Thursday, May 14, 2015

911 Call Analysis: Baby Left in the Car

911 call: "I left my 1-year-old baby in my SUV by accident"

The father began his statement here:

911--What is your emergency 
Father:  "I left, by accident, my toddler, in my SUV at North Quincy Station. 
911 operator:  you left what?
Father:   "My little baby"
Let's analyze this. 
The scenario is a baby left alone.  The claim is accidental.  
What is the first thing the father reports?  This is a bizarre circumstance so the "expected" must be what you would report.
"I left, by accident, my toddler, in my SUV at North Quincy."

1.  It begins with the pronoun "I"
2.  It reports in the first sentence that a toddler has been left, that it was not intentional, and gives the location of where the toddler is, including the vehicle type and the station stop.  
It is safe to conclude that this caller wants the police to know about the child. 
The 911 operator is taken back, or surprised, and repeats the question about what happened back to him, with "you left what?"
The father says, "my little baby"

Please note that "toddler" is now "baby", with "toddler" being older and, perhaps, safer for the time being, but "baby" increasing risk. 
Even with a short passing of time, the father knows that risk increases. 
The child is not just "baby", nor even just "my" baby, but "little" baby which shows an instinctive, immediate understanding of the increase in risk.  The "little baby" is helpless, even more than a toddler.  
Note that in the immediate answer and the follow up answer, he uses the pronoun "my."
There is no indication of deception or guilty status in this statement, or in the follow up statement. He took ownership of not only the child, but of the action that put the child in risk. 
He is telling the truth.

 He gave the most amount of information in the shortest manner--remember, each 911 call is an interview. 

The subject (caller) will give one of two distinct impressions: 

Either the caller is doing what he can to facilitate the flow of knowledge or he is not.

In other words, he is either working with the Interviewer or he is working against the interview.  

Let's compare it to Chief William McCollum's 911 call.  

911: Fayette county 911, what’s the address of your emergency?

Chief: 103 Autumn Leaf.

911: What’s going on there?

Chief: Uh, gunshot wound…accidental. Need medical asap

Who is shot?  Who shot whom? Where is the victim shot?  Who is the victim?
Since he has given minimal answers, the 911 operator is confused:

911: OK. Where are you shot at? 

Chief: What’s that?

911: Where is the person shot at?

"Person" is gender neutral.  Thus far, the 911 operator does not know who has been shot 

Chief: In the back.

911: Is it a male or female?

The 911 operator had to ask this.  She should not have had to ask.  

Chief: Female.

This is all he says. 

The call went on in a dramatically minimal manner in which the caller worked against the operator. 

At the time this went to news, many of you wrote in your version of the "expected" had you accidentally shot your own wife.  

You, in large majority wrote that you would have said,

"I shot my wife, accidentally. She is bleeding from..." or something similar.  

In McCollum's call, he never identified the victim with the words, "my", or "wife", or her name.  The caller had deep anger, resentment and distancing language towards the victim. 

In the 911 call of the baby, the language went from "risk" to even "higher risk" as the subject considered what he had done. 
He took responsibility and gave out complete information, while McCollum played a game of "pulling teeth" to watch over his every word and say as little as possible in order to protect himself, even if it meant delay of First Aid assistance.  

Here is the article: 

NORTH QUINCY, Mass. -- A father who was riding a train into work near Boston Wednesday morning called 911 when he realized he left his baby daughter in his parked car, reports CBS Boston.
The child was found safe after police rushed to the parking lot at the North Quincy MBTA train station in a suburb south of Boston.
"I left my 1-year-old baby in my SUV by accident this morning at North Quincy station," the man told a 911 dispatcher. 
In a statement released to CBS Boston, the father said that he realized he left the child in the car just before he arrived at work in Cambridge. That's when he rushed back to the train, calling 911 on the way.
In the statement, he said it had been "one of the worst days of my life."
"Like many parents, I have a very repetitive morning procedure that involves two daycare drop offs and a Red Line (subway) ride," the statement read. "After dropping off my older child at school, I neglected to drop off my infant at the in-home daycare we use and she was left in the car at an MBTA train station in Quincy. The baby had fallen asleep in the child seat and I went into auto pilot."
Police reportedly said no charges are pending and did not release the man's name.
"The baby was in good shape. We were able to open the door and get the baby out," Quincy Police Capt. John Duggan told the station.


Lis said...

It's good to hear the baby was safe. I read an article awhile back about how this is happening more than you would think. So many couples have rigorous schedules to keep and if one thing gets thrown off- dad needs to drop the kids off at daycare instead of mom, for instance, it can happen. Infant seats are in the back seat, facing the back, and if the baby falls asleep and is quiet, it's easy for the parent to forget and go with their regular routine.

Skeptical said...

So many people are also sleep deprived which leaves the mind less than sharp. I have driven to work many times in a state that could be a state of borderline hypnosis. Driving safety tips say to take a break every two and a half hours that are driven. This time frame is when highway hypnosis begins to set in.

Anonymous said...

Good analysis, delivery of key information in the most direct manner possible. This is most helpful!

The Chief of all people should know how to get help asap. Making the 911 operator fish for information is surely working against getting help asap!

Statement Analysis Blog said...

The father's words are full of guilt and minimization, even blaming the baby for not waking up;

the guilt, however, is not related to "guilty caller status" of wanting to abandon or kill the child.


wreyeter72 said...

OT Has anyone seen the "new eyewitness" statement in the Natalee Holloway case?

LisaB said...

I have heard all sorts of suggestions to help prevent leaving the baby in the car, from placing a stuffed animal on the passenger seat when you put the baby in the car seat, and putting the stuffed toy in the car seat when the baby is not in it. If you see the toy on the front seat, you KNOW the baby is still in the car seat.

Another idea is to leave the diaper bag on the front seat where you can see it, but not all parents take a diaper bag to the babysitter every day.

Last but not least is an idea that will make you a safer driver AND keep you from leaving the baby in the car. Place your cell phone on the floor of the backseat or beside the baby on the vehicle seat. You probably won't forget to take THAT into work with you, but if you do, will notice very quickly. This also eliminates the possibility of texting, emailing, facebooking, tweeting or anything else while you drive, greatly improving the likelihood of you and the child BOTH arriving at your respective destinations safely.

Anonymous said...

Excellent advise LisaB.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Interesting, Lisa.

Heather said this morning that she wondered about how crazy busy we are with information bombardment, including the cell phone.
This was a sad case but one in which, with the full 911 call, we hear:

sensitivity and guilt, but not guilt over a crime, but from neglect.

It had a good ending, and advice on reminders is helpful.


kimisan03 said...

@LisaB, what great advice! I do not have children yet, but when I do, I'll think about those tips!