that I have seen no updates. As well I have been notified by a family member that Greg Lewis is Myra's biological father. He is the father of all her children except for the oldest child. I am taking this family member at their word, I told them I would post this to the page, so I hope this clears this subject up. Its unfortunate that people starts rumors all it does is muddy the waters.

Unknown said...

Cause the phones where bugged the fbi has all the numbers and when your in the phone u can hear it so therefore they have nothing to hide and say what they want they don't want to talk to y'all only founding myra is what needs to be done not listing to all this negativity