He Said; She Said? This is in article form meaning we have broken and edited statements. The accused said he has evidence that she was not kidnapped; that is, held against her will or positioned in a way that she could not call for assistance. Statement Analysis is in bold type. Here we have a lesson in pronouns that is useful. AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Hutto man charged last month with theaggravated kidnapping of a San Marcos woman in Austinsays that’s not what happened, publicly denying the charges against him.
Stephen Milder, 24, told KXAN he has evidence that the woman’s claims are false. “This did not happen the way she said it did. She was not kidnapped.”
Here we know that something, in deed, happened, but not as "she said it." The use of passivity here, "She was not kidnapped" avoids saying "I did not kidnap her" but also affirms that something did happen that he is thinking about and it happened to her.
Milder says the victim in this case, Hillary Harris, texted him asking him to pick her up, even providing him with the address she wanted to be picked up from. Lesson: Emphasis Using Pronouns
“I went there and I picked her up, as she asked, and we went to San Marcos,” said Milder. He says they stayed in San Marcos for around 15 minutes, but got into an argument. So Milder says he drove her back to Austin.
What can we know from this statement?
1. "I went there and I picked her up" is reliably stated. Question: What about the emphasis with the pronoun "I" here? It is an unnecessary emphasis that suggests that we stay alert for what follows. It means that which he gave reliably, he is emphasizing because that which follows may not be. What followed it? The reporter or editor took out his quote and paraphrased instead. Therefore, we only know it was arguing. 2. "...and we went to San Marcos." The pronoun "we" indicates unity between them at this point in the statement; that is, why headed towards San Marco. Since we are cued in upon the argument, following the pronouns is key:
“As the argument progressed, and got worse and worse, she started becoming more and more irate. I pulled over, asking her to get out of my car if she couldn’t control herself, and she refused several times. She started texting really quickly on her phone. I didn’t really think much of it.”
1. "As the argument progressed" addresses the element of time and the pronoun "we" is absent. It would have been interesting had the journalist not interjected information and let the subject speak for himself. Let's follow the linguistic perception of reality. 2. "As the argument progressed" is also passive, removing from it who caused the argument to make "progress." 3. "...and got worse and worse" tells us the intensity of an argument of which not only broke the unity of "we" but is given in a way which conceals the subject's own responsibility for its progression. It also elongates time. 4. "...she started becoming more and more irate." This must be understood in context of the subject removing himself from responsibility of progression of argument. 5. "I pulled over" is likely reliable 6. "I pulled over, asking her to get out of my car if she couldn't control herself and she refused several times." Here is the incongruence in language. This is where we hear police officers intuitively say, "this doesn't pass the smell test." While concealing his responsibility in the escalation, but telling us she escalated, he "asked" her, not if she wanted to get out of his car, but "to get out" of his car. He gives the additional qualification "if she couldn't control herself" and she "refused" several times. The language of congruence is either a demand to get out of the car, or a request if she wants to get out of the car. We now see why he felt the need to "over empathize" what part he was reliable about. There is deception here.
She did not "decline" his offer or request, she "refused"
Little did he know, at that point on the night of June 22, Harris texted her friend stating she had been kidnapped by Milder, and that he was punching her whenever he saw her texting. The victim was able to relay the type of vehicle she was in and says Milder was driving her around in circles in West Campus and then somewhere on Oltorf Street.
“She texted me from her number asking me to pick her up, and there was no physical abuse inside that car,” Milder said.
This is victim blaming. She texted him for a ride, so it is her fault. He goes back to the beginning with that which he was most comfortable with. This is why he repeated the pronoun "I" unnecessarily.
Was there other forms of abuse in that car?
Was there physicality in the car but not "abuse"? Self defense? Mutual fighting? Remember, his account of "asking" her to get out was incongruent within the language chosen.
In the realm of "he said; she said" this needs further exploration:
Harris told KXAN she had no choice but to go with him. “He was angry and agitated and then he was like, ‘We can make this hard or we can make this easy.'”
"He was angry and agitated" is to use plain language. She does not quote him reducing commitment with the word "like"; She then uses the word "we" Due to editing, I cannot discern if this was an expression or a quote. When her friend contacted Austin police just after 10 p.m., they were able to use the department’s HALO cameras to track the car. But police said there were long periods of time where the victim wouldn’t respond, only saying that “she was being threatened and couldn’t talk,” the affidavit continued. This is the likely origin of kidnapping charges: that one cannot communicate the danger due to coercion.
Milder says he dropped Harris off on San Gabriel Street, where he picked her up and drove home.
Austin police arrested Milder at his home in Hutto, to his surprise. “When he told me aggravated kidnapping, I wanted to faint. I was in shock because I knew I didn’t do that,” he said. “I think about it every day. Try to figure out a reason. I’ll never know why, the particular reason why she did it.”
"kidnapping" in the traditional sense, is precluded in the subject's understanding (subjective) because he did not "steal" her; she, herself, requested he pick her up. Kidnapping charges can stem from either refusing to let someone out, or refusing them access to 911.
Harris told police she had known Milder since February of this year, but they were only friends and were never romantically involved. However, Harris said Midler became “obsessed” with her. She said she had to report him to police when he threw rocks at her apartment in San Marcos.
Two weeks before the kidnapping, Harris said she cut Milder out of her life and said his behavior became more erratic. She said she lived in fear, knowing that Milder stalked her.
Milder claims their communication was consensual, that he was not obsessed with her. This may be the "evidence" he uses to combat the allegation of kidnapping.
“She would call me. She would text me. We would text each other back and forth,” he said. “I did not stalk her and did not blow up her phone. If she had asked me to leave her life, I would.”
The use of "we" tells us how he perceives their relationship. Most interesting is the teaching lesson on emphasis and pronouns. Note that here he has no need for the same emphasis as above:
I did not stalk her and did not blow up her phone.
He has no need to double up on the pronoun "I" as he did before, as here, he believes his own words. This is, even though subjective, something he believes to be true, increasing reliability.
According to court documents, the victim said she filed police reports regarding Milder with San Marcos police and Austin police but never got the protection she needed “due to the overlap in jurisdiction.”
This is something that may be disputed by officials.
What of the victim's credibility?
In working with D/V advocates, I emphasize truthfulness and have encountered several who exaggerate claims which later are seen as false and dismissed.
“I just think after like after four or five times of the literal same reason I’m calling the cops, he should be flagged or like take me seriously,” Harris told KXAN last month. There is likely a reason she is not taken seriously. “I’m almost relieved that something happened finally to where I can be taken seriously by people who are not my immediate friends and family. I think the only reason I was taken seriously was because I was physically hurt. I even think if I wasn’t physically hurt, they wouldn’t have taken it as serious.” The equivocation on her part may come out in "evidence" of text messages as well as past claims and lack of honesty.
Harris says she’s now in the process of getting an emergency protection order against him. This would have been an interesting quote had the journalist included it or asked about the delay.
As part of Milder’s bond conditions, he has an ankle monitor and cannot go near Harris. His next court date is set for Aug. 21. He is still charged with aggravated kidnapping.
Austin police say every case follows a clear process. The first goal when responding to a scene? Protect everyone. Next? Conduct an investigation. Third? Interview everyone involved.
consider that a reporter is asking a police officer about domestic violence. The officer's own words reflect what happens when dealing with dishonesty on both sides.
“We take all the information so that we can have the best, or a clearer picture of what actually occurred. Then an officer will write an offense report,” explained Officer Destiny Winston with APD.
“A detective will review the case and they will determine, ‘Does it meet elements of a criminal offense? Is this even a criminal offense? Is this something we need to investigate further?’ They will give it the appropriate title and then they’ll either clear it, or they’ll continue on with the investigation and then it will go up to either having a warrant served, and then on to the courts.” The equivocation and lack of truthfulness on both parts may be evident in the language of both the reporter and the police officer:
Winston says working any case takes cooperation and communication from all parties involved.
“Sometimes gathering all the information and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together can take some time,” she said. “We look at it objectively. That’s what police officers do. We’re there to enforce the letter of the law. So, we look at it from that perspective and the more information that we have, the better.”
But, the bottom line? APD takes victim reports very seriously.
“When we receive a 911 call, it’s an emergency — nine times out of 10. We’re here to help enforce the law and of course, protect victims of any type of violent crime. That’s what we want to do,” said Winston.
There are several community and department resources available at APD, including a large number of victim services counselors and advocates across Central Texas, as well as legal aid services. Whether you are involved in a dating or family disturbance situation, police want you to call 911 to report it and take advantage of those services to stay safe.
He does not believe what he did was "kidnapping" because she asked him to pick her up; he did not go there and take her against her will . He is not truthful about what happened in the car. She was likely assaulted and his attempt to "punish" her from texting could be to stop her from communicating an emergency, which is legally kidnapping. She is not truthful about the nature and scope of their relationship. She is not likely a truthful person, as she needed some form of injuries to get people to believe her. This suggests habitual deception.