Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Statement Analysis Lena Lunsford 911 Call

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

What do we look for in 911 calls?

Besides following the principles of Statement Analysis, we specifically look for some of the following red flags in 911 calls:

1.  Does the call begin with a greeting?
2.  Does the caller ask for help for the victim, or for herself?
3.  Does the caller frame the words "I'm sorry" for any reason, in the call?
4.  Does the caller disparage, in any way, the victim?
5.  What is the focus of the call?  Is it the victim?
6.  What does the priority show?
7.  What does the language show?

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

Note that this is the first thing mentioned. 
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. 
How old?  I need you to calm down.
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.  

When was the last time you saw him?

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.  It is norm for a parent to check on a child, yet here, it is beyond the norm. 
Okay is it a male or female?
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?
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.  
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"?  
Ok was the doors open or anything?

No the doors weren’t open. 
Note that she uses reflective language (the language of the operator).  

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: 

Me and my other kids.  

She does not mention the husband or step father.  This is not lost on the 911 operator who then asks: 
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.  
Who is her father?

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.  
Ok and you’ve been looking for her for the past hour?

Yes I’ve looked everywhere (inaudible) 

This is alarming. 

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. 
What was she wearing when you put her back in bed?

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?
Have you been outside checking the area?

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

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?
Ok have you called your mother?

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.  
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)
Ok.  Is there any place there in the community, a playground, or does she go to church anywhere there?
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.  
I have an officer on the way mam, I need you to calm down ok.  You’ve looked everywhere in the  house
All the closets, under everything?  Under every beds
Do you have a basement?
Its been checked too.

The passive language here suggests concealment.  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...
Ok how about the vehicles outside?

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)
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?
Do you know how much she weighs?

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

Ok.  Do you know how tall she is?
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.  

Other children in the residence?
Umm I have five kids. 
OK so there’s 4 others in the residence? 
There’s three right now. 
Ok. Where is the other one?
My son is at visitation with his father. 

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

Yes she got sick.  Yes

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. 

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

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. 

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.  
Ok you said 11 year old 9year old and 8 mos?
Ok can you look outside and see the officer?
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 being deceptive by withholding information, and the searching, timeline and topic of her husband should all be considered  sensitive areas for her. 


Anonymous said...

Ok can you look outside and see the officer?
Yes Inaudible Oh God.
In the front. Oh my god. Yes I see one out here.

"OMG" is normally said when you do not want something....or it is in world of warcraft... I tend to type...OMG if I die in the game, or I lose a good roll on an item I want....

I think she should have said, Thank God...yes I see them!!

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Part 1 of 2
911 Operator: "What was she wearing when you put her back in bed?"

Lena: She had a little pair of purple Dora pjs." *Lena used past tense. If Aliayah were missing, Lena would say she is wearing or has on because that would have been the last thing Lena saw her in. Combine that with she tells us that Aliayah was sick with the flu and got sick, but she doesn't mention changing her clothes or the bed, or cleaning up after her. Why would a throwing up and sick three-year old decide to go exploring or leave the house at 6:30 a.m. or early morning? That's neither normal, nor expected. It would be interesting to know if the other children corroborated the sickness story. Siblings know when their sister is sick, particularly if she's throwing up. If Aliayah did have the flu and had thrown up, there should have been evidence of that (soiled bedding, clothing, cleaning chemicals, smell, noises heard by other children-particularly if they woke up less than an hour later). Not to mention, mothers of sick children sleep lightly and little. How is it that a sick Aliayah woke Lena, but not the man sleeping next to her. Sick three year olds are not quiet by any means.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Part 2 of 2
On a side note, it's interesting that Lena introduces that Aliayah was sick and throwing up, makes no mention of changing her or the sheets, cleaning up, giving her medicine, comforting her, tucking her back in, or staying with her. Instead she said Aliayah laid back down...at three years old. That tells me this is a total fabrication or Lena was negligent so often that even a sick three year old had been conditioned to expect no help from her mother (or her siblings-speaks of gross negligence and a culture of fending for yourself). That Lena suggests that a sick three-year old Aliayah would leave the house leads to me to believe that Lena's children are accustomed to seeking help elsewhere when their mother is incapacitated. That Lena also introduces the scenario of her mother coming in and taking the children at will as the norm, tells me there are serious negligence and substance abuse issues in that house. The children are unwanted, unloved, and she does not parent. Lena's comment that her mother would "have woke her up and stuff", tells me that the "...and stuff" part would have likely involved a confrontation over Lena's indifference to her children's needs. The very idea that her mom would enter the home, take at least one of the children, wake her and confront her, tells me this is the norm. Not to mention, how would the mother get in to the rented home? Does mom have a key, are the doors routinely left unlocked, or would she have knocked/rang a doorbell and roused a child, but not a substance abusing adult (or two)? Does this seem normal and expected to anyone else here? Lena tells us by what she chose to include that this is their normal
She's definitely attempting to control the search with: Aliayah's not in the neighborhood; not in the house; not in the basement; not in the car; and not with grandma (even though she hadn't contacted grandma yet). She doesn't say Aliayah's been taken, just that Aliayah is missing (which she is, truthfully-she is not where she should be). Her comments of "It's been checked." are the same as telling the police that they don't need to search those areas because Lena or someone else already has. So, Lena is better trained to search for missing people than LE? Her responses are unexpected and red flags.

Anonymous said...

I still can't believe she hasn't been charged with anything at this point.

What were detectives thinking??? That she was going to slip off, and take them to where little Aliayah's remains are???

Yeah, right!!! Especially, coming from such a despicable, souless monster.

If anything is clear, is that, the last thing this pos has, is any kind of regret or remorse about what happened to Aliayah.

She never loved, or cared about this baby.

BostonLady said...

The family wants answers - but when you read the article, it's not the family, it is one great aunt. This case is so sad because no one cared about Aliyah in life and it follows the same in her death. She has not been officially declared dead but a 3 year old doesn't just disappear especially when the two adults in the home are drug addicts. Something happened and the two adults have knowledge.

From the article:

Six months later, an FBI official said investigators had a working theory about what happened — and it didn't involve a break-in. The agency has since refused to say what agents believe happened to Aliayah or whether they think she's still alive, though it is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to her recovery or an arrest.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/24/family-wants-answers-on-missing-3-year-old-west-virginia-girl/?intcmp=obnetwork#ixzz27V7KbCZN


Lis said...

She wanted the 911 operator to know that Aliayah had been 'sick with the flu.' This combined with the checking on Aliayah and her just "laying back down" with no reference to feeding, changing, etc, makes me question if she had given Aliayah cold medicine to make her sleep so that she, herself, could go back to bed, and she gave her too much. It is known for children to die from benadryl overdose by parents who are using it to induce them to sleep. Saying she was 'sick' could be her justification to have been using it as though it was legitimate, when she knows the only reason she was using it was to avoid having to care for Aliayah.

Jess79 said...

Video of the great aunt, and the community holding a vigil on the one year anniversary of her disapperance.


Jess79 said...

Video of Aliayah's six year old brother releasing a dove @ the vigil.

Weston Community Releases Doves to Remember Aliayah Lunsford
A community united Monday to remember Aliayah Lunsford and to hope for her safe return.

Jess79 said...



Anonymous said...

Wouldnt "had" be the proper use there? what WAS she wearing.. she HAD on this.. if she is gone, the mom has no way of knowing what she is wearing at that point in time, just that she HAD that when she was home?

I would also like to point out that not all sick 3 year olds are loud. My kids are quiet and like to sleep when they are not well.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The question was asked in the past tense--it would be unnatural to reply in the present tense. I would expect the tenses to agree--"What was she wearing?"--"She had on purple pjs" vs. "What is she wearing?"--"She has on purple pjs.". If someone said to me, "What was your son wearing when you dropped him at school this morning?" I would reply something like, "He was wearing jeans and a white t-shirt." It wouldn't mean I thought of him in the past tense or knew he wasn't coming back.

Jazzie said...

Thank you Jess79 for the link.

I pray for justice and peace for little Aliayah. I am comforted to know she is not forgotten.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

No offense intended, but you misread Lena's words. You are interpreting what Lena said instead of listening to her actual words (the premise behind statement analysis). She did not say that Aliayah "had on" anything. She said Aliayah "had a little pair of purple Dora pjs"...past tense of the verb to have-as in to own, something that belongs to a person. Why did Aliayah have the little pair of purple Dora pjs in the past,but not on the day she went missing? Lena does not say Aliayah was wearing the little pair of purple Dora pjs.

Let's pretend for a minute that you go missing on a hiking trip. Do you still have your clothing? Of course, you do. However, if you were dead, you would no longer have (own) your clothing would you? Your physical location does not affect your ownership. Aliayah being missing should not affect the ownership of her pjs either.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Anonymous(at 3:00)
Granted, not all three year olds are noisy when sick. I think you'll agree though that yours are a rather rare exception. A significant portion of infants through preschoolers however, do cry, can be clingy, require extra attention, and can be irritable when experiencing the flu (particularly in the last 1/2 hour before the next medication dose). This child though, was actively throwing up, according to Lena...which is not quiet and tends to upset most children infant through primary age because: it's scary to them; it stinks; and they're wet with it and want to escape it.

If your child is missing, you're going to instinctively answer with what your child last had on, particularly in the case of a three-year old. It's not like Aliayah packed another set of clothes to run away or decided to change clothes before she went missing. Lena should have told the operator "She is wearing __________." or "She had on ___________."

Anonymous said...

911 operator: Ok and you’ve been looking for her for the past hour?

Mom: Yes I’ve looked everywhere

PH: This is alarming.


If the words "I can think she may be" had been added, would the statement analysis change? Or is alarming because she should have only said "yes".

Putting myself in her shoes as you constantly ask us to do, I do not see this statement as irregular nor alarming.

Which rule of SA is being broken here?

Tania Cadogan said...

If she has looked everywere then there is nowhere she hasn't looked which means if Aliayah had been genuinely missing she would have been found.

I have looked everywhere is the same as saying and that's all.
It is an indication of wanting to end the questions/search.
I have looked everywhere and haven't found her so you don't need to look.

It would be different if she had added "i think she may be" it leaves it open that she could be somewhere she didn't think of and thus not searched.

Innocent parents never say they can't think of anything else/that's all/looked everywhere.
They will be constantly wondering if they missed something no matter how trivial or ridiculous.
They will look everywhere regardless of how unlikely their child could be there just in case.
There is no such thing as looked everywhere or i can't think of anything else in the language of an innocent parent.

If they had looked everywhere their child would have been found.
If their child hasn't been found then the missing child is somewhere they haven't looked.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

If the morning my little daughter went missing was upon me and I was asked what she was wearing, I would say:

"She has on her red pajamas..." considering that she was not changed by me and she is alive.

As to a parent looking "everywhere": an innocent parent would never conclude everything has been searched. We say this over missing keys, but not missing children. The very opposite is true: "I've only looked..."

Lena is lying.


Anonymous said...

I just think the question was very specifically asked, "What was she wearing when you put her to bed?" The natural answer is, "(When I put her to bed) she was wearing___." Right now my son is still asleep. If you ask me, "What was he wearing when you put him to bed last night?" I would say, "He was wearing a white t-shirt and black pajama pants." I assume he is still wearing them now, but that was not what you asked me.
I think she's lying too, but I just don't agree that the normal answer to a specifically past tense question would be a present tense answer.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Anonymous, point well taken. reflective language. If Lena was not the mother, it would be classified as only reflective, but given the mother instinct which should be on full alert, I don't expect her to even repeat the words.

Even if asked what she was wearing last night, I think a parental instinct would be the assumption she is still wearing the same thing.

Here, however, Lena had been asked what she had been wearing when she put her back to bed: 6:30AM.

You raise the point of reflective language: good point.

In taking the overall language, including the highly sensitive "because", I still conclude that Lena is deceptive. I don't think, as a parent, if asked about my child whom I just saw at 6:30AM, I could reference her in the past tense. My mind would immediately be upon her, now. I saw her last only a few hours ago and would have no reason to believe she has changed her clothes or pjs.



Statement Analysis Blog said...


I will do some research but I believe that going back to Solomon's appeal to the powerful maternal instinct:

Even in reflective language (repeating back the words of a question), the maternal instinct will not allow for past tense language in a situation like this, where the child would be assumed to be wearing the same clothing; especially given how little time has passed.

We should look to see, for example, if Desiree Young had any 'past tense' questions posed to her. She has provided many good examples for us.


Anonymous said...

I agree. OMG is like saying Oh Shit.