The unknown frightens parents. They always express this.
When our child takes his first steps, we squat behind, ready to pounce, to catch the inevitable fall. As child abuse doctors say, "if he can cruise, he will bruise."
When our goes off to school on the bus for the first time, we cannot see what it is like on the bus, and we fret.
When she is at her first sleep over, we wonder, we worry, and we fret.
The moment we open our mouths, we express this, even when we inevitably squelch it, as a gentle form of self protecting denial.
"How's things today?"
"Oh, everything is fine. Johnny is at a sleep over tonight, and I have errands..."
It comes out, one way or another, because it is on the mind.
When someone goes missing, there is nothing worse than the unknown. The imagination of the loved one will torment with abandon, and this will come out in the language. This is especially true of children, or adults with developmental disabilities where self protection is not indicated.
Does she have her "ba ba"?
Does he have his blankie?
Does he have his meds?
He has his snack every day at 1 o'clock sharp.
When the parent claims the child is kidnapped, it is only natural that we hear, "Are they given her her dolly? Is she warm? Are they yelling at her? Is she crying? " and on and on.
When a parent calls 911 to report the missing child, the unknown is so powerful, that it will break through even the robotic-like questions, even in the smallest of ways.
In an interview?
It is all about the child.
There are more than a few cases here at the Statement Analysis blog where the reader will be confronted by that which is missing, the concern for the missing.
This is because the guilty parent or loved one knows the victim does not need anything.
A single slip into past tense will confirm it.
I cite a CNN analyst who once claimed a parent "believed the child is alive" because the parent spoke in present tense language. This is likely the result of a superficial reading of analysis about past tense, and creating a new reality. It is not so.
The guilty parent will attempt to keep concentration high, and the speed of processing words slow, using pauses such as "um" and "well" in order to avoid this leakage, which is why the interviewer must sense this and 'pick up the pace' of open ended questions, including, "Okay, what next?" rapidly, to cause the person to move into experiential memory.
There is a lengthy list of guilty parents who either did not show any empathy for what the "missing" child was going through, or may have only mustered it by using the interviewer's language. Review some of these cases.
Did Patsy Ramsey, while claiming Jonbent was kidnapped, express concern over what Jonbenet was going through?
How about Justin DiPietro?
Billie Jean Dunn?
Did DeOrr's parents go off on lengthy concerns over what he was going through, or was dad busy praising law enforcement and "ooh and ahhing" over the search and rescue technology?
In unintentional deaths, this can become an important strategy for the investigator.
"My daughter, Sally..." is a complete introduction and can, at the point in the statement, indicate closeness.
More than a few of these deaths were not intended, though arguments can be made that even shaken baby syndrome is no less criminal simply because it was not premeditated, but I refer to cases where the parent's negligence, or temper, caused an unintended death, and the guilty parent feigned kidnapping, such as Baby Lisa and Deborah Bradley.
In a case where a good relationship likely existed (rather than chronic neglect which disqualifies Bradley from this strategy), the investigator should spend a lengthy portion of the interview allowing the parent to extoll her own virtues as a parent, and allow him or her to speak of all the examples of love and care, including provision, being there for the first steps, putting band aids on the first boo-boos, and so on.
Let the parent establish himself or herself in the role of loving, empathetic parent.
Then present the statement and 911 call in which no evidence of such love is ever heard.
This now creates a pressure of imbalance that will require rectification.
"How can a loving, caring parent be utterly void of concern over what the missing child is experiencing?" is the problem with a solution that is hanging in the air.
The answer is right there, in the room, and the uncomfortableness of the incomplete problem gives a psychological pressure to be solved.
It is like walking into a room and without any introduction, say to someone:
"Two plus Two equals?" and you are likely to find a puzzled expression with the answer, "uh, four?"
An incomplete sentence begs for a finish and since it was a technique used in schooling for at least 12 years, it is habitual.
This is to help facilitate the admission and hopefully will come from the subject, but if not, the investigator, at this point, will say so.
"I know that you would have said much more about worrying about him, but you showed us that you knew he had already died. You're too good a parent to not worry. We will now put this together, and give _____ the proper burial he deserves."
When a person goes missing it is expected that the loved one will express concern about what the missing person may be experiencing, as the unknown frightens us all.
Statement Analysis deals with the unexpected in language, not only what one says, but what one does not say.
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