I came across a Scripture this morning which said; "Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly", which is from John 7:24 (NLT). This got me thinking...this is exactly what we do with investigative statement analysis!
We see or hear the surface structure of what the person says...this is the words, sentences and phrases the person uses to communicate. However, when we "look beneath the surface" we see there is a lot more going on!
There is a deeper structure and meaning to language which is often unseen. This is what caused the person to use the words they chose. As an example, this is a statement from a guy involved in the kidnapping and murder of a 13 year old girl who was found in a lake wrapped in a blanket and chains. He stated during his confession, "Once the bubbles stopped, I dragged her body onto the beach and proceeded to get the blanket and chains from the back of the truck." If someone looks at the "surface" of his language is may seem like he drowned her, put her on the beach, and got the blanket and chains from the truck just like he said. But there is more under the surface which was picked up by an astute detective.
He said he "...proceeded to get the blanket and chains from the truck." Why would he "proceed to do something rather than just do it? Because what he was planning to do was "interrupted" by something he didn't tell us. In this case, when the detective identified this hot spot, he confronted him with a simple question..."Tell us what happened after you brought her onto the beach?" which led to the disclosure that he had sex with her dead body after he killed her! That was great information to have for our case which would have been missed if the detective didn't look beneath the surface of the language.
Investigative Statement Analysis is a powerful tool for anyone conducting investigative interviews or criminal interrogations, or for who needs to know the truth and look beneath the surface of the words!