Tag Archive | "911 call"

Bureau looking at surveillance tapes

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has narrowed its search for missing 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford, and is currently reviewing a significant amount of video evidence from security systems in the South Weston area, investigators announced during a press conference Friday.

Special Agent Jeff Killeen said investigators have recovered video from civilian, governmental and business security systems. Killeen said he could not comment on what might be on the security tapes.

“We have an awful lot of this evidence to look at,” Killeen said. “It takes time to enhance the tapes.”

Killeen explained that investigators can use special technology to enhance images that may be fuzzy or may not be recognizable at first glance.

“If someone out there has home security video with anything that looks suspicious, please call the West Virginia State Police at 304-269-0500,” Killeen said.

Though he would offer no further comment, Killeen said law enforcement officials have narrowed the time line regarding the disappearance of Aliayah Lunsford.

“The focus is narrowing, and we are working to a favorable conclusion,” he said.

He added that the case is still being considered a homicide, abduction or concealment. Killeen declined to discuss persons of interest or suspects, saying it could compromise the investigation.

Killeen said that as the investigation has narrowed, they also have determined there is no threat of danger to other children in the community

“I want to dispel rumors we are not working on this case,” Killeen said. “At times, investigators are working 24 hours a day on this case.”

Specifically, Killeen said the dozens of people working on the case include law enforcement and personnel at the various crime labs representing the agencies on the case. He likened this work to put together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

“We have many pieces together,” he said. “We are pleased with our progress.”

Aliayah Lunsford was last seen at 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 24 by her mother, Lena Lunsford, who reported the child was suffering from a cold or flu. By 9:30 a.m., the girl was not in the home, her mother has told police.

Lena Lunsford called 911 to report her daughter missing at 11:20 a.m. after searching for her in her vehicle.

An intensive ground search was conducted by law enforcement and volunteers for two weeks before that effort was called off. Divers searched the West Fork River in effort to find the child.

Anyone with information or video surveillance evidence should call the state police.

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Statement Analysis of Lena Lunsford’s 911 Call

The 911 Call

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Statement Analysis

From the Statement Analysis blog (here)

The following is Statement Analysis of the 911 call, made 11 days ago, by Lena Lunsford, reporting her 3 year old child missing.

What do we look for in 911 calls?

Besides following the principles of Statement Analysis, we specifically look for some of the following red flags in 911 calls:

  1. Does the call begin with a greeting?
  2. Does the caller ask for help for the victim, or for herself?
  3. Does the caller frame the words “I’m sorry” for any reason, in the call?
  4. Does the caller disparage, in any way, the victim?


911 What is your emergency?

My baby’s missing.

Note that this is the first thing mentioned.

What is your address?

(address) I was out looking for her for over an hour.

Note that after answering the question that she provides additional information. When an answer goes beyond the scope of the question, every word is critical. What is it that is a priority to the caller that she goes beyond the address alone?

The subject wants police to know that she has been out looking for over an hour.

Please note that she does not say “I was looking for her” but “out” looking for her for “over an hour”. This is important as it is a reference to time; as all time references are significant.

How old? I need you to calm down.

I’m sorry she’s she’s only three.

Please note “I’m sorry”has entered into the subject’s language. This is always noted no matter why the subject is using these words (see Casey Anthony’s 911 call)

When was the last time you saw him?

It’s a girl. This morning. Real early. I went in and checked on her because she’s been sick with the flu.

Note that “because” tells us why, rather than simply answering the question. This goes beyond the realm of the question of what happened and goes to why something happened. Here she says that she checked on her “real early” because she was sick. Note that she “went in” and checked on her.

Note that sick with the flu is now mentioned.

Okay is it a male or female?

It’s a Girl

Note that “it’s” is reflective language; entering into the language of the operator.

A girl?


Ok you saw her this morning around 6:30?


That’s the last time you saw her was at 6:30 this morning?

Yes and then she laid back down and went back to sleep. And we went back to bed.

Note that she “laid back down” would indicate that she would have to be up in order to go back down.

Note that when a sentence begins with “And” the subject has missing information here.

Note that “we” went back to bed. Who is “we”? Is it she and Aliayah? Since “we” indicates unity or cooperation, was it she and her husband who went back to bed? She and another child? Who is the other part of the “we”?

Ok was the doors open or anything?

No the doors weren’t open.

Note that she uses reflective language (the language of the operator)

Were they locked?

Yes I think.

(Inuaudible) the residence?

It was difficult to hear the question but it sounded like who lives in the residence, of which the answer is important:

Me and my other kids.

She does not mention the husband or step father. This is not lost on the 911 operator who then asks:

Ok do you live with her father?


Note that other questions she answers but then adds information. Note here regarding who else resides there that she does not give additional information and is not bringing up her husband’s name.

Who is her father?

Her father is a guy named Eric Harris. He doesn’t even know that she exists.

Note that she references the father (male) as a “guy”

Ok and you’ve been looking for her for the past hour?

Yes I’ve looked everywhere (inaudible)

This is concerning.

First, “I’ve looked” is first person singular, but then she says,

“everywhere”. When someone says that they have looked “everywhere” they have no other places to search. This is akin to saying, “I’ve told you everything” therefore, there is nothing more to say. When someone says “I have looked everywhere” they are saying that there are no more places to look, a strong indication that she has no places to search; hence, out of hope.

What was she wearing when you put her back in bed?

She had a little pair of purple Dora pj’s. We went up all these streets. We went up all these streets.

The pronoun is changed to plural, “we”; which is repeated. If she is now speaking of herself and her children, please note that it is repeated:

this is sensitive.

She did not say that they searched for her; only that “we went up” these streets. If she does not tell us that they went up searching, we cannot say that they were searching. This correlates to what the lawyer said: children asked him for gas; and it fits what another neighbor said: he was out at his truck all morning and no one was searching, nor asking him if he had seen Aliayah.

If she went “up” by herself without the children, the change in pronoun is deceptive.

Also, that she went “up” ; something that is repeated. Does this mean that she went up, and that she did not find Aliayah, that Aliayah is “down” somewhere?

Have you been outside checking the area?

Please note that she checked “everywhere” but the operator asks this question anyway.

Yes I’ve drove up all the streets around here looking thinking that maybe she went outside or something. And I don’t think my mom would have came and got her because she’d have woke me up and stuff.

1. Please note that she uses for the third time the word “up” where Aliayah is not found. This may indicate that Aliayah will be found “down” somewhere; down in water, buried in a grave, et.c.

2. “all” the streets; with the same meaning at looking “everywhere”. All the streets “around here” have been looked so even though she has been thorough, she has not been located.

3. Note the inclusion of her thinking, even though it wasn’t ‘correct’ thinking.

4. Note the inclusion of “or something” which strongly indicates that Aliayah went out “or something”; what is the choice? It is she went outside “or” something else happened to her. She is giving police a choice. If she went out, we won’t find her because she has searched “everywhere” and on all the “streets around here” where Aliayah, “only three”could have gone. But since she didn’t, we then must conclude “or something” took place with Aliayah that Lena knows and is not sharing. This sentence is an indiction that Lena Lunsford is deceptively withholding information and would like to limit the searching. She does not want someone else to find Aliayah.

5. Lena introduces, with the word “And” to start the sentence (missing info) her “mom” to the operator. Her mom is significant to Lena and her mother should be carefully interviewed. Please also note that she tells us “because” which explains why something, rather than report what happened. Her mother would have wakened her “and stuff”; what stuff? Police should seek to learn if there has been any arguments, specifically about child care, between Lena and her own mother. What other “stuff” would the mother have done, besides woken Lena up?

Ok have you called your mother?

No I need to do that.

Did the operator just give Lena the idea that she should have called her mother? Now she “needs” to do it.

Please note that she allegedly drove around for an hour and did not call her mother. If she was searching for her child, would she not, after the first few minutes, called her mother? Why would she think that her mother could have had Aliayah ? Is this the type of family that takes a 3 year old without notice? How could a three year old leave without it being known?

This appears contrived and false.

Do you have a phone number for her?

Yes its (number).

What is her name?

Joanne Evans.

Joanne Evans?


Do you want to just call her real quick and call me right back so I know what’s going on ok?

This is unusual and may indicate that the 911 operator did not entirely trust the caller and wanted her to check with her mother. Better would have been to keep Lena on the line, give pauses to allow Lena to choose her own words, while the police were en route to the home. But it does not answer the question as to why she would need to call her mother when she was out searching “everywhere” (everywhere but…her mothers? everywhere, but…”down” where Aliayah can be located?)


911 what is your emergency?

This is Lena Lunsford my mom doesn’t have her.


She doesn’t have her she’s coming now. Oh my god.

You don’t know of any place she would have went there in the community? Is there a friend’s house nearby or somebody that she plays with?

No (crying)

Ok. Is there any place there in the community, a playground, or does she go to church anywhere there?

No. (crying) Help me find her.

The caller specifies her request for help: “help me find her”

I have an officer on the way mam, I need you to calm down ok. You’ve looked everywhere in the house


All the closets, under everything? Under every beds


Do you have a basement?


Its been checked too.

The passive language here suggests deception. It is likely that if police asked the children if they searched the basement, they would tell the police that they did not. Passive language is used to conceal identity often, or when a subject does not want to own a statement with the pronoun, “I” such as “I checked the basement too” especially since she said “I” previously, but then also said “we” drove up the streets…

Ok how about the vehicles outside?

Its been checked that’s what I used to go look for her.

She reported driving around for about an hour looking for her.

And you said that there’s other children in the residence?

Yes. (Noises)

Is she old enough where she would be able to reach the door handle?

Yes she is.

Oh my god. Here, please play with your brother for a minute. (talking to child)

What color is her hair?

She has brown hair and brown eyes.

Here the subject gives the additional info of the color of her eyes which would have been asked next. Was this rehearsed?

Do you know how much she weighs?

She weighs approximately 32 to 35 pounds.

Maybe a little more.

Ok. Do you know how tall she is?

Um I’m guessing around three feet I’m, I’m not for sure right now I’m sorry.

Please note that this is the 2nd time she has said “I’m sorry” to a 911 operator.

That’s ok. Was there anybody else in the residence with you this morning, any other adults?

No, umm the only adult that

The tape cut out here.

Other children in the residence?

Umm I have five kids.

OK so there’s 4 others in the residence?

There’s three right now.

Ok. Where is the other one?

My son is at visitation with his father.

Note: he is not visiting with his father, but “at visitation” suggests court ordered or supervised.

Ok. So you got up at 6:30 this morning with her?

Yes she got sick. Yes

This should be considered sensitive; via repetition and that the time frame is mentioned and she repeats about being sick. That the child was sick may prove vital in the investigation.

She went back to bed, went back to sleep and you laid down on


How old are your other children that are in

Ok did any of them see her this morning? What time did they get up?

The compound question is to be avoided.

They came in here umm, I’m not sure maybe around 7, 7:30, came in my room with me.

Please notice that the additional qualifiers are found when asked about timeframe.

“I’m not sure” is a qualifier

“maybe” is a qualifer

“around” is a qualifier, equally three in one sentence to this point, but then she says “7, 7″30,

which is the fourth. Investigators assuming that this is sensitive and deceptive would be correct. Overall, her time frames are sensitive and she does not appear truthful about them.

Ok you said 11 year old 9year old and 8 mos?


Ok can you look outside and see the officer?

Yes Inaudible Oh God.

In the front. Oh my god. Yes I see one out here.

Please note that in these two calls, she appeared to avoid talking about her husband, Aliayah’s step father. Statement Analysis means not only looking at the words chosen, but what is missing.

It can be assumed that the following are sensitive to Lena Lunsford:

  1. Time Frame
  2. Actual Searching
  3. “Up” versus “down”
  4. Her husband; Aliayah’s step father

It appears that she does not want them looking for Aliayah, as she has already told them that she has searched “everywhere” and that being only 3, she could not have walked far, but “we” have been “up” all the streets in the area.

It should be noted that twice she formed the words “I’m sorry” in this call. This is often an indicator of a form of regret; for some, they are sorry for what they have done (or failed to do) and for others, they are sorry for being caught.

It is likely that Lena Lunsford knows more than what she has said to police and may be directly involved, or may be covering up for someone else, including her husband. Careful interviewing and polygraphs should be conducted also with the grandmother, and from other statements, the aunt.

Others will weigh in on the crying; those trained in voice recognition, for example; though at times, to my untrained ear, the crying sounded contrived and forced.

911 Call Analysis Conclusion

Lena Lunsford is being deceptive by withholding information, and the searching, timeline and topic of her husband should all be considered sensitive areas for her.

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Aliayah Lunsford Allegedly Last Seen

  • 3116 days, 17 hours, 58 minutes ago

About Aliayah Lunsford

Age 3, Aliayah Lunsford's mother claims that she last saw her daughter at home on September 24, 2011 around 6:30 a.m.

Aliayah has brown eyes and hair, is around 3 foot tall and weighs about 30lbs.

Last seen wearing purple Dora the Explorer pajama bottoms, pink princess sweatshirt and no shoes, Aliayah's ears are pierced and she is missing four (4) front teeth.

If you have any information on her whereabouts, call the Lewis County Sheriff's Department at 304-269-8245.


What happened to Aliayah?

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