Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Nathan Carman: Missing Mother

Analysis contributions:  Detectives, Carder Gravitt, Steve Johnson,  Randy Long; Rachel Decker, Statement Analyst I.  

Hyatt Analysis Services
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Old Town, ME 04468
Phone:  (207) 951-5694

Nathan Carman was found by the US Coast Guard after one week at sea.  His mother was not found.  

Question for Analysis:

Does Nathan Carman truthfully report what happened?

Subject:  Nathan Carman is reported to have Asperbergers.  In language, this is similar to adult autism and will impact language, particularly in view of emotions.  A lack of emotional language should be considered acceptable.  Analysis looks for possible deception via withheld information.

I.               Transcripts
II.             Transcripts with Analysis
III.           Conclusion

I.               Transcripts 

NC:  Hello, this is Nathan Carman. 
CG:  Nathan, this is United States Coast Guard Boston

NC:  Hello” (pause due to echo)  yes I hear you

CG:  Uh, yes sir, I, I need to understand uh, what happened.  Over.”

NC:  Mom and I, two people, myself and my mom, were fishing at Block Canyon.  And there was a funny noise in the engine compartment, I looked and saw a lot of water. I was bringing  the line had my mom bring in the reel I brought up the safety stuff forward and I was bringing one of the safety bags forward the boat’s (or just)  dropped out from under my feet.  Uh, when I saw the life raft I did not see my mom. Uh,  have you found her?

CG:  No, we, uh, we haven’t been able to find her yet. 

NC:  So I got to the life raft after I got my bearings and I was whistling and calling and looking around and I didn’t see her. 

CG:  understood, ok

NC:  We were fishing around block canyon. 

CG:  And when did that happen?

NC:  I don’t have the exact coordinates.

CG:  (echo:  And when did that happen?)

NC:   yes, It was a week ago today around mid day.

CG:   ok so last Sunday?

NC:   yeah.

II.            Transcripts with Analysis

NC:  Hello, this is Nathan Carman. 
CG:  Nathan, this is United States Coast Guard Boston, Ok

NC:  Hello” (pause due to echo)  yes I hear you

CG:  Uh, yes sir, I, I need to understand uh, what happened.  Over.”

This is our most important question, “What happened?”

We consider that with Asperger’s there may be a reduction in emotional language, but often within the language is logic.  We expect him to tell us immediately, what happened, with only a brief introduction, such as, "My mom and I went fishing, and we had an accident, and..." 

NC:  Mom and I, two people, myself and my mom,

Here we have an emphasis upon being only two persons present for the event.  With the emphasis, we should consider the possibility of a third person on the mind of the subject.  This could be an eye witness, or someone who may known him well.  His need to emphasize is not due to Asperger’s, as there is no repetitive language following this. 

Note that it is unnecessary for him to clarify that the two “people” were “myself and my mom” here.  “Mom” is “my mom” while going out fishing which shows he viewed her positively at this time (while fishing).  “Mom”, repeated, increases the sensitivity. 

Regardless, he is, in the least, thinking of a third person, whether it be an eye witness, or someone important to him. 

The order changes which means change of priority.  Mom and I” to “myself and my mom”, changing the order.

were fishing at Block Canyon.

He begins with the (1) people, (2) activity and (3) location rather than “My mom fell overboard…” or anything like it.  “We had an accident…” or any direct answer would have been expected, but is not here.  
The introduction is ‘slow’ in pace, which suggests that he does not want to get to ‘what happened’.  The overwhelming number of deceptive statements are heavily weighted in the introduction.  The deceptive part of the ‘story’ is stressful, therefore, the subject often avoids going directly to it.  We measure the ‘pace’ of an account and note that this one, in particularly, is very slow.  

 And there was a funny noise in the engine compartment,

“And” :  There was a pause between sentences.  “And” when at the beginning of a sentence indicates missing information.  The slow pace continues, avoiding getting to the direct information about what happened to the missing person.  This is often associated with psychological guilt; not always guilt meaning remorse, but fear of being caught.  

“There was a funny noise 

This is reported in passive voice.  Passivity is used appropriately when one does not know the source, but it is also used to conceal responsibility.  What is concerning here is the combination of the passivity with the descriptive term:  funny noise.”

He describes the noise as “funny” while using passivity.  This will cause us to ask if he caused this “funny” noise.  He does not report an emergency, nor something out of control.  The passivity would be expected with an explosion, not a “funny noise.”

He is likely telling the truth about hearing the noise, but he may have caused what happened to make the noise, while avoiding telling us the source of the noise, or what made it "funny" to him.  

 I looked and saw a lot of water.

He does not say “I saw a lot of water”, but he “looked” first.  This is akin to story telling and it continues to slow down the pace.  He does not tell us where he looked, or what he looked at.  This, too, is akin to story telling and indicates he is withholding information.  He did not say “I looked at the noise”, but that he “looked” and saw “a lot of water”, not an engine issue. 

This is two separate actions in his description.  It also avoids telling us what caused him to see a lot of water (note the passivity previously).  This separate action (in writing) further suggests that he caused the “funny noise” to have happened.  If so, we should expect more passivity in his language, which would remove him from the responsibility.   

He does not say that the noise caused water to fill up.  A “lot of water” may be his mother overboard.  Why was the noise “funny”?  Was it the sound of ‘gurgling’ or drowning?

This appears to be when he was looking outside the boat, where there is a lot of water.  Did he watch her drown or struggle?

I was bringing  the line had my mom bring in the reel

Self censoring is when one stops himself, mid sentence.  The audio is difficult but he may have stopped himself here. 
He does not say “I brought”,  but “I was bringing” which shows ongoing action, (lengthening time)  rather than a single, ended action.   He soon will use the complete past tense, “I brought” below, so it is not his pattern or habit. 

Note “the reel” is not “a reel” and since he has not introduced a reel, it may be that they did not actually fish as this point, but something else took place.  

We may consider that his mother may have been impacted by the line; controlled by him, her neck, etc. 

I brought the safety stuff forward and I was bringing one of the safety bags forward the boat just dropped out from under my feet.

These are two separate actions. One is complete while the other is ‘on going’ or lengthening of time.  This is another indicator of missing information in his answer.

I brought the safety stuff forward” is a complete action.  This, while there was “a lot of water”; yet, he then goes to another activity in which there is no completion, but an elongation of time with “I was bringing…”  In this part of his statement, his mother is missing.  He does not mention her here, and it is likely that she was already in the water. 

The focus:  He only brought “one” of the safety bags.  This may show intention to save his own life knowing there was no intention on saving two lives; the “two people” he began his statement with.   He did not bring “safety bags” but only one

Regarding the “boat just dropped out from my feet” the audio is not clear, but it is, also, passive voice. 
  We must consider that he knew the cause of the event.

 Uh, when I saw the life raft I did not see my mom.

Here, he speaks to time, not an event. He does not say “I saw the life raft” but “when”, which focuses upon time, not action.  This, too, suggests missing information.   
He reports not when he got to the life raft, but when he ‘saw’ it.  He reports what he did not see.

Negation:  Truthful people tell us what happened, what they saw, what they heard, etc.  In an open statement, when one tells us what they did not see, we must be on alert for deception.  He does not say he looked for her, only that he did not see her. 

 Uh,  have you found her?

CG:  No, we, uh, we haven’t been able to find her yet. 

He offers no concern for her safety.  Even with Asperger’s there should be an element of concern, perhaps with low emotional wording.  Instead, the focus is upon “I” and he continues about himself: 

NC:  So I got to the life raft after I got my bearings and I was whistling and calling and looking around and I didn’t see her. 

Here we have deception.  He addresses the element of time, which speaks to planning: “after” he got his “bearings.”  He wants us to believe he did not have his bearings, but this is not what he said.  “After I got my bearings” presupposes the loss thereof, but this is akin to story telling, not reliving a traumatic event from experiential memory.

“Bearings” speaks to disorientation, and its location in the account is “logical”, which, in analysis, is likely to be artificial placement of emotions for the purpose of story telling.  It takes time to process emotions and here, even with Asperger’s, it appears to be edited into his account. 

He did not look for her.  He looked “around.”  Consider also the size of the boat with this expression. 

He wishes to be seen as someone who did “search” with “whistling, calling, and looking around” specifically, but it is not accurately stated. 

This, too, suggests that he has a need to be seen in a favorable light; something associated with guilt. 

CG:  understood, ok

NC:  We were fishing around block canyon. 

CG:  And when did that happen?

NC:  I don’t have the exact coordinates.

This indicates he has the coordinates, just not the “exact” coordinates. 

CG:  (echo:  And when did that happen?)

NC:   yes, It was a week ago today around mid day.

CG:   ok so last Sunday?

NC:   yeah.

III.          Analysis Conclusion

                               Deception Indicated

Nathan Carman is deliberately withholding information about what happened to his mother. 

He does not truthfully report events, skips over time, and shows a focus upon himself, rather than his mother. 

His wording reveals specific delay, associated with guilty knowledge, and it reveals intent. 

The form of his answer shows a lengthy introduction, statistically linked with deception. 

If Mr. Carman is offered a polygraph and the polygraph is conducted using his own language, he is not likely to pass. 

The interview strategy should consist of his own wording, and focus upon the gaps of time; not upon the relationship with his mother, due to Asperger's.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Indicators of Sexual Abuse in Language

Jonbenet Ramsey murder is back in the news again.  

The Grand Jury indicted John and Patsy Ramsey for "death by child abuse" in the case, with Alex Hunter, the DA, using passivity in language to conceal, for many years, his refusal to sign the indictment.  In an upcoming work, a full analysis of the ransom note should tell us:

1.  The intention of the ransom note:  the author's priority
2.  The background of the author, including gender, race and age 
3.  The experiences in life of the author, including education, life experiences, beliefs, and so on. 
4.  The personality of the author.  Is the author cruel, and without human empathy?  Or, is the author...?

If you wish to know if the threat is real, or the threat level, you must know the one making the threat. 

Know the author and you'll know the threat.  

Let's take a look at sexual abuse indications within language. 

Any word in a sentence that is not necessary to complete the sentence is very important.  It took more effort for the subject to use, making it important to him.  What sometimes is difficult to understand is:


It is the question, "why?" that we seek to understand.  We ask, "Why does the subject feel it necessary to include this in the sentence?" and explore for the answer.  Sometimes the answer comes in the interview, but other times it comes in context, or by the statement itself.  

Three Specific Elements:  Lights, Doors, and Water 


We note that references to "lights" in a statement are often indicative of sexual activity.  It can be positive (completed or 'successful') sexual activity, or it could be failed (incomplete, disrupted) sexual activity.  Sometimes the context helps us understand. Light speaks to energy, and sexual arousal, itself, has a physiological reaction that is both a producer and a result of energy.  


Doors are sometimes noted within language, when used unnecessarily, by those who have been sexually abused in childhood.  

This is not difficult to understand why.  

When a child is sexually abused, the trauma is dependent upon the brain's reaction.  The child who is pre-speech is especially going to have long term consequences.  Consider the impact of cortisone and other hormones with elevation without any quick receding:  post trauma imprint is acute and can leave an imprint for many years.  For some, it means hyper- vigilance while others, without processing the information, can be set off by certain smells that trigger memory.  For some, the sound of the bedroom door opening, itself, lasts a lifetime.  These victims will sometimes mention "doors" where there is no necessity of doing so, in an open statement. 

The adult victim of childhood sexual abuse may reference "doors" without necessity in an open statement.  

When asked about how he found his murdered daughter, Jonbenet, John Ramsey did not say, "I found her in the basement", which would be plain and direct.  Instead, there were two distinct "steps" he takes in his account, both with stories all their own, and both vitally important to him and the case:  

"I opened the door, turned on the light, and there she was."  John Ramsey 

In the case of Jonbenet, we had a sexualized child, frequent urinary tract infections, and bed wetting.  When taken together, along with the language of the parents, it becomes evident that she was being sexually abused.  


We note that references to "water" in a statement are often indicative of sexual guilt, need for cleansing, and can be found in sexual homicides. 

Amanda Knox gave linguistic indication of being present for the murder of Meredith Kertchner, and when she said that she and her boyfriend took a shower, she went into detail; unnecessary detail in that, which is often associated with sexual homicide.  She talked about how her boyfriend "washed my ears" and "my neck", and so on; all unnecessary inclusions. Her statement is "sexual homicide language 101" for classic study.  

Sexual Homicide

"I drove down I 95, stopped to get gas, washed up and proceeded..."

The above shows the need to explain why he stopped, but includes a reference to water and in the kidnapping and sexual homicide, it pointed to the time of death.  Most would not feel the need to say they washed their hands or anything other than getting gas...a sexual homicide is different.  

The commonalty of all three is "unnecessary" language.  

We cannot, for example, enter a house without opening the door, yet few feel the need to add this detail.

"I went home and had dinner."

This is a very straight forward sentence.  Now compare it to this:  

" I went home, opened the door, and  had dinner."

The additional and unnecessary wording has a story to tell and investigators and analysts must be listening.  

To sign up for a full training course in Statement Analysis, host a seminar, or for experienced analysts, an Advanced Course, contact Hyatt Analysis Services

Sunday, September 25, 2016

HIDTA: Phoenix, Arizona (Chandler)

HIDTA, or The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program provides both strong and broad training for law enforcement that is often staffed by former law enforcement (retired) and other professionals who provide invaluable and specialized training.  

In the most recent training semester in Phoenix, Arizona, (Chandler) I had the opportunity to meet some of the professionals and those who attended the training. 

It is impressive. 

The students, at the end of a two week training program, and within hours of catching flights home, were, nonetheless, eager and active participants in deception detection training, digging intensely into statements to go beyond the simple 'truth or deception' level and into content analysis. They brought valuable real life experiences to the training, and quickly established an encouraging atmosphere of commenting, question and answer.  Some new to statement analysis training, still generated insightful commenting, and learned how a formalized system supports both their initial law enforcement training (many with Reid) but also their own instincts developed from experience.  It is, in this sense, to put principle into talent and experience, to have a disciplined approach to accuracy.  

Intense, but sometimes humorous, the input was both edifying and valuable with natural talent for analysis rising to the surface. 

For example, I was referencing the 'Baby Ayla' case where I gave the father's quote as "Contrary to rumors floating around out there, I have been cooperating with Waterville police..." and had not finished writing out the statement on the white board before one young analyst called out, "check water!" 

I turned and asked, "Who said that?" impressed at the listening skill just demonstrated.  The young analyst was thrilled to have instinctively picked upon 'leakage' within a statement.  

This became a pattern as the training progressed.  

A detection deception expert, Joelle Sweeney, had shared an excellent sample with me, with permission to use it in the training.  Due to its depth, I saved it for the end of the training and although it was challenging, the class pushed forward, digging and digging at it, until both truth and deception were properly identified.  Beyond this, they explored the personality of the subject, a 17 year old female, involved in the drug world, and expressed the proper empathy for both analysis ("the expected") and service (caring law enforcement professions not only 'serve'; they protect).  

The conclusion was:

Deception detected;
Identification of the subject's experiences, childhood, parental relations, and finally, insight to garner enough a personality profile.  

HIDTA trainees, by necessity, need to recognize the language of addiction.  

The deceptive patterns of addicts is something crucial in identifying more than just deception.  This paves the way for the interview and interrogation that awaits the analyst and/or investigator. 

The class, in spite of fatigue, worked through the statements marvelously.  

The professionals who administrate the trainings spend two intense weeks with the students and the bonding is evident.  Sharing similar experiences, the support goes beyond the high level training, but extends to everything from emotional support to providing resources for further training and even letters of reference.  Career advice for budding professionals, alone, is invaluable.  

The attendees, after 2 weeks of constantly working together, established friendships and bonds that serve both personal and professional needs as they strongly identify with their work, as a calling more than just a profession.   

The Phoenix HIDTA training center is a welcoming, high-tech, comfortable training facility conducive to study and advancement.  

Below is a short clip from  Interested professionals are strongly encouraged to seek out the training.  

One of the most repeated themes is to prepare oneself for future career moves that are unexpected.  In meeting the professional men and women at the training, more than a few spoke of receiving training in areas not currently used in anticipation for the unknown future ahead of them.  

As one studies areas that are not currently within their own scope of work, the professional prepares for a future that is excitedly open to variables. 

As Bob Dylan said, "it is a perfect time for anything to happen."

These men and women are dedicated to the professionals they guide; visit the website here for Training Opportunities.  Take advantage of anything offered.  

Although we are involved in advanced training, we will continue with the general training of Statement Analysis.  Those who have gone through the course and live training  find themselves prepared for future possibilities, yet unknown.  The initial course is thorough, challenging, and comes with 12 months of e-support.  It also is a prerequisite for the live, on going  trainings that are held monthly.  

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.
The purpose of the program is to reduce drug trafficking and production in the United States by:
  • Facilitating cooperation among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to share information and implement coordinated enforcement activities;
  • Enhancing law enforcement intelligence sharing among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies;
  • Providing reliable law enforcement intelligence to law enforcement agencies needed to design effective enforcement strategies and operations; and
  • Supporting coordinated law enforcement strategies which maximize use of available resources to reduce the supply of illegal drugs in designated areas and in the United States as a whole.
There are currently 28 HIDTA’s, which include approximately 17.6 percent of all counties in the United States and a little over 63.5 percent of the U.S. population.  HIDTA-designated counties are located in 48 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. View a map of the HIDTAs here.
Each HIDTA assesses the drug trafficking threat in its defined area for the upcoming year, develops a strategy to address that threat, designs initiatives to implement the strategy, proposes funding needed to carry out the initiatives, and prepares an annual report describing its performance the previous year.  A central feature of the HIDTA program is the discretion granted to the Executive Boards to design and implement initiatives that confront drug trafficking threats in each HIDTA.  The program’s 59 Intelligence and Investigative Support Centers help HIDTA’s identify new targets and trends, develop threat assessments, de-conflict targets and events, and manage cases.

HIDTA Activities

The HIDTA program funds 737 initiatives throughout the country, including:
  • Enforcement initiatives comprising multi-agency investigative, interdiction, and  prosecution activities;
  • Intelligence and information-sharing initiatives;
  • Support for programs that provide assistance beyond the core enforcement and intelligence and information-sharing initiatives; and
  • Drug use prevention and drug treatment initiatives.