Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Lena Lunsford: Guilty of Murder of Baby Aliyah

This is analysis from 2012.  

23 April 2018:  Lena Lunsford has been found guilty  in the murder of her daughter. 

Statement Analysis of her emergency call indicated:

1. The child was not going to be found alive
2.  The mother had killed her. 

To study deception detection, please visit Hyatt Analysis Services for opportunities. 

The following is Statement Analysis of the 911 call, made 11 days ago, by Lena Lunsford, reporting her 3 year old child missing. 

911 What is your emergency?
My baby’s missing. 

Note that this is the first thing mentioned.  There is no information give as to what happened, only the present status.  No name used.  
Q. What is your address?
(address given)   I was out looking for her for over an hour.

In 911 calls, it is common to find over-talking, so it may be that one interrupts the other. 
Here, we have the caller portraying herself in a positive light, adding in the time she has invested.  

Note that after answering the question that she provides additional information.  When an answer goes beyond the scope of the question, every word is critical.  What is it that is a priority to the caller that she goes beyond the address alone? It began well with "my baby's missing" but without listening, she has a message for police. 

The subject wants police to know that she has been out looking for over an hour. 

Please note that she does not say "I was looking for her" but "out" looking for her for "over an hour".  This is important as it is a reference to time; as all time references are significant. 
Q.  How old?  I need you to calm down.
A.  I’m sorry she’s she’s only three.
Please note "I'm sorry"has entered into the subject's language.  This is always noted no matter why the subject is using these words (see Casey Anthony's 911 call) 
We red flag it because it enters the language of the guilty.  It does not conclude guilt (we do not make conclusions on a single indicator) but is part of an overall view.  
We wonder if there is guilt within the caller that causes the words, "I'm sorry" to enter the language.  

911. When was the last time you saw him?

Lena:  It’s a girl.  This morning. Real early.  I went in and checked on her because she’s been sick with the flu. 

Note that "because" tells us why, rather than simply answering the question.  This goes beyond the realm of the question of what happened and goes to why something happened.  Here she says that she checked on her "real early" because she was sick.  Note that she "went in" and checked on her.  
Note that sick with the flu is now mentioned.  The caller feels the need to explain why she checked on a little girl, making her checking on the child very sensitive to the caller.  She was only asked when; not why. 

It is norm for a parent to check on a child, yet here, it is beyond the norm. 
911:  Okay is it a male or female?
Lena:  It’s a Girl
Note that "it's" is reflective language; entering into the language of the operator.  We might expect, "she's a girl!" or the use of Aliayah's name here, but we only find her using the 911 operator's language.  

A girl?
Ok you saw her this morning around 6:30?
911:  That’s the last time you saw her was at 6:30 this morning?
Yes and then she laid back down and went back to sleep.  And we went back to bed.

Note that she "laid back down" would indicate that she would have to be up in order to go back down.  

She is 3 years old. 

Note that when a sentence begins with "And" the subject has missing information here.  This information is about the time Aliayah got up, and laid down again.  Note that the child laid back down, not that the mother put helped her back to bed.  Given her age, and the fact that Aliayah was apparently awake (laid "back" down), the normal or expected is that she would be up and she would be hungry.  Children have "stomach clocks" that once they go off, they stay on until fed.  We must consider this in light of the "blue" indicator above:  The mother felt the need to explain why she was up checking on her.  This is a critical period of time in the case. 

Note that "we" went back to bed.  Who is "we"?  Is it she and Aliayah?  Since "we" indicates unity or cooperation, was it she and her husband who went back to bed?  She and another child? Who is the other part of the "we"?  
911:  Ok was the doors open or anything?

Lena:  No the doors weren’t open. 
Note that she uses reflective language (the language of the operator).   No information is offered.  The 911 operator has to ask questions.  The flow of information is not smooth nor 'forthcoming' from the mother.  

911:  Were they locked?
Yes I think. 
(Inuaudible) the residence?

It was difficult to hear the question but it sounded like who lives in the residence, of which the answer is important: 

Lena:  Me and my other kids.  

Note that "other" is a dependent word. She has now separated one child from the other kids. 

She does not mention the husband or step father.  This is not lost on the 911 operator who then asks: 
911:  Ok do you live with her father?


Note that other questions she answers but then adds information.  Note here regarding who else resides there that she does not give additional information and is not bringing up her husband's name.   We note all names that enter the language, especially the victim's name.  
Q.  Who is her father?

A.  Her father is a guy named Eric Harris.  He doesn’t even know that she exists.  

Note that she references the father (male) as a "guy" and gives his full name.  
911:  Ok and you’ve been looking for her for the past hour?

Lena:  Yes I’ve looked everywhere (inaudible) 

This is alarming.  It is a red flag as it goes against the natural denial of a mother. 

First, "I've looked" is first person singular, but then she says,
"everywhere".  When someone says that they have looked "everywhere" they have no other places to search.  This is akin to saying, "I've told you everything" therefore, there is nothing more to say.  When someone says "I have looked everywhere" they are saying that there are no more places to look, a strong indication that she has no places to search; hence, out of hope. 
911:  What was she wearing when you put her back in bed?

Timing is on the mind of the 911 operator; recall she had been "out" looking for "an hour." 

Lena:  She had a little pair of purple Dora pj’s.  We went up all these streets.  We went up all these streets.  

"we" often shows the desire to share guilt or responsibility.
The pronoun is changed to plural, "we"; which is repeated.  If she is now speaking of herself and her children, please note that it is repeated:

this is sensitive.  

She did not say that they searched or looked for her; only that "we went up" these streets.  We seek to believe what people tell us. 

If she does not tell us that they went up searching, we cannot say that they were searching.  This correlates to what the lawyer said:  children asked him for gas;  and it fits what another neighbor said:  he was out at his truck all morning and no one was searching, nor asking him if he had seen Aliayah.  People did not report searching.  If the children were begging gas from a neighbor, would they not alarm the neighbor and tell him about the missing sibling?  This sets the scenario for a contrived situation set up by Lena. 

If she went "up" by herself without the children, the change in pronoun is deceptive

Also, that she went "up" ; something that is repeated.  Does this mean that she went up, and that she did not find Aliayah, that Aliayah is "down" somewhere?

Past tense reference is specific to what she was wearing...
911:  Have you been outside checking the area?

Please note that she checked "everywhere" but the operator asks this question anyway. 

Lena:  Yes I’ve drove up all the streets around here looking thinking that maybe she went outside or something.  And don’t think my mom would have came and got her because she’d have woke me up and stuff 

1.  Please note that she uses for the third time the word "up" where Aliayah is not found.  This may indicate that Aliayah will be found "down" somewhere; down in water, buried in a grave, et.c.

2.  "all" the streets; with the same meaning at looking "everywhere".  All the streets "around here" have been looked so even though she has been thorough, she has not been located. 

3.  Note the inclusion of her thinking, even though it wasn't 'correct' thinking. 

4.  Note the inclusion of "or something" which strongly indicates that Aliayah went out "or something"; what is the choice?  It is she went outside "or" something else happened to her.  She is giving police a choice.  If she went out, we won't find her because she has searched "everywhere" and on all the "streets around here" where Aliayah, "only three"could have gone. But since she didn't, we then must conclude "or something" took place with Aliayah that Lena knows and is not sharing.  This sentence is an indiction that Lena Lunsford is deceptively withholding information and would like to limit the searching.  She does not want someone else to find Aliayah.  

5.  Lena introduces, with the word "And" to start the sentence (missing info) her "mom" to the operator.  Her mom is significant to Lena and her mother should be carefully interviewed.  Please also note that she tells us "because" which explains why something, rather than report what happened.  Her mother would have wakened her "and stuff"; what stuff?  Police should seek to learn if there has been any arguments, specifically about child care, between Lena and her own mother.  What other "stuff" would the mother have done, besides woken Lena up?
911:  Ok have you called your mother?

Lena:  No I need to do that.  

Did the operator just give Lena the idea that she should have called her mother?  Now she "needs" to do it. 

Please note that she allegedly drove around for an hour and did not call her mother.  If she was searching for her child, would she not, after the first few minutes, called her mother?  Why would she think that her mother could have had Aliayah ?  Is this the type of family that takes a 3 year old without notice?  How could a three year old leave without it being known?

This appears contrived and false. 
Do you have a phone number for her?
Yes its (number).  
What is her name?
Joanne Evans.
Joanne Evans?
Do you want to just call her real quick and call me right back so I know what’s going on ok?

This is unusual and may indicate that the 911 operator did not entirely trust the caller and wanted her to check with her mother.  Better would have been to keep Lena on the line, give pauses to allow Lena to choose her own words, while the police were en route to the home.  But it does not answer the question as to why she would need to call her mother when she was out searching "everywhere" (everywhere but...her mothers?  everywhere, but..."down" where Aliayah can be located?)

911 what is your emergency?
This is Lena Lunsford my mom doesn’t have her.  

We do not like to hear the child's name avoided by biological mother.  
She doesn’t have her she’s coming now. Oh my God. 
You don’t know of any place she would have went there in the community?  Is there a friend’s house nearby or somebody that she plays with?
No (crying)
911:  Ok.  Is there any place there in the community, a playground, or does she go to church anywhere there?

Lena:  No. (crying)  Help me find her.  

The caller specifies her request for help:  "help me find her" yet she has looked "everywhere" (see above) so there is no other place to look.  This is a subtle brain hint that Lena may need assistance for herself.  It is not conclusive by itself. 
911:  I have an officer on the way mam, I need you to calm down ok.  You’ve looked everywhere in the  house
Lena:  Yes
911:  All the closets, under everything?  Under every beds
Do you have a basement?
Its been checked too.

The passive language here suggests that she did not check the basement.  It is a distinct change from what she previously stated.  Recall:  there is no hope because she has searched "everywhere." 

It is likely that if police asked the children if they searched the basement, they would tell the police that they did not.  Passive language is used to conceal identity often, or when a subject does not want to own a statement with the pronoun, "I" such as "I checked the basement too" especially since she said "I" previously, but then also said "we" drove up the streets...
911: Ok how about the vehicles outside?

Lena:  Its been checked that’s what I used to go look for her.

She reported driving around for about an hour looking for her. 
And you said that there’s other children in the residence?
Yes.  (Noises)
Is she old enough where she would be able to reach the door handle?
Yes she is. 
Oh my God.  Here, please play with your brother for a minute. (talking to child)

Note inclusion of Divinity.
What color is her hair?

She has brown hair and brown eyes.  

Here the subject gives the additional info of the color of her eyes which would have been asked next.  Was this rehearsed?  That she has not been forthcoming causes us to expect only parroting answers.  Here, she goes beyond that and we must consider scripted language.  Recall the pattern of parroting prior. 
911:  Do you know how much she weighs?

Lena:  She weighs approximately 32 to 35 pounds. 
Maybe a little more. 

Ok.  Do you know how tall she is?

Lena:  Um I’m guessing around three feet I’m, I’m not for sure right now I’m sorry. 

Please note that this is the 2nd time she has said "I'm sorry" to a 911 operator. 
That’s ok.  Was there anybody else in the residence with you this morning, any other adults?
No, umm the only adult that
The tape cut out here.  

911:  Other children in the residence?

Lena:  Umm I have five kids

That she has five kids does not say they all live there.  This may speak to custodial issues.  
911:  OK so there’s 4 others in the residence? 

The operator digs...

Lena:  There’s three right now
Ok. Where is the other one?

Lena:  My son is at visitation with his father. 

Note:  he is not visiting or even with his father, but "at visitation" suggests court ordered or even supervised. 
Ok.  So you got up at 6:30 this morning with her?

Yes she got sick.  Yes

Hina Clause: This should be considered sensitive; via repetition and that the time frame is mentioned and she repeats about being sick.  That the child was sick may prove vital in the investigation. 

911:  She went back to bed, went back to sleep and you laid down on 

Lena:  Yes

Lena is not working to facilitate the flow of information.  
911:  How old are your other children that are in?
Ok did any of them see her this morning? What time did they get up?

The compound question is to be avoided. 

Lena:  They came in here umm, I’m not sure maybe around 7, 7:30, came in my room with me. 

Please notice that the additional qualifiers are found when asked about timeframe.  
"I'm not sure" is a qualifier
"maybe" is a qualifer
"around" is a qualifier, equally three in one sentence to this point, but then she says "7, 7"30, 
which is the fourth.  Investigators assuming that this is sensitive and deceptive would be correct.  Overall, her time frames are sensitive and she does not appear truthful about them.  
911:  Ok you said 11 year old 9year old and 8 mos?
Lena:  Yes
911:  Ok can you look outside and see the officer?
Lena  Yes Inaudible Oh God.  
In the front.  Oh my God.  Yes I see one out here. 

Please note that in these two calls, she appeared to avoid talking about her husband, Aliayah's step father.  Statement Analysis means not only looking at the words chosen, but what is missing. 

It can be assumed that the following are sensitive to Lena Lunsford:

1.  Time Frame
2.  Actual Searching
3.  "Up" versus "down"
4.   Her husband; Aliayah's step father

It appears that she does not want them looking for Aliayah, as she has already told them that she has searched "everywhere" and that being only 3, she could not have walked far, but "we" have been "up" all the streets in the area.  

It should be noted that twice she formed the words "I'm sorry" in this call.  This is often an indicator of a form of regret; for some, they are sorry for what they have done (or failed to do) and for others, they are sorry for being caught.  

It is likely that Lena Lunsford knows more than what she has said to police and may be directly involved, or may be covering up for someone else, including her husband.  Careful interviewing and polygraphs should be conducted also with the grandmother, and from other statements, the aunt. 

Others will weigh in on the crying; those trained in voice recognition, for example; though at times, to my untrained ear, the crying sounded contrived and forced. 

911 Call Analysis Conclusion:

Lena Lunsford is  deceptive by withholding information, and the searching, timeline and topic of her husband should all be considered  sensitive areas for her. 

Note:  past tense reference of missing child by bio parent so close to disappearance is flagged.  Even in parroting language, a mother on 'high alert' due to extremity of hormonal response is to 'correct', intuitively, the past tense reference.  If it is not corrected, it is seen as 'neutral to slight negative' in rating the quality of the response.  There is a difference between "expected" and "appropriate" and "acceptable" and "concerning" as it is broken down for overall conclusion. 

Here she told the operator that there was no hope of finding the victim alive. She had searched "everywhere", so the natural powerful maternal denial is absent.  


Charlotte, Denmark said...

My six year old daughter cut her forhead badly on a glass this Sunday. The milk glass was placed on top of a jacket, on a dresser, and she grabbed the jacket.

I now understand the importance of analyzing 911 calls. My husband remained calm (on the outside), while I rang for the ambulance. I cried so much it was hard to understand what I was saying. However, all my focus was on my daughter. There was no "sorry", no blaiming my daughter, no "I was sleeping".

"She is bleeding, it is pouring out, hurry. My husband is with her, he has put pressure on the wound. She is six years old. No, she has no health problems. Yes, she is concious, she is crying." This was what I felt was important to say.

The ambulance came, my daughter and I was taken to the hospital. Six stitches, and she was perfectly fine two hours later. When we came home, my husband was shaking. His reaction had came when he saw us getting in the ambulance. We are 51 years old, married for 30, and with four children. This is the first time we have experienced anything serious with one of our children, and our reaction took us by surprise. I am usually the stoic, calm one, and my husband is easily moved. In this situation, we behaved opposite.

Now, Cordelia is proud of her big bandage, and is looking forward to show it to her friends. I thank Jesus that the glass did not fall on her eyes or throat.

MARY ANN said...

Finally justice for this poor little girl. My heart broke when I first saw the pictures of her looking so sad and defeated and realized what an absolutely hellish existence she was subjected to. The picture of a huge bruise in the shape of a handprint on the side of her face still haunts me today. RIP sweet baby


This was a tragic case. This little girl appeared to never have felt loved or cared for. I remember the first time I saw her picture with the bruise and those sad sad eyes. Heartbreaking. I've never forgotten. This little innocent baby is now in a very happy place with her loving eternal Father.

Angelica said...

Ive always noticed this--the Mom does not say that baby Alliyah was actially wearing the Dora PJ's. She says

Lena: She had a little pair of purple Dora pj’s. We went up all these streets. We went up all these streets.

I believe Lena discarded those PJ's (evidence) somewhere after driving up all those streets. She was probably driving around looking for a dumpster.

Angelica said...

I believe Aalyah was lifted "up" and then dropped "down" into a dumpster. Her PJ's were put into a different garbage receptacle.

Anonymous said...

"She got sick."

I believe this is leakage that something "sickening" was done to Aaliyah. Probably sexual abuse by the stepfather.

Angelica said...

This sounds like Lena & her "other kids" were hiding behind a closed/locked door from a violent altercation (probably between the stepfather & Aaliyah.
"Lena: They came in here umm, I’m not sure maybe around 7, 7:30, came in my room with me."

"with" indicates emotional disrance between herself & her kids at that time. Were the other kids objecting to how Aaliyah was being treated at that time?9

Angelica said...

Peter, is it important that she gives the color of the PJ's?
SA says that stating the color of an object means the individual handled/moved the object. I think Lena herself discarded those PJ's (evidence).

Lena: She had a little pair of purple Dora pj’s. We went up all these streets. We went up all these streets.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Angelica, with the question, a description is expected so it would not be a sensitivity indicator. Peter

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Anonymous said...
"She got sick."

I believe this is leakage that something "sickening" was done to Aaliyah. Probably sexual abuse by the stepfather.
April 24, 2018 at 8:31 PM

It is not.

this is not to say the child was not sexually abused, but the wording is not indicative of S/A Peter

Statement Analysis Blog said...


I am sorry to hear this. I hope she is okay, but as a mother, I hope you are. It is sometimes worse on us, as parents, then upon them.

My guess is that it is worse for you than for her.

While you consider the self analysis, look at your words and recognize "maternal instinct" of "my daughter is hurt; I need to fix this. If I can't fix this, I am beyond frustrated and will now seek help" and move this presupposition into reports of missing children, including Madeleine McCann.

When the McCanns did not express concern for what Madeleine was going through, it was not because they are sociopathic (Kate's language shows she is NOT), but because the brain knew Madeline was beyond help.

I am sorry for what you have gone through, and you are doing what analysts do: carefully monitor and understand.

God bless you all,


Charlotte, Denmark said...

Thank you, Peter. Yes, mother's (and fathers too) instinct kick in. Cordelia is happy and healthy, She will get a scar, but so be it.

Poor Madeleine McCann. Her fate is unknown and cruel. I have followed this since the day she disappeared, and I knew, from the start, that her parents had to be involved.
They behaved so totally out of touch with what one would expect, and I was amazed that so many seem to have fallen for their lies.

I have been a member of the fantastic community, Jill Havern blog, for many years. Sadly, I don't think Madeleine will ever get justice. In my opinion, Gerry and Kate got away with murder.

Mike Dammann said...

Stating she was sick doesn't mean something sick in terms of sexual abuse was done to her. "She's been sick" is passive language. In the context of the statement it does indicate though that usually the mother wouldn't check up on the kid. It could also turn out to become part of what changed events leading towards that morning.

A neglectful mother consumed with her own interest can view something that other parents will suffer through WITH the child as something extremely disturbing and annoying. She "needs to" call her mother and searched for "OVER an hour" both show a passive attitude towards parenting and being burdened. "Over" also emphasizes "enough" or "more than enough". My thought is that the baby being sick likely caused the mother to react in a negative rather than caring manner. This could have contributed to the event causing the disappearance. But the passive language used in the first mentioning of "sick" indicates that her getting sick was not something within the mother's control.

Angelica said...


Lena didnt say "She's been sick". She said "She got sick". That wording implies something "made" her sick.
One time at work, a woman cut her hand and was bleeding profusely. The sight of her own blood caised her to vomit. The sight of blood does not make me sick, so I was able to help her stop the bleeding and wrap her hand. When she told the story later to a co-worker, she said "I was bleeding everywhere, and I cant stand the sight of blood, so I "got sick".
Either Aaliyah was injured (kicked/punched in stomach or heas) and "got sick" or she was sexually abused and "got sick" (vomitted). My point is, something made her "get sick"...it was not just a natural "coming down with the flu".

Anonymous said...

Lena lets us know that Aliyah "had" a pair of PJ's past tense. She no longer has them nor is she wearing them. Why? Because something was on them and they became "evidence" Lena needed to discard.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Peter- Is it odd that Lena said "We went up all these streets.", without the corresponding (and expected directional word "down"- as in, we went up and down all these streets). Up and down, to me, implies searching with a concerted repetitive back and forth motion (a focused sweep of the area). Just going "up" the street seems like a parent who didn't really want to find her or work too hard at the "searching" either. Is that a linguistic bias on my part though?

Martina said...

It means something happened once they went "up" the streets (they disposed of Aliyah's body). Then they went back "down" the streets to home. People tell you what they did. You just have to listen.

Anonymous said...

How did Peter determine that Lena killed Aaliyah?

Was there no other adult there (stepfather)?

GeekRad said...

So glad to finally see some justice.

Mike Dammann said...

Angelica, I was referring to this part:
"Lena: It’s a girl. This morning. Real early. I went in and checked on her because she’s been sick with the flu."