Monday, November 2, 2015

The Disappearance of David Hartley Part One by Peter Hyatt

The Disappearance of David Hartley  Part One
                                                              by Peter Hyatt

On September 30th, 2010, David Hartley and his wife, Tiffany, went to Falcon Lake, Texas, to, according to Tiffany, take a few pictures of the ruins of a sunken church.  This is Part One, where Tiffany appeared on the Nancy Grace Show.

Tiffany said that she and David discussed the risks beforehand, knowing it was a high drug area, with Tiffany going as far to tell us that David even warned her that she could be kidnapped, or held hostage by the Mexican cartels and even killed when they went to get the photo.

All this danger for a photo?

Tiffany continued to tell us what happened.

In her quest to portray him as a good husband, she actually painted him as a cold, uncaring, illogical selfish man, willing to risk his own wife's life for a photo.  His family was strangely quiet over this insult.  It is an insult that, as you will see, came from reliable language:

In analyzing her statement:  David did discuss the risks they faced in their endeavor.

When Tiffany emerged from Falcon Lake, she went to a phone to call 911 and report that her husband had been shot and killed.

She began her call with, "Hello?"

She then went on a media frenzy, stopping off at all the major networks.  Pretty, petite, and now a new widow, she was a ratings bonanza and her story of her last moments with her husband were riveting, though, as some pointed out, somewhat...


Since language cannot come from a vacuum, it must come from somewhere.  Truthful accounts come from experiential memory but deceptive accounts must come from somewhere too; a book, perhaps, or a story from someone else, but in this case, might it have come from...

 a hit Hollywood movie?

Tiffany Hartley's words are now used across the country to teach law enforcement deception detection.

Here are some transcripts from her televised appearances:

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Just released a frantic 911 call from that bizarre shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Officials say gunmen approached on boats and opened fire on the couple. Tiffany managed to dodge the bullets. But David was hit in the back of the head.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: What`s your husband`s name?


UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Ma`am, were you shot at?

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Did you see anybody?
HARTLEY: There were three boats.

This is the initial indication that something is wrong. The question is: Did you (singular) see anybody? In Statement Analysis, when someone does not answer the question, it is flagged as a sensitive question. The expected response would include a singular pronoun, providing ownership, such as "I saw three boats".

Mark McClish has identified "3" as the "liar's number" in his research. There very well may have been 3 boats, but we simply make a notation about the number "3" and continue. This has been discussed previously in analysis; however, we must not miss that Tiffany did not answer the direct question, and when she did, she dropped the pronoun.
1. The question: Did you see anybody? is a sensitive question. "Anybody" refers to humans, not boats.  This suggests "scripting" as an answer. 

2. The missing pronoun means that Tiffany does not take ownership of her answer, which means that we cannot either.

3. That there were 3 boats is now in doubt. She did not say that she saw "anybody", nor did she say that she herself saw 3 boats. We, therefore, cannot say that there were 3 boats. We can only say what we are told. This is why it is vital to listen to what the subject says, and not interpret. She didn't say "I saw 3 boats". We do not say that she saw 3 boats. This is an indication of fabrication. This is only the initial 911 call. Tiffany has yet, to date, gone on various talk shows. We are working from this 911 call. Therefore:

We conclude that identity in this story is a highly sensitive topic to Tiffany Hartley.


It sounded odd to the 911 operator, too.

HARTLEY: Three boats. And they came back looking at me.

Note that initially we have repetition (reflective language) which is not to be considered reliable. "three boats". Next she said that something began: "and they came back looking at me".

"they", grammatically, would refer to "three boats". Note that boats cannot "look".

Note also that they were "looking at me". "Me" is the speaker, Tiffany. 3 boats were looking at Tiffany. Since boats do not look, this is flagged for deception, along with the missing pronoun and the liar's number and the avoidance of the answer. This means that we have 4 indicators of deception already, even as the call had just begun.

Next is a clip from Anderson Cooper show that was played on the Nancy Grace show:

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The Good Samaritan who helped Tiffany Hartley out on the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was frantic, crying, sobbing. I mean, she looked very, very jittery.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The Mexican authorities questioning whether or not it happened the way the victim says it happened here.

Mexican authorities knew it was not truthful and wanted to polygraph her.  The Texas sheriff said, "no polygraph!" This did, however, give Tiffany a chance to say,

"I told the truth."  She knows that they do not believe that David and Tiffany Hartley risked life and limb for a picture of a ruined church building.

HARTLEY: They know the pirates are out there. We knew that. We knew that they -- you know, there`s a possibility of them being there.

Tiffany Hartley responds to the challenge that Mexican officials question whether or not it happened the way she says it happened. Note her answer does not include an affirmation that it happened the way she said it did, rather, she avoids the question (in the form of a challenge) and changes the topic to what Mexican officials know about the area (pirates there) and that she and David knew that pirates were there. Note the order of her knowledge:

They knew.

We knew.

We knew (repetition means further sensitivity)


This shows that Tiffany Hartley first affirmed the knowledge of drug activity, but then quickly sought to remove herself from such knowledge. The repetition and self-weakening show that drug activity is sensitive to Tiffany Hartley.

I believe in my heart that they went back and took him. And they`re hiding our jet ski. They`re hiding him. And we just pray that we get him back. And when you`re looking at the end of a barrel of a gun, and wondering if they`re just going to shoot you, too, and wonder if your families are just going to never know where you are.

When someone is a victim of a crime, the hormonal response is significant.  It is a most frightening thing to have a gun pointed at you.  It is up close and it is personal.  The expected truthful response is first person pronouns.  Second person pronoun usage, "you" is distancing language.  Since being on a jet ski and being shot at is a unique experience that triggers acute fear and is up close and personal, the appropriate response is, "I was looking at the end of a barrel of a gun" and not "you", nor "your families..." and so on.  She does not connect herself to the description as experiential memory would have shown. 

GRACE: That was Tiffany Hartley this morning, just a few hours ago on the NBC "Today" show.

To Will Ripley, reporter with CNN affiliate KRGV, this couple were real adventurers. And to my understanding they set out on jet skis at the reservoir there on the Texas shore to look at a partially submerged, centuries-old church.

And now I understand authorities are questioning her story. I don`t -- I don`t agree. I watched her on the "Today" show, and I believe her.

Nancy Grace believes Tiffany Hartley because she saw Tiffany on the Today Show. Please see analysis of Tiffany Hartley's appearance on The Today Show for details.  

GRACE: You know, and it`s quite a lure. I mean I traveled, I don`t know how far, to try to go dive to see an underwater statue of Christ. So this is a big, big attraction for water lovers and adventure seekers.
And the story she tells is so scary. But I was watching her I really believe she`s telling the truth.
And I resent authorities questioning her story. I know his body has not been found. I know there`s no sign of the jet ski.

That does not disturb me. Looking at her, I believe this woman. We`re going to replay that sound of her speaking earlier today

Notice that Nancy Grace emphasizes the visual of Tiffany Hartley as the basis for her belief. This is vital to understanding the case.

This is what Susan Murphy Milano had been saying: Had Tiffany Hartley been a man, who emerged from Falcon Lake claiming his wife had been shot and killed, he would have been polygraphed immediately.  

His  story would have been questioned and a full scale investigation would have been done.

Susan did not mince words and for the years up to her death, she publicly called upon Tiffany to polygraph.  

To Alexis Weed, tell me her story in a nutshell, Alexis. Don`t embellish. I want to hear what she said.

Nancy did not show much faith in Alexis Weed telling the truth here.  This is something based upon experience and is said on camera.  It is quite an insult.  
ALEXIS WEED, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Nancy, she said that her -- she and her husband David were traveling on their jet skis. It was ambushed by several boats with gunmen. She said that the gunmen opened fire on both of them, that one of the gunshots from these men struck her husband in the head.

She then went over to her husband, jumped off her jet ski, went to check him, flipped him over. He was -- had this gunshot in the back of the head. She decided she better flee because she had a gun pointed at her head, she said. She fled and then went to the shore and went back to the U.S. side.

It would stand to reason to question the story about the cruelty of Mexican Pirates who:

fired without warning

killed for no reason

did not demand money

pointed a gun directly at her...

have a reputation for cruelty that included beheading and delivering the remains...

Since they are known to kill men, women, and children:

                                               Why was Tiffany Hartley spared

To a former prosecutor's mind: why wouldn't Nancy Grace even question this? Why would she have "resentment" towards anyone who did question the story? Nancy Grace, herself, uses the word "story".  Why is this?

GRACE: And this is what else I heard. I heard her say three boats of pirates, drug runners, approach her. That, first of all, she hears bullets. And they`re hitting in the water around her. She turns to see three boats approaching.
Her husband goes down. She goes back, risking her own life to save her husband. She pulls him up. She sees that he`s shot. She pointed right here. And tries to lift him. And the pirates come up to her.

They look down at her, pointed the gun right at her, and they`re talking, she doesn`t know what they`re saying, and they leave. She leaves in a hail of bullets. She said she felt God telling her, you`ve got to go now, you`ve got to go now, you`ve got to go now, and she did.

"a hail of bullets"

but not a single hit on her or her jet ski. Yet, the former prosecutor does not raise a doubt.  They scored a perfect head shot of David, while speeding on a jet ski, but in a spray or hail of bullets, not a single one even grazed the heroine of the story's jet ski.  This description is also from Susan.  

Take a listen to Tiffany Hartley who survived an alleged pirate attack. Her husband shot in the head. Take a listen.


HARTLEY: When I looked back -- after I had seen some bullets hit the water next to me, I looked back to check on David, and I saw him fly over the jet ski. He had been hit.

Note: chronological order is always viewed in Statement Analysis. A person recalling from memory does so in order. If something is out of chronological order, it is flagged for deception.

1. I looked back First person singular, past tense. Reliable.

2. "after I had seen some bullets hit the water next to me"

3. He had been hit

4. He flew off the jet ski

she is out of chronological order.

I quickly turned around

The story now has editorializing rather than a simple account. She didn't just turn around, she did so "quickly", which is not necessary.  No one thought she stopped to have a cigarette first, pausing, and then looking back.  It is in these small additional and unnecessary words that we find the need to persuade that is evidenced here. 

and went to him and jumped off my jet ski.

"and went to him" is added by Tiffany. Where else might she have gone? This is unnecessary and makes her account sound more like a dramatized story. 

She went to him first, and jumped off her jet ski second.  Order of language that comes from experiential memory is chronological. 

When Casey Anthony's car reeked with the rotting corpse of her daughter, she said,

"Dead squirrels climbed up into the engine."
And I had to turn him over because he was face down in the water. And turned him over and he was shot in the head.

We note that whenever an account has "so, since, therefore, because" it is to be noted as sensitive since the subject is no longer simply telling us what happened, but "why" something happened. This indicates sensitivity as the subject feels the need to explain actions.

Note that "turn him over" is repeated, which is sensitive. Why it is sensitive, at this point, we do not know, but when a subject repeats a word like this, a skillful interviewer will hear the repetition and focus questions upon it.

And that`s when a boat came up, one of the boats came up to me, and had a gun pointed at me, trying to decide what to do with me. And then they left. And that`s when I tried saving David and getting him onto my jet ski.

Note that "a boat" came up, one of "the" boats (previously identified). This is unnecessary. We would not expect that "a" boat was not one of the 3 she mentioned. It is unlikely that there were 3 boats; only one. But here we have a strong indicator of deception:
"trying to decide what to do with me"

When a subject tells us what another was thinking, it is deception.

trying to decide what to do" is found within her sentence and it is likely truthful. This is an indication that the subject(s) on the boat and Tiffany Hartley did communicate. This is why she is expressing the other subject(s) thoughts.

The word "left" here puts the author's brain at the point of their departure.  This is what she is thinking of.  It is an indication of withheld information.  Specifically, right here, she is withholding information.  
But I just -- I couldn`t get him up. And I just kept hearing God tell me, you have to go, you have to go. So I had to leave him. So I could get to safety.

Note Divinity in Statement Analysis.  

This raises the likelihood of deception, as well as introduces “justification” or the easing of a conscience.

Statistically, the need to call upon Divinity in a statement indicates deception.  This also later led to people of faith being in strong empathy with Tiffany. 

“When me and my sister say ‘swear to God’ we cannot lie to each other!”

Here, she stated that she "just kept hearing" (note tense) "God" "tell her" that she had to go. Note that she does not say why God did not warn them not to go jet ski in a place where she knew drug cartel pirates were, nor does she say why God didn't tell her a few minutes earlier so that David could be spared. She has now claimed Divine intervention for herself; but not for her husband.

Next she has the need to defend David.  This is where liars lose track of their stories and with each appearance on a different network, the inevitable clash took place:  

He would never, ever put me in a position of danger. And we hadn`t heard anything of -- anything going on over there. We had heard about the pirates, but we didn`t know -- you know, we just hadn`t heard anything recently.

When a subject tells us what didn't happen, what wasn't said, what wasn't seen, or what wasn't thought, it is called a 'negation' and it is an offering of critical information that is highly sensitive to the subject. Here Tiffany, although not challenged, anticipates that she has said that they "knew" this was a drug area, and that people would naturally ask why David would expose her to such danger. Note now the sensitivity above and why she went from "they knew", "we knew" to the reduced "possibility" of being in harm's way.

1. He would never,
ever put me in a position of danger

The word "never" is not to be accepted as a substitute for the word "no" and is, in fact, a weak denial. According to Tiffany, David Hartley did, in deed, put her in a position of danger, just to get a snap shot of a church. Tiffany knows that her story, as told, accuses David of this, therefore, she addresses it in the form of the highly sensitive negation.

This statement may suggest that drug involvement was part of September 30th.


Pat Brown's theory is that they went to buy drugs, likely a wholesale purchase, in order to sell them on the street at a tremendous mark up. She believes that they were shot at on land, not on a jet ski, and that David, hit, told her to run. She ran, got on her jet ski and took off, leaving him behind to die. That Tiffany Hartley offers to us that David would "never ever" put her in harm's way tells us that David either put her in harm's way, or had done something in the past to make her feel frightened; in some kind of "danger". This may be an indication of drug involvement, or it may be an indication of domestic violence. (Recall that she spoke of his size; meaning that his large size next to her small size is in her mind as she told her story. This may be in her mind if she felt intimidated by him. Research into his background, especially close friends or ex girlfriends, could confirm or deny this possibility.)

Tiffany later, in attempting to make David's image improve, told news broadcasters that David had discussed with her the dangers, including of being kidnapped.  This is a truthful statement.  They did discuss the risk, but it was not over a photo.  
Tiffany told us, via negation, that David put her in danger. (we also know this from her story: she reported that they even spoke of the possibility of being kidnapped before they went.

How many husbands do you know would go into an area of such immense danger as to show the need for kidnap preparedness, with their wives?

And we hadn`t heard anything of -- anything going on over there. We had heard about the pirates, but we didn`t know -- you know, we just hadn`t heard anything recently

First: we hadn't heard anything;
Next: "anything" is repeated; sensitivity

Then: hadn't heard anything "recently" qualifying her answer.

This is what deception looks like and this is "Deception Detection 101"

GRACE: Hearing that woman, there is no doubt in my mind that this is what went down. You were just seeing her speaking a few hours ago on the NBC "Today" show.

This speaks for itself.

Out to the lines, Latoya, South Carolina, hello, Latoya.
LATOYA, CALLER FROM SOUTH CAROLINA: Hey, Nancy. I just want to let you know, I love your show, I watch it every night.

GRACE: Thank you, dear.

My -- my question is, just to clear this all up, because I believe her, too. But has she taken a polygraph test?

GRACE: I don`t know. Let`s go to Lieutenant (INAUDIBLE) Garza with the Zapata County Sheriff`s Office.

Lieutenant, thank you for being with us. I doubt she`s in any frame of mind right now to take a polygraph.

This is a statement of prejudice. It would be of interest to ask Nancy Grace how many males who had just "lost" their wives or girlfriends, were not "in any frame of mind" to take a polygraph.

In a murder investigation, what frame of mind should exist to take a polygraph?

Nancy Grace: Was Marc Klass in any frame of mind to take a polygraph when his daughter went missing?  John Walsh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, ma`am. One hasn`t been provided to her, or offered at this time.

"provided" to her is soft language.  Would this be the language if a man had been suspected?

GRACE: Well, I`ve got to tell you something, Lt. Garza, I really believe her. And the fact that the body has not been discovered yet, and that the jet ski has not been discovered, that doesn`t concern me at all.

Can`t you look at this lady and tell she`s telling the truth

What do you make of this sentence?

This is what
Susan Murphy Milano had been saying on broadcasts repeatedly:

The media would not treat Tiffany Hartley this way had she been a man and the victim a woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I was here actually when Miss Hartley came into the office. And we also had a witness out there corroborating Mrs. Hartley`s event of a boat chasing her into the U.S. side of the lake.
GRACE: Let me go to Dr. Leslie Austin, psychotherapist joining us out of New York.

Leslie -- Dr. Leslie, you can size somebody up in a heartbeat. What do you think?

A trained psychotherapist will know that what Nancy Grace claims is not only impossible but irresponsible. Sociopaths, addicts, and so many others are able to fool professionals with impunity. Dr. Leslie is faced with a dilemma: does she speak truthfully and cause Nancy Grace to become angry, dismissive, and possibly insulting? (this could lead to no further invitations back to the show). Or, does she agree with Nancy, in the face of both science and common sense?

DR. LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I find her totally credible. I absolutely believe her. I just wonder why they started shooting first rather than trying to capture them and rob them. But I find her completely credible.

Note the weakness in the assertion by the additional words she calls upon:

totally" credible"absolutely" believe her
This weakness in assertion is seen with two additional words and then the weakness leaks out with the following statement in which she "wonders" why they would shoot first and not rob. This belies her agreement with Nancy Grace as she shows the incredulous nature of the story.

It may be a good way to get another invitation back on the show, but it does not speak to her ability to discern or even listen.  She showed the illogical sense of not robbing her, but stopped there in order to agree with Nancy. 

GRACE: Well, they`re drug runners. Why ask why? Why do they act like animals? I don`t know. Why do they kill people? I don`t know. Do I need an excuse? Maybe they only wanted the jet ski.

AUSTIN: No. But there was a history of people being robbed there. I mean it`s just something that I wondered about.

GRACE: So what are you --

AUSTIN: But she is absolutely credible.
GRACE: -- trying to say, because she`s not robbed, she`s lying?

AUSTIN: No, no, no. I find her completely credible. I just don`t understand the scenario yet. But she is totally believable. There is no way this woman is lying.

Nancy Grace attempts to humiliate those who disagree with her. Note the sacrifice of dignity by many who repeatedly go on her show for the publicity.

GRACE: Unleash the lawyers, Ken Hodges, Raymond Giudice, Richard Herman.

Weigh in, Herman.

RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, her story sounds ridiculous to me. Why would they aim a gun at her and not shoot her and not take her jet ski? Pirates just don`t come up to people and shoot them for fun of shooting people. I don`t know what went on here. It`s tragic. This man apparently is dead. But the story sounds absolutely ridiculous.

Note that the first description by Richard Herman is that her story sounds "ridiculous". This is how far apart two views are:

Herman says her "story" sounds "ridiculous" but Grace says "she" is credible.

The difference?

Richard Herman is addressing the story;

Nancy Grace is addressing the woman.

Refer to Susan Murphy Milano. What is ridiculous to one is "absolutely" credible to another because the other "looked" at Tiffany Harltely.

Is this because Hartley is a woman?

Tiffany presented petite and pretty, with a soft voice.  
GRACE: No, no. Because I have prosecuted cases where victims were murdered, were gunned down just for the hell of it.

What about it, Giudice?

HERMAN: Why didn`t they shoot her?

GRACE: I don`t know.


GRACE: I don`t know. I don`t know why they didn`t shoot her. I only thank God in Heaven. They didn`t.

What about it, Raymond?

GIUDICE: My two concerns are. Every picture I see in him --

GRACE: Your concerns?

GIUDICE: He`s wearing a floatation device, a life jacket. Secondly, those jet skis are designed to float. There is no reason that that body and that jet ski in a lake, not out in the ocean, have not been found yet.

Ray Giudice is not focused upon Hartley, the woman, but upon the forensics of her story. This, along with Richard Herman's view, are in stark contrast to Nancy Grace's view of looking at the person of the story, rather than the story and its details.

GRACE: Ken Hodges, what do you make of it?
KEN HODGES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think the most compelling thing to support what you say is that an independent witness observed it and corroborated what she said. It needs to have a full investigation and hopefully it will reveal what you`ve said that she was a victim of a horrible crime.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. So you more or less know where he is?HARTLEY: Yes, but he`s -- he`s --


UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. What`s your name?
HARTLEY: Tiffany Hartley.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Are you sure that your husband got shot?HARTLEY: Yes, in his head.

Note that the 911 Dispatcher appears to have questioned the veracity of the caller.


GRACE: We are taking your calls, out to Cheryl in Georgia, hi, Cheryl.

CHERYL, CALLER FROM GEORGIA: Hey, Nancy. How are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?

CHERYL: I have a couple of questions. If I was going to go on a jet ski vacation I wouldn`t like go near borders of, you know, where they were, where it was dangerous. And also, if boats were coming towards them, why didn`t they shoot at her? Is there a life insurance policy on her husband?

GRACE: To Will Ripley, reporter with KRGV. Will, it`s my understanding from what she says it all happened so fast they just came up and started shooting, which that`s the way drug runners do. What about the rest of the questions?

Nancy Grace appears to know the MO of drug runners; how they shoot and operate

RIPLEY: Well, one thing you need to remember about this couple is that they lived in Reynosa, Mexico for two and a half years before moving back to the Texas side of the border and they`ve only lived here in McAllen for the past five months.

So these are people who are familiar with Mexico and also Falcon Lake is not very clearly marked. I mean, because there is no, you know, physical basically boundary line you can cross into Mexico and if you happen to miss the buoy you may not even know you`re in Mexico.

And this lake is -- this reservoir is a drug runner`s paradise. We have smuggling going on so much because there`s really not enough law enforcement out there.

GRACE: Well, you know, Will Ripley, something you said is absolutely correct. The only way you can tell you`re going over the water border are there are some buoys and they are very far apart. You don`t know that you`re crossing the border.

Note that the question of the life insurance policy was not answered by the respondent, nor was it addressed by Nancy Grace.

Update:  Investigators said that they could not find any connection between David and Tiffany Hartley and the Mexican drug cartels and she did not take a polygraph.  A year later, she was re-interviewed by the news (who claimed that they were contacted by Tiffany) and she spoke about her apartment in Mexico and said that she had rented her apartment from someone in the drug cartel.  Oops. 


Anonymous said...

"and wonder if your families are just going to never know where you are."

How did she know so early on that families would never know where David was? And she says "where you are" instead of "what happened to you".

Anonymous said...

"When Tiffany emerged from Falcon Lake, she went to a phone to call 911 and report that her husband had been shot and killed.

She began her call with, "Hello?""

Something is not right about this statement. Has "her" 911 call been analyzed?

Lis said...

OT Peter, I think I am getting what you have explained about sensory descriptions in victims' accounts. I read a horrifying account that I actually wish was not true but I think that it is. This is an account of an incident that happened at a so-called Christian home for troubled girls. The site it is posted on has several accounts written by different survivors.

Story of Baby S. as witnessed by Susan Grotte 15

Sundays at Hephzibah house were dominated by Church.

I sat in a metal folding chair trying not to squirm since I had no fat left to cushion the hard seat beneath me. I was in the last of 5 rows of 6 girls interspersed with 4 staff ladies. The Hephzibah girls and Hephzibah staff, along with their children made up the entire congregation in the little unfinished basement room. Behind me I heard the familiar sounds of little baby S nursing away during the service. It felt good to know that sweet Mrs. K. was behind me. She would not be quick to find fault in my posture or how my hair was curled. The rhythmic sounds of a suckling baby were soothing and normal sounds in this surreal world.

Back straight, eyes forward. I tried to pay attention to the long winded sermon and take good notes. Notes were turned in after every service and checked to make sure we paid attention to the service and were not daydreaming. If staff did not like your notes it was a paddling offense. Ron Williams had a theory that young people who were not engaged in busy work were lusting and enjoying lascivious fantasies.

My feet were cold and my back ached but otherwise the sermon was a nice reprieve from the normal stress of daily life at Hephzibah house.

Ron Williams deep voice filled the small room. He dwarfed the tiny podium.

Patti Williams sat on the left side of the room with all eight children in a row. There was always a well worn paddle laying on the seat beside her. It was not unusual to see her paddle her children for wiggling or making noise during the long sermons. The youngest was Seth, perhaps two years old and the darling irrepressible Benjamin was just four years old. I do not recall a service where that poor little boy did not get a severe beating. I was amazed how undaunted and happy he remained. Seth seemed dull. He just sat and sucked his fingers. He showed no signs of normal 2 year old curiosity and wonder. Maybe that is what a successfully broken will would looked like in a two year old. I found it profoundly disturbing.

Suddenly there was movement. I sensed rather than saw Mrs. K. stand up behind me. I dared not turn my head but up front Mrs Williams also hefted her wide girth out of her metal chair. It creaked loudly in protest. At just 40, Patti Williams was fat, slovenly and mean as a snake. Her grey hair in a stringy bun she stood looking back behind me towards the Mrs. K. and baby S. She had picked up the small paddle. A hard, tight smile crossed her humorless face. Mrs. K. had now made her way into my line of vision.

Mrs. K. was clearly upset as she carried her tiny baby towards the front of the chapel.

Ron Williams just droned on.

My stomach clenched. What was this???

Patti guided Mrs. K. into a small walled off area at the front of the room. The area was meant to be a closet one day. Now it had no door and served to store extra folding chairs. The two women entered the narrow room I had a partial view of the inside of the room but could no longer see Mrs. K. and the baby past Patti’s wide back.

Ron Williams kept preaching.

“NO! Oh NO!”

I was frozen. Staring straight ahead and gripping my pencil in horror.


The baby SCREAMED.

Lis said...

(OT continued)

We heard every powerful, stinging blow of the paddle hitting that tiny baby. It went on and on, every time there was a pause and I thought it was over it started up again.

Ron Williams actually stopped preaching. Grinning from ear to ear he made a fist and moved it enthusiastically across his body like a diabolical cheerleader, “Hit him again Sister! Hit him again!”

No one moved. No one DID anything. The babies cries were becoming strangled as he choked and he seemed to gasp dangerously between blows.

“Go get that baby Susan!” The voice in my head was screaming, “DO SOMETHING!”

I stared straight ahead as Ron Williams resumed his droning sermon. I thought of twenty scenarios where I saved that baby, but I sat glued to my seat. My blood ran cold.

The crying stopped before the blows stopped. Soon Mrs. K. stepped out from behind the wall she was sobbing and clinging to her baby Patti was right behind her with a huge self satisfied smile on her corpulent face, now red from exertion.

The baby was quiet. A spooky unnatural quiet. I watched the little bundle for signs of life intently until I saw his little chest heave showing he was indeed breathing.

How hard would you have to hit a baby to make him stop crying? Why would we all just sit there and let it happen?

I realized I had not taken any notes for several minutes. Somehow, knowing I would be paddled for that offense gave me a bizarre moment of satisfaction . A form of penance for my cowardice.

Everyone took their places.

Ron Williams droned on.

~ By Susan Grotte

Tania Cadogan said...

What is worth noting about tiffany is that over the last few years since David was murdered, there have been no appeals for witnesses, no please to keep an eye out for bodily remains even an item of clothing.
Where are the demands for investigations?
Where are the announcements of rewards for any tips or information?

Where is the expected language and behavior of an innocent wife calling for her husband to be returned to her for a dignified burial?

Where is the expected language and behavior of an innocent wife calling out for justice for her husband?

Where is the expected language and behavior of an innocent wife calling out to the killers to say where his remains are?

I am looking for the expected language, the words, the desperation, the behavior, the searching, and all i hear is the unexpected silence, all i see is unexpected distancing, the unexpected non searching, the unexpected erasure of David from her life.

I look for the expected and see only the unexpected

Anon @ 4:29 said...

"she went to a phone to call 911 and report that..."

Ah, I see now! I wondered why it read "went to a phone to..." which would be obvious. Why not just state "she called 911 and reported..."?

Because she didn't! Someone else made the call and began the reporting of the emergency and she got on the call when the operator asked to talk to her. So "she called 911" would not be truthful.

So, setting aside why the statement implied she called 911 when SHE didn't, why the summary didn't include that someone else placed the call, what about the "hello" part of it?

"She began her call with 'Hello'?"

So, THE call didn't begin with "Hello?" But her part of it did.

I get that when a 911 operator says "911- what's your emergency?" OR "What's the address..." that to interrupt the flow of information with a greeting is to make friendly when the priority should be getting information about the emergency. But the greeting in the Sapir research comes after the operator's question.

Here, the operator asks the guy to talk to Tiffany, he presumably hands her the phone. Then she says "hello?"(note the question mark which is not present in previous "greeting" examples.) Here, her "hello?"is to let the operator know she is on the line. She has not been asked a question by the operator. This does not fit the same pattern we've been shown: a person who is stalling or making nice with authorities. It's more akin to when someone picks up the ringing phone to say "Yes, I'm here."

Before peeps get all worked up- I'm not saying she's truthful. I'm questioning 1. Why the summary of the 911 call implies she called and leaves out info about the guy who actually placed the call, and 2. As part of the omission above why this "hello?" is treated the same as all the others when it's different from the others in at least two ways.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Part 1 of 2
Having read a lot here previously about the Hartley case, I'm always excited when Peter posts an update on this case. In discussing some of his comments, I realized something I never considered. I'm sorry if this is a little graphic.

Tiffany's story is that she went back and jumped off her jet that means she's in the water. Is the lake knee to shoulder deep, is she wearing a life vest, or is she treading water? Well, the lake can't be knee to shoulder deep with cartel speed boats. So, we're left with life vest or treading water. She can't be treading water and trying to move David at the same time. So, that leaves wearing a life vest.

I'm picturing tiny Tiffany Hartley, in her life vest, pulling a dead, lifeless (therefore no muscle control) big, hulking David to flip him over. If he had on a life vest, his chest region would have floated, but his legs would have been down (no muscle control),making it even more difficult to turn him. How could Tiffany, floating in her life vest, have "flipped" David over? First of all, he significantly outweighs her. Second of all, she's floating, therefore bobbing. Thirdly, he's literally dead weight and bobbing also.
**NOTE: This is when she also says he was face down, but when she flips him over she mentions he's shot in the back of the head. It's out of order. She should have seen that with him face down, not face up.

She follows that with "But I just-I couldn't get him up." She would have had to have held her jet ski because it would have been bobbing like crazy with her trying to heave him onto it. Not to be graphic here, but her vest, her suit, and her jet ski should have all three been bloody with the effort. At this point in her story, she's very skimpy on details where there should have been a lot of sensory description.

So, "they" shot David and "they" did what when she turned around on her jet ski and went back? Notice the hail of bullets stopped when she turned around? Notice she did not mention being fired upon at all as she went back to David? From her account, the boats "came up" then-no engine noise, no shooting, no shouting. If they were chasing her and shooting at her in a "hail of bullets" when she was going away from them, why weren't they shooting at her when she was coming towards them? Did they suddenly run out of ammunition? ;) Were they afraid they would miss her again (even though they had no trouble shooting her moving husband in the head, while they were in pursuit)? ;)

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Part 2 of 2

So, "they" shot her husband in the head, fired a hail of bullets at her departing jet ski, allowed her to safely turn around and attempt to rescue/retrieve their murder victim, stood around on their boat discussing something, and allowed her to safely remount her jest ski, and then they fired on her as they chased her, but she outran them. That's Tiffany's story. Is it even logical, much less believable?

We all know those drug cartel members are known for being: bad shots;indecisive;slow to respond; and letting their victims get away. Not. There's no way they would have missed Tiffany (3 boats full of armed pirated firing at her as they chased her jet ski), given her a safe pass to ride back to David, given her time unchallenged to "try" to get David up, debated what to do within inches of her, only to fire upon her minutes later as she fled, and still missed her Unmodified jet skis can go 45-70 mph; most speed boats can go 60-75 mph. What are the odds, Tiffany Hartley renting jet skis for the day can twice outrun 3 drug cartel boats that are firing at her?

It's interesting that Tiffany said God was speaking to her, "Telling her to go now...". What's missing? That she never called on God in the midst of this supposedly horrific event. It's far more believable and expected that even hardened criminals call out God's name when someone is murdered right in front of them. I would expect a wife to hysterically call out to God. One may unconsciously recoil in horror (a panicked, hysterical Jackie Kennedy tried to climb out of the backseat in the Dallas motorcade when JFK was shot). Sometimes people even involuntarily vomit (gunshot wounds to the back of the head are graphic and not something most people are accustomed to seeing, much less to one's spouse).

Too many holes in her story for it to float,as the Mexican authorities knew immediately. They've been fighting drug cartels for years and know their enemy well...and it wasn't what Tiffany described.

John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update:

S.J. toddler's toxicology report comes back clean, father's lawyer says

An attorney for the boy's father says the case remains a 'real mystery'

The toxicology report for Brendan Creato, the toddler found dead in Haddon Township last month, has come back negative.

Richard J. Fuschino, the lawyer representing the boy's father, David "DJ" Creato, said the Camden County Prosecutor's Office has informed him that results of the toxicology report have come back negative, but that the autopsy was still officially pending.

Andy McNeil, public information officer for the prosecutor's office, would not confirm or deny the toxicology report's findings to PhillyVoice.

"We are continuing to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the death of three-year-old Brendan Creato," McNeil said in an email. "We have no further comment at this time. We will contact reporters when we have more information to share."

Fuschino simply said the toxicology report supports what police initially told him – that DJ Creato is not a suspect in the toddler's death.

"Unfortunately, it gets us no closer to an answer to what happened here," Fuschino said. "However, for all of those people on social media talking about how he is a suspect ... I think this just goes to show what a real mystery there is here."

A police dog discovered Creato's lifeless body around 9 a.m. on Oct. 13 in a strip of woods flanking South Park Drive, near a sharp elbow bend in the road.

Brendan and his 22-year-old father lived in an apartment a half-mile away, at the corner of Cooper and Virginia streets. DJ Creato and Samantha Denoto, the toddler's mother, shared custody of Brendan, but he was in his father's custody when he disappeared.

DJ Creato has told authorities that the boy was last seen around 10 p.m. on Oct. 12. Brendan was reported missing from their second-floor, double-locked apartment when DJ awoke the next day before 6 a.m.

DJ Creato has said he immediately called his mother, Lisa, who lives about two blocks away on Virginia Street. He has said he next called Haddon Township police to report Brendan as missing.

Authorities have released limited details regarding their investigation, saying the toddler was not physically molested and there was no signs of forced entry at the apartment.

Township police spent at least three days last week in the woods where the body was found, and canvassed the homes in the adjoining neighborhood.

Both a man and a woman have reported seeing an older white man wheeling a baby carriage toward Cooper River Park around 7 a.m. on Oct. 13. The man, Mark Hoover, told PhillyVoice that the man pushing the carriage wore a yellow sweater, tan pants and eyeglasses. He said the man appeared to at least be 60.

Hoover said he could not see into the carriage because it was covered with a blanket. The temperature that morning was in the low 50s. He said the man appeared to try to stare him down after he met his gaze.

Fuschino previously told PhillyVoice that he had not heard of the baby stroller in the area before being contacted by a reporter. He was unaware of any stroller missing from his client's apartment or the Creato's home.

The prosecutor's office has declined to comment on the stroller sightings.

John Mc Gowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Mc Gowan said...


The #3 raises it's head once more.

New Jersey Pastor Lies About Being Attacked, Bound at Church: Prosecutors

A New Jersey pastor lied when he said three people attacked him inside his church and tied him up, prosecutors say.

Read More:

Anonymous said...

I remember when this happened. I was reading a lot of info here. My question then was: Why didn't an investigator or forensic specialist go over HER jetski with a fine tooth comb? If she was so close to him, and he's been shot in the head, then bloody water would have cycled through the engine.

My question now is: Why was Nancy Grace so quick to believe her? Simply because of her looks? NG was a prosecutor. She certainly must know that you can't tell guilt or innocence about a person based on their looks. I think I just answered my own question. Ratings. Having Tiff come back on the show. Ratings.

Anonymous said...

a floating lifeless body would be a breeze to flip over in water over your head

Statement Analysis Blog said...

I think she was so small and cute that they immediately fell for it. Anonymous made me chuckle above.

I think Sheriff Ziggy, however, used narrative to trump truth.

A Mexican American, he immigrated lawfully and wanted lawful immigration only and used the story for his agenda.

Susan was right: if this was David on the beach and Tiffany dead, the polygraph would have been requested immediately.


Unknown said...

I find it understandable, though deplorable that experts will say "I believe she is credible!!!" While on a highly viewed show such as Nancy Grace. If they are correct, they can say "Heh, noone believed her, but I did." And if they are wrong, will simply look like a humanitarian. A soft heart as it were. Whereas the ones who are incredulous, if found to be wrong, are labled as witch hunters, and if correct are simply not spoken of. I wonder how their careers have been boosted, the experts that played to the media rather than be loyal to their trade.

Anonymous said...

Quoting article:
"Fuschino simply said the toxicology report supports what police initially told him – that DJ Creato is not a suspect in the toddler's death."

Have the police told him something after the "initial" conversation? Have the police said they consider him a person of interest, or officially ruled him out?

Simply, indeed..,

trustmeigetit said...

Peter said "this could lead to no further invitations back to the show"

That is just it.

I follow Pat Brown the criminal profiler. And she has stopped getting calls from many shows because she speaks the truth and not what they want her to speak.

Nancy Grave only speaks against those that the public thinks is guilty.

And like many, has spoke in support of the McCanns because like many, I think fears lawsuits and not because she thinks they are innocent.

Media has become a joke. It's no longer about truth but ratings.

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