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Statement Analysis; What's Missing?

One of the fundamental principles with investigative statement analysis is that we ask people open-ended questions to elicit a free narrative account from them. When we do this, the individual has the ability, and in essence the obligation, to tell us everything that happened and everything they feel is important for us to know about a particular event or time period. If they leave out relevant information, what does that potentially say about their account? For instance, we had a mother make a complaint that she believed that her 2-year-old daughter was being sexually abused by her estranged husband who had visitation with her every other weekend. She came in to the station to make a formal complaint and provided a 6-page hand written statement. Not ONE WORD in her 6 pages was about possible sexual abuse of her daughter…nothing! It was all about her ex-husband, how bad he was, he was this and he was that. When the detective mentioned to her that the statement does not contain anything about the suspected abuse of her daughter that she came in to make, her response was, “Oh, I forgot that part.” How can you forget the main issue? How can a mother forget that her 2 year old daughter may be the victim of sexual abuse? With investigative follow-up between our agency and the Department of Children and Families, we were able to prove that this was a false claim, something we later found out she had done prior as well. By applying these techniques you will gain a lot of insight into the individual, their thought process and what is important to them. What’s important to them should be what enters their statement, so what they leave OUT of their statements may provide even greater insight than what they put into their statements! It is important to identify and evaluate what people say and don’t say during interviews and interrogations, and what people write and don’t write within their written statements. What people want to keep hidden from you will be a major motivation and force that influences what they DO tell you. This will be reflected within their language and writing to the well-trained investigator!