The wife died, falling down the stairs, and the investigation did not show any foul play, yet a relative insists it was murder.
The best way for us to know if he killed his wife is to see his written statement, which we do not have, but we do have this short 911 call.
Does the call show guilty knowledge?
8/9/13 Call to 911:
911: what is your emergency?
Caller: yeah I need some help. I found my wife on the floor. She’s passed out and unresponsive. I can’t wake her.
The caller asks for help for himself rather than the victim, which is something we look at, specifically, in context.
This is not inappropriate if the caller is administering first aid, CPR, attempting to revive the victim, etc, showing a need for help, for the caller, specifically. Even if the caller is knowledgable (like a nurse, for example), if success is not forthcoming, the caller may still ask specifically for help.
Note he calls her "my wife" taking possessiveness with her title. A full social introduction is not expected during a rushed call. We will, however, see if he either:
A. Works with the operator for the flow of information or
B. Works against the operator to hinder the flow of information
911: okay, address?
Caller: 45** 8 Street.
911: 8 Street?
Caller: 45** 8 Street, in Addis.
911: Oh okay, I’m sorry.
Caller: Send somebody quick.
911: Okay Sir, I am taking down the information.
Caller: She’s not breathing. [long pause] I can’t wake her up.
911: Okay, I’m gonna go ahead and send paramedics now and I am going to give you to give you to [inaudible]. Now don’t hang up, okay?!
Dispatcher: You need an ambulance? What is the address of your emergency?
Caller: 45** 8 Street
Dispatcher: What city is that in?
Caller: That’s in Addis.
note the word "that" as the caller is repeating back the words of the operator, which is common.
Dispatcher: Alright, can you spell that street for me so I can make sure I got it right?
Dispatcher: alright, uh, what’s the nearest street that makes a corner to you right there?
Dispatcher: What is, what is, what is 48th Street off of?
Caller: It’s off of LA 1.
Caller: I don’t have a pulse.
The caller is taking ownership of his wife's pulse here. This pronoun ("I") strongly connects the caller to the well being of the victim in the context of his care for her.
Dispatcher: Okay — [pauses]
Caller: She’s not breathing. I can’t wake her up.
The same pattern of responsibility for her care continues.
Dispatcher: Okay, I need you to get him flat on his back on the floor, okay? Flat on the floor.
Caller: She’s on the floor!
noted exasperation and frustration
Dispatcher: Alright. Alright, I’m going to say exactly what you should do next. How old is she?
Caller: She’ssss 59.
The question is answered, yet when answered again, he gives specific information to help facilitate her care.
Dispatcher: She’s 59?
Caller: uh, she’s not breathing, she has no pulse. Her eyes are open. I can’t wake her up [sounds like he is starting to cry].
Note that he already gave her name, so he does not repeat it, instead, the information of her age is "overruled" in priority by the extremities of the situation:
a. She is not breathing
b. She has no pulse
c. Her eyes are open
d. I can't wake her
Note that, again, he takes responsibility for her care with "I can't wake her." Guilty callers often find subtle (and strange) ways to distance themselves from their victims and even blame them, with "she won't wake up", whereas he, instead, blames himself and it is his own frustration, as seen in the instinctive use of the pronoun "I"
Dispatcher: Hold on Sir, I need you to stay calm with me. Did you see her stop breathing or did you wake up ——
Caller: [interrupts] No! I got up and I came downstairs!
Please note that in alibi building this information is likely found earlier in the call as the guilty caller's priority is himself, and not the victim. The location of this information suggests that his priority is her lack of breathing, that is, her condition.
Dispatch: Okay. Once again, I want you to —she’s on the floor? I want you to go ahead and I want you to put your uh, place the heel of your hand on her breastbone, right between her nipples —
Caller: [interrupts and talks over dispatcher irritated] I know how to do CPR!
Dispatcher: okay well I want you to do that 600 times. I want you to feel the chest come all the way up between pumps and count loud so that I can hear you, and count with you, okay?
Caller: How many times do you want? I’m sorry [voice cracks]
We note the inclusion of "I'm sorry" within the call. In context, he has used the pronoun "I" repeatedly, in taken ownership of the CPR care. Here, "I'm sorry" is produced in context to the specific count of CPR, which he has stated, is not working. This is likely an appropriate response and not "leakage" due to the context.
Dispatcher: it’s okay, you’re going to go 600 times. Go!
Dispatcher: yes sir but I need you to start right now though!
Caller: I gotta put the phone down to do that.
Dispatcher: That’s ok, put the phone down, now count out loud
Caller: okay [you hear a small noise putting phone down]
[in the distance]
Caller: one, two, three, four … there’s liquid coming out of her mouth…five, six, seven, eight, nine [recording stops]
Please note that there is nothing within this call to indicate status of guilty caller. He kept the flow of information going on that which was his priority: her first aid, and took ownership of the failure to revive her, something that a guilty person is not likely to do.