Here is the article that introduced Statement Analysis readers to the case of 33 year old Leanne Bearden.
I have kept it the same, but have added, in blue, updated commentary on the analysis.
Family members said the 33-year-old went missing after she left a relative’s house to go for a walk.
The report says that police do not suspect foul play. They called off the search for her.
This is our first indication that the family told police she was despondent and likely suicidal. Searches are called off for things like critical weather conditions or extended time periods.
This now sounds like condolences, in hindsight.
The following is her husband, Josh Bearden's statements. The video is broken up, which makes it difficult to analyze since we do not know what questions were posed to him.
"Uh she said that she was going to go for a walk and then I said how long are you going to be gone
and then she said about an hour then I said ok Babe take your time. Thats the last that thing I said to her."
We note the inclusion of the term of endearment, "Babe." We find this in statements where one may feel the need to portray oneself as loving; not a good sign. Here, however, he appears to be quoting himself. Nonetheless, we take note of it just the same. A term of endearment within a statement is often viewed as a negative and problematic because it shows the subject's need to portray himself in the positive, the necessity of such being a red flag.
Note that it is the last thing he "said" to her. Was it the last he saw of her? Would it be more expected to hear, "That's the last I saw her"?
He only reports that this was the last thing he said to her, but not the last that he saw her.
The analysis focused on "Babe" which, in Statement Analysis, is flagged as all terms of endearment. Why do we flags terms of endearment?
They are often indicators that there is something wrong in the relationship.
I use them all the time.
The difference is that in a public statement, especially given the circumstances, Josh Bearden shows two things:
1. The need to portray the relationship in a favorable way
2. Avoidance of the pronoun "I" indicating guilt of some form.
If Leanne did, in fact, commit suicide, guilt is expected. It is likely that he, and family, convinced police that this was not a domestic homicide, and that she was despondent, deeply, and that this was her wish to do so.
Texas Equasearch, and other search organizations would also be aware of the situation: they often cannot afford to search for someone who does not want to be found. This is likely how it was portrayed to police.
"I have no idea what happened "
It is very difficult to believe anyone who says that they have no idea, since we all have plenty of ideas about everything in life. In fact, Josh Bearden goes on to give an idea claiming that there are lots of places not covered.
Mark McClish uses the exploration of the moon to highlight this saying that he is not a rocket scientist and doesn't know how to get to the moon but has an idea that a rocket will be needed. It's a humorous way to point out that it is difficult to believe someone who says this. Sometimes it is just a lazy mind that needs prompts, but in a missing person's case, we do not expect to encounter a lazy mind from the husband, but one of a very highly in tune mind, seeking answers.
In Analytical Interviewing, we remind the interviewer not to accept "I have no idea" as a "stop sign" for the flow of information. Prompt the subject.
"I have no idea" is not truthful. He could have said that he wanted to keep his views private, but "I have no idea" only prompts more questions. Next, look at the pronoun change:
We have no clues but theres still a lot of area
that needs to be covered and that I feel Leanne could have walked.
Note the video breaks.
I would like to know what caused him to change his pronoun to "we" at this point.
Note next that he does have an idea: that there are places she could have walked to. This makes his statement of having "no idea" not truthful.
The change to "we" is distancing language. This is often done when someone wishes to spread around guilt or responsibility, and another indicator that he and Leanne had some pretty difficult words in the moments before she left.
That he had suicide on his mind is found in the strange wording here: The second that I lose my hope Leanne is gone .
Why is Leanne's life tied to his hope? Since others are searching and the family is fund raising to hire a private investigator, how is it that "Leanne is gone" at that "second"?
This is very strange, but in light of suicide, she was only alive, that is "hope", in his mind. He likely feared suicide.
and my biggest fear is that I’ll lose my hope.
The Expected versus the Unexpected.
We put ourselves in the shoes of the subject and presume innocence. We ask,
"What would I say? What would you say?"
In this place, my biggest fear would be that my wife was dead, injured by injury or by foul play.
It would be my biggest fear: something terrible happened to her.
He did not express fear that most of us would have.
Would your biggest fear be that your wife has been killed, or died in an accident, or that you would lose hope?
I will never, ever going to stop looking for you. Ever.
Another strong indicator that he knew how serious she was about suicide and tells us a possible reason for guilt: he was unable or unwilling to stop her. How do we know this? Simply because he did not stop her.
All families of suicide victims go through this guilt. "What could have been done? What could have been said? What should I have done?", and so on. There is an element of fatalism in this statement, which tells us that he did not hope.
Why did he have no hope of success? In this case, it may prove to be that he knew she was serious about suicide. People will know that suicidal ideation is real if there are attempts. Attempts often increase in intensity over time, as the person 'tests the waters', even in a cry for help, while still uncertain if they wish to live.
IF this was a suicide, it is clear that her husband knew, and police felt comfortable ending the search early.
Yet why the nonsense with the sightings? Why not come out with it which would have meant a concentrated search? What about dogs? Search and rescue dogs would have found her very quickly.
Everything about this case is strange, which will lead some to believe homicide.
Similar to a statement made by OJ Simpson about looking for his wife's killer, saying he would never stop searching for the "real" killer.
Note that his search will never end, showing no hope for success. He does not tell her that he will search for her until she is found, but that he will "never, ever" and "ever" stop looking.
What has caused him to have no hope for success? She has been missing for 8 days at the time of this statement.
Has the passage of time caused this?
Have police told him something privately that has led him to believe she will never be found?
is this similar to Josh Powell in searching for Susan?
Stay tuned as we need more statement.