After Kiera Bergman disappeared from their shared residence on Aug. 4, her boyfriend went on television to beg for her safe return.
“Kiera, if you can hear me, please come back,” Jon Christopher Clark, 23, said into the camera five days after the 19-year-old Phoenix woman vanished, reports local TV news station KSAZ.
Note the presupposition that she ran away on her own will. This does not necessary indicate guilt; but belief. This leads to:
Why do you believe that?
In "domestic homicide" we look for one specific element:
The subject's verbalized perception of the communication between them.
This is a good example to learn from.
What do we look for?
Clark said the two had argued the last time he saw her.
“I’m sorry. I know that me not having a job was a really big issue. I did get a job, I start on Monday. Just come back. I’m not going to ask any questions. I’m not going to make assumptions. Just please come back, Kiera.”
"I'm sorry" does not conclude guilt. It does, however, find its way into a guilty subject's language, for whatever reason, under what ever context. We always note it. It is an indicator of possible guilt. Often used politely, an in depth interview of a factually innocent person will often find one who is guilty of something; including impoliteness in general. Highly empathetic social people use it in disruptions, or with failure to hear another. They later confess to feeling guilty for "not listening, not returning his call, ignoring her text..." and so on. Note it always.
"I'm sorry?", Casey Anthony said to the 911 operator, as if, "I did not hear you."
Next, note the Rule of the Negative; what he tells us did not happen, or would not happen:
a. "me not having a job"
b. "I'm not going to ask any questions"
c. "I'm not going to make assumptions."
From these, we must consider ongoing Domestic Violence. Remember, in a D/V relationship, it is not the violence that controls; it is the ongoing threat of violence as the victim stays with the perpetrator.
Here he shows his dominance or authority over her. He is giving himself away by attempting to show how magnanimous he is. It is conditional: if she comes back, he will stop interrogating her. While playing
"the good guy" he is subtly shifting the blame away from self, and in a sense, upon the victim. She could not understand how hard it is to find a job (in a record setting booming economy). She did not have enough patience; if she only waited a bit longer.
In the sense, it is an insult (obtaining a job) as a form of revenge.
We look for humiliation as the trigger to act upon the final violence.
“We believed from the beginning he was involved, but without any information we didn’t want to put him out there as a bad person without knowing some facts,” Bergman’s father, Chris Bragg, told Phoenix TV news station KNXV.
The victim’s mother, Kiersten Bragg, told the outlet: “I was relieved, and in a way, I’m happy. I pray that the situation opens up a lot of especially young women’s eyes to the dangers that are out there and that you think twice before you get involved with certain people.”
Mother's concern is not for daughter (maternal instinct) but for other parents' daughters. Strong human empathy noted.
“I would hate to have to see other parents go through this,” she said. “It’s the worst feeling in the world.”
Clark, who moved from California to the Phoenix area with Bergman, has been in custody since August 17, after a search of his car allegedly turned up forged documents and the personal information of several individuals, which police say were unrelated to Bergman’s case. According to the Phoenix police statement, he is charged with aggravated identity theft and forgery in addition to the charges in Bergman’s death.
Clark’s girlfriend disappeared on his birthday, he said in a video interview posted by the Arizona Republic.
At their residence on that Saturday, “we chilled,” he told reporters days after her disappearance.
A chilling word in context. (Leakage)
Note the focus, even as he attempts to sound like the good guy, turns back to himself; his condition. This is made even more sensitive with his need to explain why she was trying to keep him in good spirits.
“She’s trying to keep me in good spirits ’cause it’s my birthday, butI was kind of sad ’cause we weren’t really doing anything. And then wejust started getting into a little bickering and arguing, and then she got upset and then she left.”
Analysts could look at the above and know what happened by the color their eyes interpret first.
The word "but" tells us: he was in a bad mood.
The word "we" shows unity.
He is is telling the truth. Follow the pronouns. He is working from experiential memory:
She tried to keep him in good spirits produced unity. ("we")
She honored his birthday, which kept them unified ("we")
But once a "little bickering" (minimization) began, it was no longer "we" but "she."
The word "just" is a dependent word. He is telling the truth with his pronouns and with this word. The dependent word "just" is comparing what he just said ("a little bickering") with something else: something so powerful that it destroyed the unity of "we" for him.
"She got upset."
It was her fault in his verbalized perception of reality.
She "left" is to distinctly withhold information right at this point of the argument that escalated. She did not "honor him" enough (doing "nothing") on his birthday and this was all too much. No job, doing "nothing" and his birthday...Note the heavy focus on self is narcissistic like. Note the "magnanimous" posture. Note the Rule of the Negative. Note how he could only say these things if he had previously practiced them. Note the shift of blame.
After he did not hear from Bergman on Sunday and then she did not show up to her job on Monday, he said he was in contact with a friend of hers and urged a missing-person’s report to be filed, he said.
“Since I am her boyfriend, and I was the last one to be with her … her mom mainly just really wants to blame me for everything. I had nothing to do with anything that’s going on. I love Kiera with all my heart. I want her to come home. Please come home, Kiera. I love you.”
He begins with the Hina Clause of explaining "why" someone else blames him.
Then he tells us he was the last one to be with her.
If she ran away, this is knowledge that he would not possess.
If he killed her, he would possess this knowledge. It belies the "come home" message (incongruence) in his statement.
If you wish to study Deception Detection, host a seminar, or have your department (or Human Resources) trained, visit www.hyattanalysis.com