Remembering Jonbenet: Analysis of the 911 Call

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Remembering Jonbenet: Analysis of the 911 Call

Post by hogwash on Fri 18 Dec - 6:55

Peter Hyatt, Statement Analysis

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Remembering Jonbenet: Analysis of the 911 Call

As we look back to the late 90's, we recall the death of a little girl, and the miscarriage of justice which followed.  

The investigation into her death was presented as evidence to a Grand Jury, who, upon hearing all, indicted both parents, John and Patsy Ramsey of "death by child abuse" in the homicide of Jonbenet.  

The District Attorney, Alex Hunter, had done much to disparage, as well as hinder, the police investigation into her death, instead choosing to consult with the impressive team of attorneys the wealthy Ramseys had hired.  

He refused to sign the indictment which, had he signed, would have had both arrested, and put on trial.  

Alex Hunter withheld his refusal to sign the indictment, bypassing the normal route of justice, depriving the victim of justice.  

The Ramsey team hired John Douglas, retired FBI and author, who gave a profile of the killer concluding that the father, John Ramsey, did not fit the profile of a killer who would have garroted his daughter.  

Jonbenet's garroting was staged.  

In fact, in child homicides, those residing in the house will fit a profile statistically.  Douglas' profile was only of John Ramsey, not Patsy, which was presented to the public also with parsed words:  leaving out information about the staging of the death, the ransom note, and the profile of the mother.  

He profiled from the crime scene, not a psychological profile of John Ramsey.  This very limited profile was:

"...In viewing this crime scene, what type person would do this?" without any consideration of statistics, evidence, and most importantly, the autopsy results of how she died, and evidence of sexual assault, taken together.  In other words, 'what type person would sexually assault and slowly torture?" which excludes fathers.  

The attorneys used John Douglas' late 90's fame as a PR move.  It damaged Douglas' reputation and made crime scene profiling look like a caricature of profiling.  

In reviewing the case, it is good to begin with the 911 call and then on to specific analysis of the ransom note, and then finally, the interviews of both parents.  In this remembrance, we will look at all three, along with the language of sexual homicide, of interest to those who are new to Statement Analysis after the murder of Amanda Blackburn, and will help familiarize new readers with Statement Analysis of 911 calls in general.  

The following is Statement Analysis of the 911 call made by Patsy Ramsey to report the missing, and later found murdered Jonbenet Ramsey, 6. 

The Expected versus The Unexpected:

If you did not know where your daughter was, what help would you seek from police?

It is likely that you would demand she be found. 

Is that what the caller here wants?
Is that what the caller seeks?

We view the expected, and when it does not show itself, we are confronted with words that are unexpected.  

A 911 call is sometimes referred to as "excited utterance", meaning that it is expected to come from less pre-thought and more reaction.  This is not something we need to evaluate in analysis.  Even in deception, we view content, recognizing that deception does not come from a void. 

We expect, that in an emergency, the caller will get right to the point at hand.  This is judging priority in analysis.  We note that order indicates importance, whether it is a domestic homicide call, or any statement of importance.  

The context:   kidnapping.

The recipient of information:  law enforcement 

We listen carefully and allow the subject (caller)  to guide us.  

Does the subject ask for help for the victim? If she is kidnapped, we expect a biological mother to use the personal pronoun "my" and to express concern for what Jonbenet is currently experiencing.

 It is Jonbenet who is in need of help.  She needs to be found.  We find it, therefore 'unexpected' for a caller to ask for help for herself, or not to show concern for what her daughter is currently experiencing.  

As this is an extremity in life, pronouns are instinctive and possession should be immediate and personal.  

A distant step mother, or non relative caller might use plural, but not a close relative, such as spouse, and not, at all, a biological parent.  

In the Amanda Blackburn murder, this, alone, brought suspicion upon the husband who refused to speak for himself when it came to the victim.  This is indicative of guilt in some form, such as psychologically distancing oneself, or 'hiding in a crowd', or seeking to 'share guilt or responsibility' with others.  

  Is it a cry for help, or is it alibi building?

"Hello, I was sleeping and the door was open..." said Misty Croslin, showing that to her it was a priority that police know that even before she reports Haleigh Cummings, 5, missing, that police know that she was asleep. 

Does the caller use the words, "I'm sorry" anywhere, for any reason?  If so, it is to be red flagged. 

Child injury or death call:

  We expect a parent, for example, to speak for herself, take personal ownership of her child, and ask for help for the child. 

What do the pronouns tell us?  If the caller is on speakerphone with the spouse, we may hear "we", but if it is one parent, we expect "my" when it comes to the child in question. 

Below is the call placed by Patsy Ramsey, from 1996, when she reported that she found a ransom call.  

911: What is going on there ma’am?

This is the best question:  What is the emergency?  It is open ended and allows the subject to say anything.  At this point, we expect a mother to speak for herself (a missing child is a very personal thing to a mother) and if she is on the phone by herself, the expected pronoun use is:  "I"

"My daughter has been kidnapped!" is the single most important phrase, with gets directly to the point.  Even without the name here would be due to the rush for help.

1.  "My daughter" is expected as this is a biological mother and the child is incapable of self protection
2.  "kidnapped" and not "missing" because she is not "missing" but someone has her because a ransom note has been left.  This brief statement should be heard first.  The very first words of the caller's mother speaks to us:  

PR: We have a kidnapping...Hurry, please

The expected:  "My daughter is kidnapped."  We expect to hear the pronoun, "I" early and often in this call.  This is a mother calling and she is missing her youngest child.  Our expectation was the pronoun "I" as this is deeply personal (Solomonic wisdom) for a mother of a missing child. 

We note first that Patsy Ramsey, mother of alleged kidnapping victim, uses the pronoun, "we" and reports a kidnapping; not that her daughter, Jonbenet, is missing.   In fact, the use of "we" has not only alerted us that something is amiss, but in her first sentence, she not only fails to identify the victim but tells us:

Whoever the "we"are,  have a problem on their hands.  

This language puts the focus upon "we" having something.  It is not just the avoidance of Jonbenet, but the words leaving her lips, chosen from the brain in less than a microsecond, put the focus upon two people ("we") who have some issue at hand that they must deal with.  

It is, in fact, accurate.  

Jonbenet does not have a problem, nor any issues, but the people represented by the pronoun "we" most certainly do.  Their ordeal now begins, but Jonbenet's is over. 

She is signaling this in her language in the very first sentence.   

The first sentence is always important and sometimes tells us why the statement is being made. 

This call is not about a kidnapping victim, but a circumstance that is weighing upon the caller, who is joining herself with someone else. 

Statement Analysis of the ransom note shows that it is deceptive; it did not come from a "small foreign faction" and that the writer attempted to disguise herself.  In particular, the unusual and it is improper English:   "and hence" (it is two words that are redundant) was used in it.  It is an unusual phrase and what was quickly found out that it was used at least twice, including a Christmas card written by Patsy Ramsey.  We will explore this in full, later. 

We expect a mother of a missing child to immediately say "I" as the mother of a missing child is going to take this very personally.  We also expect her to say her daughter is missing, but here, it sounds somewhat concessionary or contrived:  "we have a kidnapping" not only uses the weak, "we", but also is a conclusion.  

Question:  Is this rehearsed?  By initially declaring "kidnapping" instead of "my daughter is missing", the reader should be considering that this may be staged. 

We look for her to make a request or demand for specific help for the victim, Jonbenet; not just help itself, or in general.  We expect a mother of a missing 6 year old to use the pronoun "I" as this is very personal and enflames the maternal instinct.  The use of "we" is not strong. 

"We have" does not report Jonbenet missing and it sounds more in line with having an event which is not personal to the mother, but to be shared with others.  

"hurry" is unnecessary, making it 'doubly important'; 

"please" is polite.  We do not like to hear politeness in missing persons or kidnapping cases while it is unresolved.  This is similar to praising of police while they have not been successful.  

911: Explain to me what is going on, ok?

The initial reaction of the 911 operator has caused the operator to ask for clarification because she has not said "my daughter is missing."

We look for the mother of a missing/kidnapped child to say the pronoun "I" as this is very personal to a mother and inflames the maternal instinct:

PR: We have a ...There’s a note left and our daughter is gone

Patsy Ramsey resorts to the pronoun, "we" again.  

The pronoun "we" is often used in an attempt to share guilt. (Dillingham)

A broken sentence means missing information, as she stopped herself.  Why?

"We have a..." sounds like a repetition of the first line, which would suggest rehearsed or coached words.   This means that the operator has already spoken to Patsy Ramsey, the mother, without the mother reporting her daughter missing.  It appears that this was her third sentence which still does not report a missing child. 

 This is the mother of a missing child calling:  we expect maternal instinct to use the pronoun "I" strongly, and ask for help for her daughter, wondering what her daughter must be going through (if she was with kidnappers, particularly a "small foreign faction" holding her.  

Please note "our" daughter is gone. 

The use of the plural "we" is explained by Christopher Dillingham, who states that his research has shown that those who wish to share guilt will instinctively use the plural pronoun, even when speaking only for oneself.  Any parent of a teenager, just like every teacher in school is familiar with this principle.  

Please note that "our" daughter is used when there is a need to 'share' ownership.  This is often seen when step-parenting (or foster/adoption) is involved.  When "our" is used by a family that has no reason to 'share' the child, it may indicate looming divorce.  

A parental instinct to protect is powerful.  Humans are highly possessive, and learn the word "my" and "mine" even predating speech as a toddler.  It is difficult to imagine a stronger bond than mother to child, which is why "my" is the expected. 

Patsy Ramsey's use of the pronoun "we" and "our"  goes against maternal instinct.  

Next take notice that Patsy (the subject) says that there is a "note" here.  This is her choice of wording for the ransom note, and should remain consistent in a truthful statement, unless something in reality changes.  

The reason language changes is that reality changes; with emotions having the greatest impact upon language, especially to cause a non to change.  If there is no change in reality, deception may be present. 

"please" is polite. 

*Note the order showing priority:  the note comes before the daughter.  

Also note that there was a note "left", with the word "left" an unnecessary word giving additional information.  The subject (Patsy) is emphasizing the note.  Why would this be necessary?

Priority:  Here is what we have thus far in the call:

1.  We have a kidnapping.

2.  Hurry, please 
3.  We have a... (broken)
4.  There's a note left

These four things are mentioned before reporting Jonbenet missing.  

5.  "...our daughter is gone."

Question:  Would it take you to point 5 before telling police your daughter was missing?

See:  Misty Croslin's 911 call on missing Haliegh Cummings. 

"There's a note left" is passive language.  Passivity in language seeks to conceal identity or responsibility.  Here, "there's a note left" removes all traces of responsibility. She does not even say "they left a note"

Passivity:  "a not was left" is passive voice, rather than "I have" or consistent with her own plural "we have"; but "there is" is both passive and distancing language and is not expected as this is her own daughter.  

This is a very small signal that should cause investigators to wonder if the caller knows more about the ransom note than she is letting on.  

With passivity we have concealing of identity and/or responsibility.  

As an unknown author, passivity should be regarding the writing of it; this is about its location and something this awful, this personal, and this close, should not have distancing language associated with it.  

911: A note was left and your daughter is gone?

Please notice that "note was left" is reflective language, using the subject's language. The 911 operator reflects back the words and the order. 

The note is mentioned before the daughter which indicates the priority is the note more than the daughter.  For those of you who believe Statement Analysis and know that Patsy Ramsey was deceptive in the investigation, this is a good indicator of what she was worried about:  she must make them believe and she is not thinking about the child, but the note.  As author of the note, it would cause her concern.  

PR: Yes.

911: How old is you daughter?
PR: She is six years old she is blonde...six years old

Patsy Ramsey goes beyond the question; she repeats the answer (sensitivity) but adds a physical description in strange terms:

"she is blonde" rather than "she has blonde hair"; when one is described as "blonde" it is often a view of appearance, like "brunette" or "red head" describing someone who's appearance is of importance. 

This may give insight into how Jonbenet was viewed by her mother, even as the child was dressed up like a sexualized Las Vegas showgirl.  At this point, this is the only description she gave her of her child. 

Please note that several pictures of Jonbenet suggest bleaching or coloring of the child's hair. 

911: How long ago was this?

PR: I don’t know. Just found a note note and my daughter is missing

Missing pronoun. 

Patsy Ramsey may not have been ready for this question, "how long ago was this?" as she should know exactly how long ago she found the note.  It should be burned in a mother's memory.  To say, 'wouldn't a mother under trauma lose her memory?' is to seek to excuse.  An innocent mother of a missing child is on high alert, with adrenaline flowing, with clarity and 'fight or flight' responses in 'fight' mode, like a mother bear robbed of her whelps.  

Please note the dropped pronoun:  "just found a note...".  When pronouns are dropped, there is a decrease in commitment.  Recent studies have verified what was taught in analysis for decades:  when pronouns disappear, there is a lack of commitment and more people that drop pronouns are likely to be deceptive.  She did not say that she "just found a note."  She did not lie.  Lying causes stress and here she can communicate about the note without saying "I just found a note" or, consistent with her other sentences, "we just found a note."  The pronouns do not lie. They are instinctive and reliable.  She drops the pronoun and does not commit.  We shall not do it for her. 

She did not want to say, "I just found a note" because it would be a lie.  "Just found a note" does not say who just found it and is a way of avoiding a lie.  We hear this in children who lie, just as we hear it here. 

The "note" is repeated, but consistent from the first mention of it.  It is a "note" that was "left"; this should not change. 

Please also note a change from "our daughter" to the more natural "my daughter".  What caused the change?

A change in language must reflect a change in reality; otherwise it is an indicator of deception:  the subject is not working from experiential memory and has lost track of the words used. 

Is there any change in reality?  The following is critical:  

"our daughter is gone" but "my daughter is missing."

The shared daughter is "gone" but the personal and up close "my" daughter is missing.  

Is there a difference between Jonbenet being "gone" and Jonbenet being "missing" in reality?

Note the word "just" in context may mean "sudden" and refer to time. 

911: Does it say who took her?

The passivity earlier gives a 'gray' feeling to the listener; that is, there is not clear forceful information coming from the caller.  The use of "we", the avoidance of telling us immediately who was kidnapped, and the self censoring all come together to give even untrained ears a warning signal.  

PR: What?

Note that she answers a question with a question.  What is sensitive to Patsy?  The question is "who took her?"  The operator asks this unnecessary question again: 

911: Does it say who took her?

PR: No.  I don’t know it’s there...there is a ransom note here.

Please note the answer to the question, "does the note say who took her?"

a.  No, even though it says a "small foreign faction" took her.  
b.  I don't know. 

Note the pronoun "I" is now used. 

Note that the note says she was taken by a small foreign faction. 

Please note that the "note" that was "left" has changed language and is now a "ransom note". 

What has caused the change in language from "note left" to a "ransom note"?

The language, if truthful, should remain consistent, unless reality has changed causing the language to change, such as insurance adjusters see:

"My car sputtered so I pulled over.  It would not start.  I left the vehicle on the side of the road. "

The "car" while driving (even if sputtering) changed into a "vehicle" when it would no longer drive.  You can bet that after it is repaired and running, the owner will call it "my car" again and not "the" "vehicle. "

"There is a ransom note here" sounds rehearsed.  It was a "note" and now has changed reversing the trend of the law of economy where we go from longer to shorter.  

"The ransom note" to "a note" is an indication of deception.  Once identified, "a" turns to "the" as articles are instinctive.  By this time, we know that the caller is deceptive

This is seen in time measured in seconds.  She has spoken but a few words and we know the caller is deceptive. 

When something does not come from experiential memory, it is easy to lose track of what words were used, even simple nouns.  Here, there does not appear to be any change in reality, judging by the context. This is a strong indication that the caller is being deceptive about her daughter. 

911: It’s a ransom note?

Please note the reflective language of the 911 operator, instinctively picking up on the change.  It was just a "note" but now it is a "ransom note".  What is the difference between a "note" and a "ransom note"?

The answer is found in reading it.  In reading it, it demands money, but previously, she said, "no" that she did not know, and "I don't know" but by identifying it now as a "ransom note" we have deception on the part of the caller. 

PR: It says S.B.T.C. Victory...please

The subject tells the operator what the "note" and now "ransom note" says.  She is referring to the end of the ransom note now. 

 Please note that the subject has not asked for help specifically for the victim.  We look to see if the caller asks for help for Jonbenet, herself.  Sometimes guilty people will ask for help for themselves, but not for the victim.  Sometimes the words "I'm sorry" slip into their language indicating it was on the mind.  

911: Ok, what’s your name? Are you...

PR: Patsy Ramsey...I am the mother. Oh my God. Please.

The 911 operator may have been about to ask her if she was the mother. 
Note "please" still does not ask for help for her daughter, who is alleged by the mother, to be in the hands of kidnappers."

"I am the mother" and not "her" mother, or "Jonbenet's mother"which is distancing language from the victim.  This, too, is most unexpected and we ask:  why does she distance herself from her child?

This is a linguistic hint that the mother knows her child is dead by the time she made this cll.  

911: I’m...Ok, I’m sending an officer over, ok?
PR: Please.

Who is in need of help?  Is it Jonbenet?  Patsy and John?
For whom does she ask for help?

911: Do you know how long she’s been gone?

PR: No, I don’t, please, we just got up and she’s not here. Oh my God Please.

Critical portion.  

Extra words give us additional information.  

Please note the question is answered about how long she has been gone:

a.  No
b.  I don't  

The subject gives two answers; the first is "no", but then she adds the broken sentence, which indicates missing information. 

Pronouns do not lie and are reliable for the analyst. 

Please note that "we just got up" is additional information. 

 What is the purpose?  The time has been sought by the 911 operator.  This sentence, "we just go up" is very very important.  By offering this, it shows that she is concerned with alibi building; making sure, even without being asked, that police know that they just go it:   Attempt to lead police into thinking that they were both asleep.  

She does not say that they were sleeping.  What does the inclusion provoke?

"We got up" would cause investigators to think that "we", John and Patsy, were likely up all night.  There is no reason to offer this information.  Note the pronouns. 

Why use the word "we" when this should be something very personal to a mother, who, if her daughter was kidnapped, would be filled with sole purpose:  saving her daughter.  The word "we" is not expected here, and should be viewed under Dillingham's research:  the sharing of guilt. 

But also note the importance to the caller that the police believe that they both just got up.  

This is not asked in the question.  The operator did not say "were you sleeping?"  It would be presumed that they were sleeping and not that they would be awake and allow their daughter to be kidnapping.  It is, therefore, needless information.  

This sentence is very very important. 

What do we make of needless information in Statement Analysis?  We recognize how important it is to the subject, who included it, therefore, it is vital to our analysis. 

It represents a need to persuade.  It is needless information, therefore, doubly important.  It is alibi building and because it was offered, has suggested that they were up all night.  

Please note that it was learned that Patsy Ramsey, known for vanity, was in the same clothes that morning that she was in the night before at a party.  We have linguistic indication that she was up all night, and then we have the clothing confirming the wording and the need to persuade that in order to "get up" they would have had to have gone to sleep.  She did not say they were asleep and we will not say it for her.  It is likely that they did not sleep that night. 

Question:  Why would a parent need to tell police that she and her husband were asleep during a kidnapping since it could happen no other way?

Answer:  Because they did not go to sleep.  

Note the inclusion of divinity as another signal of concern; one of many.  

911: Ok.
PR: Please send somebody.

Who does the subject want to come out for her kidnapped daughter?  The FBI kidnapping team?  A whole army of police to rescue Jonbenet from the small foreign faction who have her?

Answer:  "somebody" is singular.  What was the expected?  Begging?  Pleading?  Demanding?

"Please find her!   FIND HER!  FIND HER!"

911: I am, honey.
PR: Please.

Note that in this call, there is not specific request for help for the victim.  

911: Take a deep breath (inaudible).
PR: Hurry, hurry, hurry (inaudible).
911: Patsy? Patsy? Patsy? Patsy? Patsy?

(Patsy reportedly said "Help me, Jesus" repeatedly here.  See note below)

It is believed, according to police, that at this point, the call did not disconnect and Patsy Ramsey spoke to her son, Burke, whom she later said was sleeping. Detective Steve Thomas found this vital because it showed that Patsy was lying, from the beginning.  

It is, however, not necessary, as this initial contact with police showed deception. 

In fact, for those new to analysis:  This is an indication of a 911 call that is 'overwhelmingly deceptive.'  It is useful for training as most deceptive callers are not this blunt or readily evidenced.  

Trust the pronouns. 

Pronouns and articles are used by us more than any other words and are engrained within us from the earliest days of speech.  Pronouns can solve crimes all by themselves.  

When parents are seated together, speaking as one, they will use the plural, but in a time of emergency, there is no "sharing" of a child, but maternal instinct, measured in words dating back to the time of Solomon's display of wisdom using analysis, indicate the closeness between mother and child.  

The pronouns bring  initial doubt to the caller's veracity, which then the change of language confirms:

This is a deceptive call to 911 that does not ask for help for its victim.  

She is reported to have said "help me, Jesus" in the background, highlighting the principle that a guilty caller does not ask for help specifically for the victim, and will often ask for help, for herself.  

There is distancing language as the name is not used until asked. 

There is alibi building with "we just got up";
There is priority seen with the "note", having not read it, but then changing it to a "ransom note" which demands payment for a child.  The "ransom note" is, here in the 911 call, sensitive to Patsy Ramsey, connecting her with it. 

The 911 call made by Patsy Ramsey is a deceptive call. 

The first thing you know about the Jonbenet Ramsey case is from the 911 call.  The other, Patsy Ramsey, deliberately withheld information about what happened to her daughter, of whom she has shown an awareness that Jonbenet is dead, and not in need of a mother any longer.  


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Re: Remembering Jonbenet: Analysis of the 911 Call

Post by worriedmum on Fri 18 Dec - 8:17

Thank you ,this is fascinating. These photos of JonBenet make me cringe.Poor little girl.


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