Mr. Houck is thought by some, according to his own words, as suspect in the disappearance of his fiancé, Crystal Rogers.
Our words reveal us all. Each one of us has a personal, internal subjective dictionary, with pronouns and article notwithstanding. It is extremely rare to lie outright, as it is quite stressful, therefore, if someone wishes to deceive, they are mostly likely to do so by withholding, or even suppressing information. Statement Analysis is the scientific process of which truth from deception is discerned, and content gleaned.
Question for Analysis:
Did Brooks Houck cause the disappearance of Crystal Rogers?
In Statement Analysis, we believe what one tells us, unless they give us specific call not to, and we set up an expectation of innocence. In this case, we therefore expect Brooks Houck (the subject) to tell Nancy Grace (the Interviewer) that he did not cause the disappearance of his fiancé. This is called a "Reliable Denial" when all three components are present. Should the subject make a reliable denial and then, look at his denial and say, "I told the truth", it is above 99.9% likely to be true.
For the innocent (the de facto innocent, not judicial alone), subject, telling us he did not do it is something that flows easily and naturally. It is so simple, in fact, that most people miss it in speech, until they have formal training to the contrary.
A Reliable Denial has 3 components, and 3 only.
1 The pronoun "I"
2. The past tense verb "did not" or "didn't"
3 The allegation specifically answered.
If there are 2 components, it is not reliable. If there are 4 components, it is not reliable.
Some common "unreliable" denials include:
a. the dropping of the pronoun "I", or
b. using the future/conditional tense "would not" or "would never",
c. changing the allegation to something else such as, "I didn't do anything to her!"
"I would never harm Crystal."
"I didn't do nothing to anybody."
"I know I didn't cause Crystal's disappearance."
"I never harmed that woman."
"I am innocent."
"I am 100% honest in everything I say."
"I am 100% not guilty in this."
These are all not reliable denials and often found in deceptive "denials" including those that headline media reports with "Suspect Denies..." when, in fact, no reliable denial was issued.
Statement Analysis is in bold type with emphasis added to the quotes for clarity, including highlighting a word in red for attention, and using the color blue to show the highest level of sensitivity in speech. The transcript is edited to exclude quotes from others, past video tape, or narratives. The subject is Brooks Houck, and no editing of his words, nor of the questions he responds to, has been done. This is to allow Mr. Houck to speak for himself.
Brooks Houck has not been charged with any crime, and is judicially innocent, having not been found otherwise in a court of law. The following is an exercise of free speech in concluding an opinion on Mr. Houck's appearance on the Nancy Grace Show, a nationally known talk show in which criminal cases are often highlighted. The principles applied allow the reader to determine the basis of the conclusion of the analysis.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Live, Bardstown, Kentucky, where a mother of five, Crystal Rogers, Maroon Chevy, found on the side of the road with a flat tire. She has not been spotted alive since. Joining us right now in addition to Crystal`s parents, her boyfriend, the father of her baby. She was at their three-bedroom home, there in a quiet subdivision, just before she went missing.
Joining me right now, in addition to Crystal`s mom and dad, Tommy and Sherry, with me is her boyfriend, I guess I would say fiance. She is divorcing the last husband. She has a young child by Brooks Houck, who formerly ran for sheriff in that jurisdiction. He has taken a polygraph.
He has not hired lawyers. He has allowed police to search his property and says that he is on call at any time police want to talk to him. Mr. Houck, thank you for being with us.
BROOKS HOUCK: Thank you.
GRACE: Mr. Houck, what happened the night Crystal goes missing exactly?
Analytical Interviewing: Keep your sentences short. We all reveal ourselves in our words, and NG uses the formal, "Mr. Houck", which means we now look to note any changes; and she uses the additional, and unnecessary word, "exactly."
"Exactly" reveals to us that NG has her doubts and suspicions about the subject (Brooks Houke).
"What happened?" would be the best question since we know that he is on the show because the woman he is engaged to, and who is the mother of his child, is missing. He knows what she is asking by asking "what happened?"
Open ended questions are best as "What happened?" allows the subject not only to choose his own words allowing for leakage, but it also allows the subject to begin the account wherever he chooses.
Instead, she limited the time period to "the night" Crystal went missing. As we learn, we do not know if she did even go missing "at night", or the next morning.
Analytical Interviewing: Be careful in the wording of your questions that you do not reveal information.
Analytical Interviewing: Be careful in the wording of your questions that you do not teach the subject how to lie.
HOUCK: Earlier that day, she showed rental property. She went to Wal- Mart.
There is much to discuss in this answer.
a. The word "that" generally indicates distance, which could be geographical, psychological, criminal, emotional, etc, distance. (versus the word "this"). Is this an appropriate designation of distancing language?
The subject would not say "Earlier this day", which is not appropriate or common use.
So, is it distancing language?
Context is key.
When someone goes missing, the loved ones are acutely aware of the passage of time. This is their own private "D-Day" of hell, and time is now measured in terms of "the first 24 hours", the "first 48 hours", the 3rd day, the 4th day, and so on.
Therefore, rather than say, "that day", the expected is to name the day, or even the day and date, that Crystal either went missing, or was last seen.
Expected, "On Friday, July 3rd..."or anything similar.
Conclusion: The word "that" appears to be distancing language. We now look for the subject's own words to allow us insight into affirming that he is distancing himself from the day, opposite of what loved ones do, or if the day is simply not referenced. We begin with the notion of distancing language while allowing his words to guide us.
b. "day" is in the answer, and not "night" as NG said. This is to introduce the day time period into his answer about what happened. This means:
The events of the day, should this subject have guilty knowledge, is related to what happened "that night."
b. "She showed rental property"
c. "She went to Walmart."
We note that he gives us two events, but the events are not linked by time. "She showed rental property, and then she went to Walmart."
Therefore, these two events are not being given in sequence, or at least, with an indication of sequence, but are sentences punctuated with closure, that is, a period in writing. This is to make them two separate but important sentences in relation to the disappearance.
We look for the subject's own words to let us know if, in deed, these events are important, or revenant, to Crystal's disappearance.
GRACE: With who?
Analytical Interviewing: DO not interrupt the subject. He was giving information. He has the information, not the interviewer. Say as little as possible so that your words to not influence the subject's answers.
HOUCK: We have established a timeline of all the facts and events.
Pronouns are intuitive. This is a very important statement. He uses the pronoun "we" to join himself to the investigators. We now look to see if the rest of his statement indicates a strong closeness with investigators or not.
Note: "facts" and "events" are two, separate entities, connected with "and", which is not the case with what he said earlier about showing rental property and going to Walmart. Those two "events" were not connected one to another, and were not linked in time by the subject. Something is amiss.
Question: What is the difference between "facts" and "events" in the subject's internal code? This would have made for a good question or two, such as:
What facts are you referencing?
What events are you referencing?
GRACE: Who did she go to Wal-Mart with, Brooks?
Note to Nancy, "With whom did she go to Walmart?"
HOUCK: I was not there at Wal-Mart with them. She had some of the children with her.
Here, he offers a "negation", that is, an negative offered in an open statement. He was not asked, "Were you with her at Walmart?"
Therefore, please consider that "Walmart" is sensitive due to repletion, and that
something took place regarding Walmart that is quite sensitive to the subject. Sensitivity is in the context of her going missing.
Since he was not physically at Walmart, and Walmart is something important enough for him to disconnect himself from, investigators must learn:
a. Did he call her, text her, receive a text, or receive a call while she was at Walmart?
b. Did she meet someone, or call/text someone, while at Walmart, that has caused an emotional reaction by the subject (Houck), in which he wants us to know that he was not there?
This negation, rather than disconnecting him from Walmart, is connecting him. It tells us that he has a need to distance himself from her while she was at Walmart within the context of what happened to cause her disappearance.
Did you notice that he has gone from "Mr. Houck" to "Brooks"? Using the first name is less formal, and more 'friendly', which may be to gain information. Let's see if it stays this way because the expected is to go from long to short, full to abbreviated, in the 'law of economy.' Since he is now just "Brooks", any deviation should be considered important to Nancy Grace' thinking.
Also note the word "with" regarding Crystal and the children. He did not say "Crystal and two of the children went..." or "Crystal and some of the children went..."
This is to create distance between Crystal, (who's name he does not use) and the children.
Question: Since they were shopping at Walmart, what might cause distancing language to enter into the mind of Brooks Houck?
Answer: Since he was not there:
a. The children are older children, and went "off" away from their mother, to another store, or another part of the store, shopping by themselves, which would have to be something Houck knows; or
b. Houck knows that someone else was present with Crystal, either physically, or on the phone, putting 'closeness' between Crystal and the person (which, if he called him, would be him), which means she would be paying attention to this person, rather than the children.
This is an important point to understand.
GRACE: Mm-hmm. OK.
HOUCK: Yes, ma`am.
GRACE: That`s important, Brooks, because as you know, with your interest in law enforcement, it establishes a timeline. So that was Friday around 4:00 p.m. then what happened after Wal-Mart?
Analytical Interviewing: avoid statements whenever possible, and avoid giving direct information, including "4:00 p.m."
HOUCK: When she left Wal-Mart on Friday, late afternoon, early evening, she showed a rental property that we have listed, in the Kentucky standard, in a large ad, multiple properties. She then left that and preceded home.
Note that when he initially reported what happened that day, he reported
1. showed rental property
2. went to WalMart
The subject has now reversed the order of these events, which suggests that the subject may be attempting to stick to a script and is getting confused.
1. "Leaving" in Statement Analysis.
In Statement Analysis, the departing or "leaving" of a location means that there is missing information, since the time and pace is not moving forward, but has paused, or in the least, slowed down, with the focus on the location from where one was departing, rather than the location to where one was headed. This is given the color coding of blue in the SCAN technique by LSI that indicates, along with "because, since, therefore, why"(in an open statement, without being asked), as the highest level of sensitivity in a statement.
If it shows up two or more times, close together, it is called a cluster of blues indicating critically withheld information. Here we have two "blues" close together, which indicates that there is important information that is missing from his statement.
Principle: "Left" is an indication of missing information; 70% likely due to traffic, rushing, time constraints, etc. 30% deliberately withheld. It indicates the person's mind is "still there" at the location, because something caused it to stop or pause there. If we see it in a cluster
in a statement, we are likely looking at suppressed information related directly to the allegation.
This is the single greatest indicator that an investigator can use to hone his questions in the interview. The two blues together will likely nullify the 70% theme of time constraints, or rushing, and move it to the realm of deliberately withheld information about something that happened either in Walmart, or while she was at Walmart.
Note here that there is a change in "events" as it represents a change in reality.
His fiancé is missing. He said she showed "rental property" but now he uses the pronoun "we" about the property:
It was something "we" had listed. This is not necessary information.
3. Unnecessary Information
In statement analysis, unnecessary information is only unnecessary to us in that it does not appear to be related. Therefore in analysis, the unnecessary information is to be deemed doubly important to the analysis.
Why would we care if she listed it, or he listed it, or if they listed it together, as the word "we" indicates? The listing of the property is revenant to the subject much more than the reader, as it is likely that a property would be listed in order to show it.
This is something we need answered, and the answer should come from the subject. Let's see if he gives us more insight into why "we" had listed the property. What does this do to the property being shown, which would bring in money?
a. In the Kentucky standard
b. In a large ad
Why would the public need to know where the rental property was listed?
Why would we need to know that the ad was large?
Please note the additional, 'unnecessary' detail he is adding on.
Please note that this is in regard to his missing fiancé;
In the context of "What happened that night?"
He is giving precise details, not about the time ("late afternoon or early evening" and "after 5"), but is giving precise and specific details about rental properties which generate income while Crystal is missing.
Could the subject be attempting to put the focus of Crystal's activities on the day in question to people she may have connected with through the real estate ads, in an attempt to shift focus from himself?
Investigators need to ask:
Has he just introduced a possible motive, should they conclude that he is involved in her disappearance?
NG did not catch these extra and seemingly unnecessary details which, to a prosecutor, should sound like "alibi establishment", yet, it reveals what he is thinking:
She is missing and he is giving more details about his own connection to the rental properties than about her.
"Proceeded" is used when events are usually expanded; that is, other things happened. It is also "shop talk" or "cop talk", therefore, if the subject has any connection to law enforcement, it could enter his language.
GRACE: So that was Friday evening. What time did she get home, Brooks?
HOUCK: After 5:00.
Recall his answer of "later afternoon or early evening" and now "after 5:00" is lacking precision. This is not unexpected, but is compared to the above specific details about where the ad was placed and what size the advertisement was, and how it is connected to him.
GRACE: After 5:00. And what, if anything, did she do at that time?
Even something this small, such as "if anything" could have signaled to him that he could say "oh, nothing..."
Better is: "Then what happened?" He would not likely say, "What happened with whom?" since he knows that he is on national television because Crystal is missing.
HOUCK: It was a normal -- normal evening. At that point, she showed the property and came home.
Statement Analysis Principle: When the word "normal" is used in an open statement, it is an indication of anything but "normal" to the outside world. This is the same thing that first graders recognize in a story that says, "it was a day like every other..." signaling that something 'different' or special is about to be introduced. It is the same thing in language. Also, when one says, "I am a normal male", it is an indication that he has thought of himself, or has been thought of by others, as not normal.
Statement Analysis Principle: When a word is repeated in an open statement (not as a result of direct questioning), the repetition shows sensitivity or importance to the subject.
"Normal" not only suggests that something not normal took place, but also that it was quite sensitive as well. He is telling us that what took place between them, on the night of her disappearance, something out of the ordinary took place.
It is unclear how many properties Crystal showed that day/evening, as the subject has now referenced the showing of a property after she got home for the "normal" evening. The showing of property is extremely sensitive to the subject.
GRACE: Well, what day of the week was this?
This is the very element which, although she did not catch it early on, may have sensed was missing since she interviews many loved ones of missing persons in her show. It is not expected that the person would not identify the exact day and/or date since that particular day and date is the most critically important day and date of their lives.
HOUCK: This was on Friday, would have been July 3rd, 2015.
GRACE: Did you have July 4th plans?
HOUCK: Yes, we did.
Note the question with "you" is answered with "we" which may be he and the kids, he and Crystal, or he, Crystal, and the kids.
GRACE: What were they?
What were your plans. This is a good question.
HOUCK: My uncle, Fabian Ballard, and Loreto, about 49, had a large gathering at his home. My mother has a very large family, there`s 13 brothers and sisters, and we -- we had planned on going there on Saturday, July 4th.
Above, we saw that he went into specific details about what paper he put the ad in, and the actual size of the ad.
We noted that this was found in the boundary of the question about what happened to Crystal.
What does this mean to Statement Analysis?
When someone is asked, "What happened?" we:
a. analyze the words used
b. Note what is not said
c. We measure the form of the answer
d. We measure the pace of the answer.
Regarding the form, since it is interrupted by questions, we cannot measure it using our 25/5025 formula of percentages. (See "measuring a statement" via the search engine).
We can, however, continue to note that Statement Analysis will measure the "pace" set the subject.
We look for an average pace, even with questions interrupting him, and note any deviation from the average responses. Therefore, any extremely short answer should be considered wanting to 'skip over' and rush through something with giving as little information as possible.
A good example of this is the 911 call by William McCollum, who shot his wife and sought to give as little information as possible to the operator, to the point where he avoided using his wife's name, or even the word "wife", in extreme psychological distancing language. In his case, he did not shoot her intentionally, but it revealed that he had taken the gun to bed with him and likely had threatened her earlier, as the deception showed an attempt to conceal responsibility for the gun, as well as animosity towards his victim.
He sped up the pace to 'move on' and get the call over with.
Then, there is the opposite response where one slows down the pace of information by piling on additional and unnecessary details, such as the age of Loreto, who is not introduced by the subject, in order to avoid getting to the 'worst' part of the story.
Two things are noted about this slowing down of the pace:
1. It shows a desire to avoid getting to the critical point of the account;
2. While using additional wording, he is leaking out valuable information for us.
(see "measuring the pace" of a statement, with lines per hour specified in analysis)
GRACE: Did you go?
HOUCK: Yes, I did. I went with my family.
Note he could have said, "yes" but instead emphasized or asserted himself with "yes, I did" which shows a need for emphasis, similar to 'rising to a challenge.' If this is the wording of defiance, will Nancy Grace naturally pick up on it?
Next, note that the word "with" when found between people, reveals distancing language. "Yes, my family and I went..."
Instead, it shows distance between himself and his "family", as shown with the word "with."
Also, please note that he takes ownership of his family and does not say "our" family, shared with Crystal.
This is to show a distinction or breakage away from her, and her children. In extended families, or with step children, the expected is "our" family.
GRACE: And what time that was?
HOUCK: That was about 5:00 or 5:30 on Saturday --
GRACE: OK. Let me understand the timeline, Mr. Houck.
Note that the earlier 'defiance', or assertion, was not lost on NG, as she now addresses him no longer by his first name, but by the formal, "Mr. Houck", which reveals something about her, along with:
"Ok" (agreement, or seeking to agree)
"let me understand" which indicates that Nancy Grace, herself, is thinking that he is not being "exact" or "clear" or "truthful" with "the timeline" and she is not understanding him.
He "challenged" her question, which was not a challenge when she asked about going to the party. He had slowed down the pace (which even without training, feels awkward to the Interviewer, and can provoke impatience) and she senses reluctance on clarity recalling the word, "exactly" that opened the questioning. She now seeks for him to "let" her understand; which tells us that she feels he is not being clear, or "letting" her understand and that he is in 'control' in this sense.
So on Friday night, she shows a property in the evening, well, the evening, she gets home after 5:00.
HOUCK: No. Incorrect. Incorrect.
GRACE: No? OK. Explain.
HOUCK: Friday evening.
GRACE: Friday? Yes, that`s what I said.
HOUCK: July 3rd.
GRACE: Correct. That`s what I said.
HOUCK: She showed the property. And then on -- you asked me if we had plans just on July 4th, which was in the following day on Saturday.
GRACE: Right. Right. That`s what I just said.
HOUCK: Yes, ma`am.
GRACE: So Friday evening, she shows the property at a multi-property spot that had been advertised in the standard. She gets home after 5:00 and what children, if any, did she have with her at that time?
NG was listening.
HOUCK: Two children.
She took two children (unnamed, and without any possessive pronouns) with her to show rental property, which "we" had listed, and to Walmart.
I cannot tell if NG interrupted him or if he gave just this short response.
GRACE: And --
HOUCK: The other two children had already been dropped off at their dad`s house.
This is also distancing language. He does not say she had "her two children" or even "our" two children (shared) but "two children" and now "the other two children" are not "her other two children" or even "our other two children" indicating:
Distancing language moving away from the children of the household.
GRACE: And what did you guys do for supper that night?
This is an interesting and astute question. Here is why:
She may be seeking to tie him to experiential memory since she is showing doubt over his words, and eating a meal is something that is not 'ordinary' if the subject caused, directly or indirectly, Crystal's disappearance.
HOUCK: We just ate here -- we ate here at the house.
"Just" is used to compare in a minimized way.
He gives the location of where they ate, but not what they did for supper.
Nancy Grace continues to look for something specific: I like this question:
GRACE: Did she cook?
HOUCK: For about an hour and a half and then we left here about 7:30.
"Here" appears to be an unnecessary word in this sentence, and suggests the subject is thinking about leaving another place at another time.
Leaving the place is noted for missing information (70/30 above)
GRACE: Did she cook that night?
HOUCK: You`re cutting out on me. I didn`t hear what you just said, ma`am.
GRACE: Oh, I`m sorry. Did she cook that night, Brooks?
Although "I'm sorry" is a respectful apology for cross talk, or not hearing someone, we also note it as it is often found in the language of the guilty. Here it is simply in the language of the Interviewer, but should it be used by a possible suspect, it should be noted.
This is because those who "did it", even though they are judicially "innocent", that is, having not been found guilty, it sometimes 'leaks' out as it is something they are thinking. "I'm sorry " can be remorse, regret, or simply being upset for the stress of it all, or for being caught.
We simply note it, and add it to the other points in the analysis, when we draw our conclusion.
Leakage: in Statement Analysis, we recognize that if a subject is thinking about something, and has guilty knowledge of it, even while talking about something else, and trying to avoid confession or admission, the brain, knowing what it knows, often uses words that reveal what the person is really thinking about.
Example: When Caylee Anthony was reported missing, Texas Equasearch's Tim Miller came, with helicopter and horse, to Florida, at great expense, to help the family locate Caylee. Cindy Anthony refused to let Casey talk to Tim. Tim said he had never been called in to help a family only to have the family hinder or sabotage the search.
Cindy Anthony kicked Tim and his organization out of her house. She walked up to the microphone and said,
"George and I don't believe Caylee's in the woods, or anything."
"In the woods" is precisely where she was found, down the block from Cindy's home. This is "leakage", or leaking out words that reveal information.
Listen for "leakage" in all interviews and even in conversations. People tell you far more than you could ever have guessed.
HOUCK: She did not. We just ate here at the house. It wasn`t anything special or new anything like that. We knew that we had plans, wasn`t going to kill a lot of -- kill a lot of time and then we proceeded -- we proceeded out there to the family farm.
The subject reports what they didn't have to eat, and specifies that it wasn't "special" or "new." Most people, if thinking about the last meal they had with their missing finance, would report what they had, rather than to describe what the meal was not. Did he avoid saying what they had for dinner that night because something happened to prevent them from having dinner? The subject wants the listener to think that meal was so ordinary that he did not identify it. Did something displace his appetite that night?
The subject has introduced the word "kill" into the interview about his missing fiancé
and he has repeated it, making it very sensitive.
This is a most unexpected word and one that should alarm the families searching for Crystal.
"Proceeded" indicates ongoing activities or components broken down, to one activity. It may be cop speak if he has law enforcement background, but, since it is repeated here, it is sensitive and it is a signal that:
more happened than just going out to the family farm. He did something else in this period of time that he is thinking about, but not reporting.
Crystal did not go with him. He went with "his" family, not hers, nor "ours." He introduced a new word into the text.
This is why it is so important to not introduce new words whenever possible. It is why polygraphs often get "inconclusive" results when there is no reason to be unresolved.
Let's say that Nancy Grace said, "What did you do to kill time?" If she had, the word "kill" would not be his own language and would not be important. It would not be leakage but "parroting" language.
Analytical Interviewing Training Stresses the avoidance of lengthy sentences, introducing new words, or anything that causes the subject to leave the free editing process.
When used with the polygraph, there should be no reason for "inconclusive" or false results. President Clinton would have passed the polygraph had they asked him, "Did you have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky" without first allowing him to define "sexual relations" from his own personal, subjective internal dictionary.
Once clarified by the President, the same lie would have failed.
GRACE: OK. Now. On July 4th I thought was the family farm get-together, no?
HOUCK: Well, the Fourth, that right there is another family member.
GRACE: Oh, I get it.
HOUCK: That we went to.
GRACE: I get it. So that night, you get back and what was she doing when you went to bed?
HOUCK: She was playing games on her phone.
This is important information in context:
a. larger context: missing woman
b. smaller context: distance between them
Please note that he could have said, "she was playing games" or "she was playing video games" but he did not:
He introduced the word "phone" in the specific context of distance between him and her, while she is now missing.
"Phone" is a 'person' in Statement Analysis, generally, because it is used (generally or mostly) to communicate with people, either via texting or speaking.
He has placed her using the device which is used to communicate with someone.
Walmart was really important to him and it was vital that he let us know that he was not there, physically, at Walmart.
Now, he places her with the phone, but limits the contact to "playing games."
This is strange and the strangeness of his response, of all the things he could have said, he chose to report she was just playing games, is not lost on NG:
GRACE: Really? OK. Where was the baby?
"Really?" is to show surprise, and ask "again", as if she doubts his word, but "agrees" by "OK" and then asks, "Where was the baby?"
He has a baby with Crystal.
He has shown distancing language with the kids, but this child is his, therefore, we are faced with deciding what to expect:
a. Do we expect him to parrot back with "the baby was..." or,
b. Do we expect him to "own" the baby, somehow, by name, nickname, possessive pronoun, etc? (Examples, "Oh, Tommy was still up..." or "our baby was..." or "my son was..." or anything like this.
HOUCK: The baby was still up.
To the subject, he is "the baby";
We cannot conclude distancing language because he may have been parroting NG. Nothing thus far has shown any connection to the children, including this, but this, alone, cannot be classified as distancing language.
GRACE: OK. And who -- who had the baby while she was playing games?
Ha! A parent's natural question.
HOUCK: He was just running loose in the house.
Nancy Grace was rightfully 'taken back' (emotionally) by his answer that she was playing games on the phone, hence the sensitivity of asking a question and answering it herself, and here, we see why:
The child was not playing, or walking around, or anything positive, or even neutral:
He was "just" running "loose" in the house, with "house" not confined to one room, or even one floor. This is to say: She was on the phone and the baby was neglected.
This is to show disapproval or anger; that is, something in the negative in the context of distance, from her, while she is missing.
HOUCK: If a light`s still on in the living room, he is not going to go to bed until all the lights are out. So if there`s still activity going on in the home, he is going to stay it up with me.
Here the subject is speaking in future tense, telling us what is or is not going to happen, however, he does not say that the baby didn't go to bed because there were lights and activity in the home.
Note also that the "house" is now a "home."
GRACE: Now what time did you go to bed and was she still up playing games on her phone?
HOUCK: She was still up playing games on her phone. And it was really close to midnight.
GRACE: OK. And was the baby still awake?
HOUCK: Yes, ma`am.
GRACE: So you go to bed. She is playing phone games and -- was she playing with another person or just by herself?
NG is wondering about the "phone" (person) connection and uses a polite way to get to it to see if there is a 3rd party involved:
a. a love interest for her
b. a love interest for him
c. a person siding with, or consoling Crystal that he may have resentment towards, including giving not only romance or relationship advice, but, perhaps, a tie to the real estate rental business which might impact him.
HOUCK: I`m not aware if she was, you know, texting anybody else or talking to anybody else. I`m under the impression she was just playing one of the games on her phone.
Please do not miss the simple word, "else"as it now adds a new dimension. He does not say "I'm not aware of she was talking to anybody or texting anybody" but "anybody else" indicating that she was likely talking to or texting someone, which may have been him, or a 3rd party.
If it was him, he was 'competing' for her attention with someone else, or even with a game. This is also to suggest conflict.
The word "you know" is a figure of speech that shows an acute awareness of the interviewer. Like all habits of speech, we note what words or topics produce it, and what words or topics do not produce it.
Here, regarding the possibility of somebody else in this case, Nancy Grace raised the question and he acknowledges in this unique manner, her presence at this specific question, where he does not elsewhere.
GRACE: And when did you realize --
HOUCK: Just standard and normal for her to do that.
The subject wants us to believe that it was a normal night. This theme is repeated and sensitive to him. For him there is both "standard" and "normal", which beg us to ask him to tell us the difference.
This is likely a heavy need to persuade, indicating it was neither standard nor normal for them. He is telling us that he knows something out of the ordinary took place, which may be out of the ordinary for most, but, if it is fighting, he wants us to think this is the "norm", which is a subtle way of complaining about the victim.
GRACE: Brooks, when did you realize, Brooks Houck, that she was gone?
Did you notice that this question produced his full name?
HOUCK: The very next -- the very next morning.
Broken sentences unless spoken by someone with a stutter, mean an attempt to censor oneself. The "very next" is repeated, which is to attempt to show how "quickly" he moved, which shows that he is aware of how bad it looks that he did not "notice" she was gone the night before.
This may be sensitive if he knew she was gone the night before.
This is similar to someone saying, in an extreme emergency, "I called 911 immediately", which suggests a delay.
GRACE: So you slept through the whole night and did not realize that she was gone?
In the form of a question, it is an accusation. This is why the transcripts have a sense of 'debate' about them. He is aware of her doubts.
HOUCK: That`s true.
He does not say "Yes, I did" or "Yes" or even "Yes, I slept through the night and didn't realize she was gone until morning" (or the "very next" morning).
Instead, he says "that's true", using the word "that" in reference to what NG specifically said. The rule of "this and "that" is applicable, as every mother of a teenager knows: where there is a "that", there is a "this"; and vice versa.
If there is a "that" there is also a "this" in the subject's mind that he is comparing the statement Nancy Grace made to.
He affirms what she says, not what is real, but what she said, her words. He is thinking of "this", while allowing her to 'lie for him' which he then distances himself, personally, from, using the word 'that."
[20:47:21] GRACE: Joining me right now in addition to her parents, Tom and Sherry Ballard, her boyfriend that she lived with there in their three-bedroom suburban home, Brooks Houck is with us. So, Brooks, you go to bed and she is still playing games on her phone. The next morning around 8:00, you noticed that she`s missing. Did you report her missing?
"Did you report her missing?" is the direct "yes or no" question.
HOUCK: No, ma`am.
HOUCK: That is a great question and one that I definitely want the public and the media -- I was not in the least little bit alarmed in any way, shape or form. We have had a stressed relationship at times. And one of the ways that Crystal has always chose to cope or deal with that is by going to -- a young woman`s name, Sabrina, that is her cousin, her dad`s brother`s daughter, whom she is very close to, she spent the night there on several occasion.
1. "That is a great question" is to:
a. Avoid answering the question. This means the question as to why not calling police in a timely manner is a sensitive question to him.
b. by using the words "that is a great question" is also to slow down the pace of the flow of information, indicating that psychologically, he does not want to get to something. This is even why the age of a relative is given; the brain wants to avoid the stress and slows down things, adding extra information to aid in the avoidance of the 'confrontational' information.
2. "Public and media" is a broken sentence; self censoring. This is an indication of missing info.
3. As to being alarmed: watch the progression of sensitivity weaken the assertion:
a. "I was not alarmed" is very strong and likely truthful.
b. "I was not in the least bit alarmed" is to add one layer of sensitivity to it.
c. "I was not in the least little bit alarmed" adds another layer of sensitivity to it.
d. "I was not in the least little bit allured in any way shape or form" adds another; making it weaker, rather than stronger, as it is too over the top with its need to persuade.
He was likely extremely anxious. Next, from this point of anxiety he says,
"We have had a stressed relationship at times" which is, for us at this point, an under-statement.
Here he uses her name, Crystal, but when it comes to her leaving him to "cope" which is also important:
He tells us not only to whom she runs, but the location where she spends the night. This is to say that at night, she needs a place as a refugee, to sleep peacefully, which is not something she could get at the place where he is.
GRACE: When you say several, do you mean one, three, 20?
HOUCK: In the neighborhood of four to six.
HOUCK: Something like that.
GRACE: OK. To Tom and Sherry Ballard, were you aware of that? Do you know who Sabrina is?
S. BALLARD: Yes, ma`am.
T. BALLARD: That`s my niece.
GRACE: OK. Did you know she goes and spends the night over there when she is having an issue at home?
T. BALLARD: I`ve known probably one time.
GRACE: Right. OK. I want to go back to Brooks Houck who was the last person to see her alive.
Brooks, did you go on to the July 4th get-together that day?
This is really more of a challenge than a question which is why she saved the follow up question.
HOUCK: Yes, I did.
Defiance is noted by NG in her follow up challenge to him:
GRACE: Even though you didn`t know where she was?
HOUCK: Well, I was expecting -- I had put in a phone call that morning and then around lunch and usually, the maximum period of time that she has stayed gone has only been like a day to a day and a half, at the most. And as a result of that, I thought that she would --
"Well" is a pause that tells us the subject needed extra time to consider his answer.
Note the incomplete sentence, "I was expecting."
Next note the language, "I had put a in phone call that morning" is not to say, "I called her"; this is the language of alibi building. To "put in a phone call" is an obligation, and not a concern. We "put in phone calls" to customers, supervisors, and other obligations that need fulfillment. We call our loved ones. We may even "put in a call" to someone we do not like, or that we do not know, or that we consider obligatory rather than something we want to do.
This is to show not only reluctance or obligation, but sounds scripted.
GRACE: Did you try to call her?
HOUCK: -- join us. I`m sorry, I didn`t hear you, ma`am.
Note the inclusion of these words for any cause.
See above notes. GRACE: Did you try to call her during that time?
NG is establishing a line here to show that he had no reason to call other than scripting.
HOUCK: Not while I was there -- there at the -- at the Fourth. I called her prior to leaving to head in that direction, yes, ma`am.
Note the incomplete sentences. This is to "break off" communication, or self censor. It indicates missing information and he is concerned that something may be amiss:
phone records matching his words.
He is not speaking from experiential memory here.
Note how awkward it sounds; this is the signal that the conflict it produces:
'I did not call her from there; yes, I did call her from there while I was intending to go in that direction' is why I wrote that he was not working from experiential memory.
He is likely struggling to remember his "time line" of "events and facts" and now may help us understand what "facts" he referred to, as "events" are items that took place, such as Walmart and showing the real estate that is so important the everyone know he is part of.
GRACE: Some people have accused you of not being involved enough in the search efforts. What`s your response?
Here is an opportunity to address being accused of not searching which is what guilty people sometimes do. He could say "I have been searching" and "I did not cause Crystal's disappearance."
HOUCK: That is a great question and one I certainly appreciate you asking me. And that is all of my effort in searching for her has been done behind the scene. With the Nelson County Sheriff`s Office.
We have another "great question" posed to him. The first was about reporting her missing. This one is, in essence 'Did you cause Crystal to go missing?" which is seen in "you have not helped find her", format.
To which the only expected response is,
"I didn't cause Crystal's disappearance." even if it comes after "I did try to find her" and so on.
This is the place to address public suspicion directly. Those who do not help have a reason why they do not help. This is to implicate guilt and not wanting to find her. There is only one way to answer this. "I didn't cause my fiance', Crystal, to go missing" or anything close.
This is a Reliable Denial and must have 3 components and only 3 components:
1. Pronoun "I"
2. Past tense verb, "did not" or "didn't"
3. Allegation answered.
If there are 4 elements, such as "I know I didn't cause her disappearance" it is not reliable.
Other unreliable denials include:
"I would never cause Crystal's disappearance"
"didn't cause Crystal's disappearance"
"I didn't do anything" (which avoids the allegation)
"I'm innocent" is to deny the conclusion, legally, rather than the act itself.
These are all things that are unreliable and often heard from guilty parties.
GRACE: What? What?
HOUCK: Detective Snow who is leading the investigation and Jason Allison who is a deputy there assisting him along with the Kentucky State Police Agency Post Number 12.
This is to specifically name detectives, as if to show closeness to the investigation. This was something regularly done by Billie Jean Dunn, in the murder of her daughter, as she attempted to convince the public that she was working with the police, while the truth was they were investigating her and her boyfriend, Shawn Adkins. Once this came out, she grew hostile towards police.
GRACE: My question was what you had been doing with them. Let me ask you this. I know that you agreed to take a polygraph. Did you pass?
This is also to accuse him of causing her disappearance and it is, again, the place where it is expected the subject will give a reliable denial.
"Did you pass?" is about causing her disappearance.
HOUCK: Because of the way that the lines or whatever were they, they determined it to be inconclusive. I`m not exactly sure what that means.
But they did tell me it does mean that I wasn`t lying or I didn`t pass it or I didn`t fail it. They just ruled it inconclusive and that is exactly the way it stands.
I have been 100 percent completely honest with everyone. I have been 100 percent cooperative in everything that has been asked of me. I have not asked for any kind of legal advice or assistance or an attorney of any nature. I`m 100 percent completely innocent in this. And I have exhausted
my efforts with the law enforcement agencies to gather all the facts necessary to allow me to have a clean name again. That`s very important to me. I have not responded to a lot of the negativity and all of this animosity because I want the emphasis to remain on Crystal`s safe return home. And that`s where I want it to stay focused in that area rather than dealing with any of the animosity between the families.
He says everything but "I did not cause Crystal's disappearance." He also uses her name, rather than the more common avoidance. We note the context of using her name:
It is within the realm of suspicion and her safe return.
It is a lengthy answer and yields much information. If he knows where Crystal may be found, it is very likely within the words of the formal police interview, via leakage. Let's look at his answer, point by point in analysis.
HOUCK: Because of the way that the lines or whatever were they, they determined it to be inconclusive. I`m not exactly sure what that means.
When a polygraph is conducted via Statement Analysis and the subsequent interview, there is little reason for "inconclusive" results. It is imperative in the pre-screen interview that the subject define his own words, and the questions must be constructed solely upon his words, which he has specifically given meaning. Every one of us has a personal, internal, subjective dictionary. Once de-coded through simple questions, he will either pass or fail.
I once had a child molester write out a statement indicating guilt and the exact time and location of the molestation, according to the analysis.
The analysis matched the statement and time line of the child, including the exact time of the molestation and the location in the house where it took place.
He was asked if he had "molested her" and passed.
In his language, as well as the child's he "tickled" her genital areas, not "molested."
He went on to repeat offend since he "passed" his polygraph, much like the presidential example above where technically, Clinton was not lying. He and Monica Lewinsky had talked about his definition of "sexual relations" as limited to "intercourse. "
In the interview, he should be asked, "What happened?" and not be interrupted. Each time a specific word is used, it is written down, and then he can be asked, "What do you mean when you say ____?" to make sure that he and the polygrapher are on the exact same page.
Then, once words like, "disappearance" are defined and the polygrapher is using his language, short simple questions will be clear to the subject and psyiological responses discernible.
To be not exactly sure to is have a good idea of the meaning.
This is also where we look for him to say "I told the truth" using 3 components:
2. "told" in past tense, referring to the test
3. The word "truth" in any form, but not the word "lie" in any form.
But they did tell me it does mean that I wasn`t lying or I didn`t pass it or I didn`t fail it. They just ruled it inconclusive and that is exactly the way it stands.
He quotes their language with "I wasn't lying' but does not affirm this for himself. He does not say that although it was inconclusive, that "I told the truth."
Statement Analysis recognizes that outright lying is quite rare, and happens in less than 10% of deception. Most deception is from missing information.
A direct lie causes internal stress as it not only disrupts the speed of transmission in the brain, but it sets up a future confrontation where one is accused of lying. Most people avoid it instead employing language that does not commit to the truth. This is why a truthful person will say, "I didn't cause Crystal's disappearance" and will look at his statement of affirmation and say, " I told the truth"
making it more than 99.9% likely to be true. This is the analysis rule of being incapable of "lying twice", that is, to look upon one's lie, and lie about it.
It does not happen.
I have been 100 percent completely honest with everyone.
a. Statistically, those who employ percentages are closer to deception than truth tellers.
b. Note here the distance between the word "I" and the word "everyone." This is to avoid saying that he told the truth to police, but gives the all-encompassing "everyone", which is non-specific. He needs distance between himself and "everyone" under the context of being "honest."
c. Next note that his "honesty" is made sensitive with "completely" honest.
d. Next note that his honesty is not only sensitive with "completely" but it is further qualified with "100 percent."
This is not to say, "I have been honest" but to make his "honesty"sensitive, twice.
Statistically, he has moved to "deception" and further away from "truthful."
I have been 100 percent cooperative in everything that has been asked of me.
Here he uses the same phrase, "100 percent"cooperative, but he does not use the word "completely."
This is a change of language and he gives the reason:
"that has been asked of me."
This shows that he is aware of questions that have not been asked of him that he has not cooperated with: specific topics uncovered by police in his mind.
I have not asked for any kind of legal advice or assistance or an attorney of any nature.
What one says in the negative is very important. This is what he has not asked:
1. "kind of legal advice"
3. "an attorney"
This is also to avoid saying, "I did not cause Crystal to disappear" as well as to avoid saying "I told the truth."
I`m 100 percent completely innocent in this.
He returns to his former sensitivity but this time about innocence. Not being convicted in a court by a jury of his peers makes this statement truthful but...
with his three assertions:
He is 100% completely honest and innocent, but not 100% completely cooperative, only "100% cooperative."
"attorney of any nature" is different "natures" of attorneys, which may be in reference to an attorney who:
a. practices criminal defense
b. practices property or business disputes
And I have exhausted my efforts with the law enforcement agencies to gather all the facts necessary to allow me to have a clean name again.
People often feel that such a speech sounds impressive but once they look at the words chosen, they see it differently. Recall Marion Jones' powerful press conference in which she talked about all the drug tests she passed and all the assertions that USADA was crooked and hiding things. She spoke in powerful terms but was incapable of saying, "I did not use steroids." The press and public was impressed. Statement Analysis showed her as deceptive.
She spent time in prison for lying.
Here we reference the "speed of transmission" of speech.
The average person has 25,000 words in his vocabulary. When answering the question "what happened?" he has to:
a. choose what events to tell and what events to leave out, because no one can tell everything that happened;
b. choose which words to use
c. choose which order to put these words
d. choose the verb tenses and pronouns according to memory
e. place the words next to each other properly to make sense in communication.
This entire process takes place in less than a micro-second of time. This incredibly fast process is why Statement Analysis is so effective and so successful, far above the polygraph.
Lying is stressful because it disrupts this very speedy process and is seen through such things as sensitivity indicators and other principles within analysis.
1. He exhausted his efforts with law enforcement tells us:
a. The distance between him and law enforcement exists
b. The distance has exhausted his efforts; he has nothing more he can try with them
c. His purpose is not to find Crystal, but in working with law enforcement is for his name
d. His name needs "cleaning" and not "clearing" with "clean" a word more closely related to sexual homicide or sexual abuse than not.
e. He believes his name was "clean" before, and must be restored.
Order speaks to priority; his name is more of a concern than finding Crystal, which comes later.
That`s very important to me.
Note the context:
She is missing;
He has distanced himself from her and from her children;
Yet we have a topic that is now important to him: getting the information that will him ("me") to have a clean name again.
He does not have confidence in law enforcement in cleaning his name.
I have not responded to a lot of the negativity
He has not said, "I didn't cause Crystal to disappear" but only to "a lot" (not all) of the negativity.
and all of this animosity
"animosity" is accompanied with the "negativity', which is the emotion behind the accusation that he caused Crystal's disappearance. This is to:
a. Refuse to deny the crime
b. Denigrate those who accuse him by ascribing their suspicion of him to emotional hatred (animosity), that is, personal.
because I want the emphasis to remain on Crystal`s safe return home. And that`s where I want it to stay focused in that area rather than dealing with any of the animosity between the
He is aware of where the emphasis is, upon him, which is "negative" and he "wants it" to be on Crystal's safe return, (which produced her name), and "that is where I want it to stay focused", with the word "that" also distancing language.
He repeats "animosity", showing how sensitive it is to him, and how a simple denial could stop it, but he is incapable or unwilling to do so.
We have a rule in Statement Analysis:
If the subject is unwilling or unable to say he did not do it, we are not going to say it for him.
GRACE: To Tommy and Sherry Ballard, Crystal`s mom and dad, to Miss Ballard, I want to talk about her car and her getting out of that car, and leaving the car in the ignition with her cell phone and pocketbook and a diaper bag still in the car and getting out on the side of the road. What
do you make of that? Because there is no way I would do that.
S. BALLARD: I don`t think Crystal would, either. I can`t see her getting out the car. I can`t see remember once her leaving her baby at home. I can`t see her getting out of the car in the dark, not with a cell phone in her hand or something anyway. She had AAA. She had no reason to get out
of the car. I just -- it don`t make sense.
I left in this one answer just to show how easy it is for someone to use Crystal's name, making it extreme distancing language by its avoidance in the language of Brooks Houck.
GRACE: It doesn`t make sense to me, either, Mr. and Miss Ballard.
Brooks Houck is deceptively withholding information regarding the disappearance of Crystal Houck.
He consistently used distancing language to Crystal, and was incapable or unwilling to issue a Reliable Denial (RD). He has indicated no connection to Crystal, nor to the children, but makes sure that we know he has a connection to the rental property. Brooks Houck is not telling everything he knows about what happened to Crystal.
This could be not as one might expect from one engaged to the other of his child, while she is missing.
His language reveals that he is concealing information, that is, as an act of his will. He could have guilt in that his fighting with her led to her leave the home which led to her demise; or
He could have guilt because he caused her disappearance, which includes using the word "kill" regarding time, twice. That these words came into his vocabulary, while she is missing, is alarming and if he did cause her disappearance, are rightfully viewed as "leakage", as the deceptive person 'slips up' words that he was thinking of while attempting to deceive.
Most all deception is from withholding information, rather than the direct lying that causes internal stress; a stress not necessarily tied to a conscience, as even "sociopaths" feel the stress of processing interruption.
It is important to note that Brooks Houck does not deny causing her disappearance, in all of his statements here, and he used distancing language between himself and her, and himself and the children, and himself and police, while giving specific details to bring him close to the rental properties, as well as a psychological closeness associated with "cleaning" his own name, as a priority, more than her "safe return."
His need to get the audience to think this was a "normal night" signals to us that he needs this persuasion because it was not normal, and he is withholding critical information about the night that has to do with the interpersonal stress of that night.
He is incapable of saying that he did not cause Crystal's disappearance, while using many words, in fact, to avoid making this simple, but reliable denial. Even in face of the allegations, he attaches negative emotion to the motive of suspicion, but refuses to defuse the motive. Instead, he uses many words to persuade that he did not do it, yet cannot state that he did not do it. This is consistent with guilt. The slowing down of the pace, giving needless extra details, is psychologically connected with the avoidance of stress; not wanting to get to "what really happened" the night she went missing.
He is withholding information about what happened to Crystal, and in doing so, spoke publicly outside of experiential memory which was picked up by Nancy Grace intuitively, and showed that he needs to build an alibi for himself, in "facts", "events" and "time lines" that, once memorized, sound scripted to our hearing. When the memorization of the script fails, the chronology falls out of order, such as the case with showing real estate and the trip to Walmart.
Investigators should seek to learn the presence of a 3rd party. This may be:
a. Someone he is involved with;
b. Someone he suspects she is involved with;
c. Someone she is involved with;
d. Someone who may be giving her emotional support;
e. Someone who may be giving her financial support.
There may be some issues with his phone records and her phone records must be checked, specifically during the time at Walmart.
His words reveal a very extraordinary night, including stress and tension, of which her phone and the child not being watched, were part of the stress.
Brooks Houck is withholding information. This information could be nefarious, as he included the words "kill time" twice, or it could be that he is aware of her leaving the home was due directly to the infighting he feels responsible for, in driving her out of the house. The latter would be the more difficult to accept, given the nature of withholding information while she has been missing for this long. One case that comes to mind is a father who was deceptive while his daughter went missing. He did not kill her, but a sex offender did. He was deceptive due to negligence associated with intoxication and was deceptive in trying to protect himself. Another case a man was deceptive to the press about his wife's mental state, as she was suicidal and the press saw his deception. This kept the "searching" going more than necessary, and questions arose whether or not he was going to start a "go fund me" type campaign for money, when his wife's body was found, hung in suicide.
Yet, most all deception that takes place when a person is missing is a signal of guilty knowledge of the crime.