Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Professional Analyst Says Fred's Statement to Police is Deceptive

I've been communicating with a professional forensic statement analyst for a while about Fred Murray's statement to police about the events leading up to his daughter's disappearance. Since some of this has come to light on other messageboards, I figured I would take the time to share what he discovered.

Peter Hyatt is an expert at finding the hidden subtext behind a person's words. Check out his analysis of a statement related to the Amanda Knox case.

Back in January, we exchanged messages about Fred's official statement to police. Here is what he said:
It is going to take considerable time to dig into it, but something is very wrong.    
Note the dropped pronoun "I" in the first paragraph, and then its appearance later. 
Note that in 29 lines, he takes 25 to introduce his daughter going missing.  The overwhelming number of deceptive statements have lengthy introductions. 
There is something very bothersome about it.   
Do police suspect him?  Is he just a lousy father, or is there more? 
They should suspect him. 
It may be that he is deceptive due to purchasing alcohol, driving under the influence, etc, but the focus of that statement is he, himself, and not his missing daughter. 

At the Quality Inn, he wishes "not" to be there.  Was there anything untoward about their relationship? 

Hyatt shared Fred's statement on a blog devoted to analysis.

Here's what other investigators picked up on:
Missing pronouns.
Pronoun changes from "We" to "I" to "They"
No social introductions.
"Asked" then Told"
"A couple of beers"
Jumps in time.
Yeah missing pronouns all over the place and out of order time line...sounds like 3/4 fabrication and an argiment took place...I told..she told...etc 
Ok.. I have re-read the statement twice and it is truly hard to follow. The "tale" he tells is so out of order that it makes no sense. This is the first I've heard of this case and I think it makes it even more difficult to follow. 
Although, maybe I would be assuming as I read through the statement if I did have some knowledge or background. I'm going to read the other comments now and see if I can piece it together : 
"at first he stated no" ahhh -- is he talking about himself in third person briefly? 
who was driving throughout all of this?? was he having her drive his car? why would he need to ask her to take him back to the hotel if it was his car? 
why does he call his hotel room "the" room instead of his room. is it because he always intended to share it with his daughter? 
why did she have a friend accompany them?? did she not want to be alone wit her father? 
why does he remember to clearly her slumped over walking back to her dorm???? after spending night in his hotel room with him. why did he know so clearly that she was still asleep when he woke up? 
The one thing that really stood out to me from this statement was the sensitivity surrounding drinking and the time he spent with his daughter and her friend. He is precise of about the number of drinks everyone had (says he had 2, which Peter has indicated is the usual number given by those who have had more than 2 (though it would also be given by those who had 2). His uncertainty about going to the liquor store with the girls and when that occurred, suggests possibly he had way more than 2 and forgot, and/or confirms the sensitivity concerning alcohol and his time with his daughter and her friend and a need to be evasive or not forthcoming about it. I also see this to some extent in the statement "that is why I came up that weekend" -- that he feels a need to give a reason why he was visiting his daughter may indicate his intent in going there is questionable (though not necessarily in the context of explaining to the police his reasons for visiting) 
Another thing that jumped out at me is his desire to suggest repeatedly that he wanted to be taken back to the hotel, but the girls wanted to stay/go out. This happens twice in the statement. First when he asks to be taken back to the motel but his daughter had him go pick up her friend and then end up at the restaurant (bar?) and again when he says he asked to be taken back to the motel and he told them it was too late to go out. This looks a little like victim blaming but also just doesn't make sense -- a parent might be talked out of going back to the hotel by his college age daughter, but for this to come up twice to me suggests he's aware that he needs to explain why he's hanging out partying with college girls (going to the restaurant, out then back again, then to the liquor store??? Good grief). 
Missing pronouns. 
**that** is why I came up that weekend
Justifies why he was there. Akin to alibi building.
An astute analyst also noted something that about that interview with Fred on Montel:

Past tense used a few times. One time when he went to say “we were buddies, he stopped and switched to “we’re buddies”. This is at 3:15 in the video if anyone else wants to list to this part.


  1. This is an incredible "get" for this case. I've been wanting this guy to analyze this case for a while now. Way to go, James!

  2. Honestly, I think this "statement analysis" thing is the same sort of hokey pseudo-science as the "micro-expressions" stuff the show Lie to Me was based on. There aren't nearly enough studies, etc. to back it up.

    1. AB - I agree that there are individuals that believe themselves to be 'experts' in this field, but looking for tells in the behaviors and words of others is what people do all-day-every-day. If you've ever been in a argument with your significant other, then you've probably had to sift through the words and emotion to find the truth.
      People lie, liars lie, people that don't want to admit things lie, killers lie.
      Psychopaths and sociopaths lie and manipulate voluminously.
      This seems like a great follow-up for the book and if Renner could afford it perhaps having a second or third opinion from other forensic examiners would help things look more objective.

    2. The show Lie To Me was based on Dr. Eckman, who is considered the world's leading expert on body language. It is no pseudo science. Some people (Dr. Eckman calls them Truth Wizards) dont even require training on reading body language and expressions. It's a natural ability for them, typically born of necessity due to the circumstances of their lives. In fact, we use colloquialisms all the time to express this fact, for instance, "I can read you like a book." The only people who are difficult to read are psychopaths and this is because they do not experience their emotions, they fake them. But even then, someone who has expereince can tell when deception is occurring, they just cannot discern exactly what the deception is from these people. For example, when a person like this is lying their pupils won't dilate. Also, when someone is lying intentionally (not out of feelings of guilt or shame, etc, but a clear and calculated intention to deceive) they actually maintain eye contact, contrary to popular belief, because they want to see that their "victim" is believing their lie. Also, people who lie cannot repeat their story backwards. Events that are truly experienced create memory traces in our brain so to recall the events backwards is not impossible for them. But when a story is made up (a lie), there is no memory trace...no bread crumb trail in our minds to follow back out of the woods....and so liars cannot repeat the story backwards. The physiological changes in our bodies that occur during times of duress, such as the kind a nonpsychopath feels while telling a lie, have been recorded and studied for decades. It is the whole premise of lie detector tests. Watching someone's body language however, for those who have the ability to do it, is far more accurate than any polygraph test and it is truly like reading a person as if you were reading a book. It may perhaps be daunting to assume that in all of our endless variety we can be assessed by one standard of body language, but it is the truth. we are all just humans after all, made of the same dust as the ground we walk on. So.... pseudo science ? hardly :)

    3. I agree. I believe the doubters are those who don't like the conclusions.

    4. That's always the case Hans! Just like people who dont like bossy people are bossy people themselves, and people who get angry over others having the last word are the ones who truly want the last word lol People are funny and quite predictable :)

    5. http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100526/full/465412a.html

      Dr. Ekman and his associates are essentially a small group of fringe researchers... his findings have not been accepted by the scientific community at large. What's next -- Truthers?

    6. There will always be people who are dubious of burgeoning sciences, much as Columbus had his critics when he claimed the world was round. Like all things, time will reveal its true worth. Perhaps you would enjoy reading Dr. Eckman's outline of his address to the U.S. House of Representatives about the SPOT program employed by theTSA.


      And then there is this which is just for fun. Check it out and see if you can tell the difference between a fake smile and a real one.


      As far as the article you quoted, there is only nominal information on the events that unfolded. We only know he wasnt a terrorist and that the TSA agents were wrong about that. We dont know that he wasnt acting suspiciously for another reason. I respect your opinion, truly, but I respctfully disagree. I also hope that people who share your view never find themselves in a situation where they need to understand someone else's body language in order to assess the level of safety of the situation, because I am afraid disaster would ensue lol

    7. Columbus didn't say the world was round. He didn't need to. Everyone knew the world was round in Columbus's time. Everyone knew the world was round a thousand years before Columbus' time. Columbus went to look for a new passage to India - not to prove the world was round.

      What you are quoting is a myth, and a silly myth. Good reminder that just because a thing is widely believed doesn't make it true. Something all the haters of this blog might care to remember.

  3. So what are you suggesting that Fred has to do with this, or knows about this? We know that on the 9th, his last phone call was at 6:21 pm. If that call was made from where he was supposed to be at the time, in Bridgeport, CT, it is a physical impossibility for him to have gotten to northern NH to do anything to Maura, or even to have gone to Amherst and done something to Maura. Atwood called the police at 7:43 pm. Maura had to have vanished around that time. So what is it that you are trying to suggest? I'm curious.

    1. Where are getting Fred's last call time/location? Is it on this blog? Have you seen the records?

    2. My interpretation is that Fred knows more details about why she is missing but refuses to open up about it as it may incriminate him or tarnish his reputation. I don't think he knows for a fact whether she is dead or alive, however he knows why she left and that reason gives him a good idea of what happened to her. I still say she committed suicide or started a new life. 80% / 20% odds respectively.

    3. Yes, his phone records are on this blog in two locations (that I am aware of):



    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. So i just viewed the link for the analysis and read through all the comments. There is a prolific commenter on that thread who calls herself Shelley. She typed up the transcript for Fred's appearance on Montel. I just read the following lines that Fred Murray said on the show:

    D: Yes which is uh what frustrates me so much now because that means that when the police got there she was no more than 200 yards down the street, all they had to do was drive down around the corner, they coulda grabbed her and Maura would be here with me now. But they didn’t do that and she is not here with me now

    There are a few things alarming about this to me. The first is he said the Police "could have grabbed her". Interesting choice of words for someone who believed his daughter was in distress and needed help. Why not say they "could have helped her or found her?" Instead he says grabbed, which is an agressive word used to describe an attempt at reaching something that is fleeing or moving swiftly. Also, he said that "she would be here with me now" . He aactually used this twice. It is a very posessive statement. Perhaps not if coupled by a concern also for her well being and wishes, but when stated only by itself, it is very selfish and posessive and testifies to how he views her disappearance...an infraction on him. There is a lot to be said about word choice because our brains and our mouths do not operate at the same speed. And Freud said there are no such things as accidents :)

  5. also, I forgot to mention, he says she was 200 yards down the street. Thats an interesting choice of words, especially for someone who claimed she would be dead and naked on a mountain. If he was uncertain of her intentions in travelling up there, he would have said" in a 200 yard radius" or something of the sort instead of saying she was 200 yards down the street, acknowledging that she had a destination and it was along that road. There is just a lot to be discerned from that little statement if you ask me!

  6. I wonder though if Fred's statement was something he actualy wrote himself, or rather something the police/interviewer typed up from an interview/conversation with him. That would explain the 3rd person? Still an odd statement howver

  7. I don't think Fred's statement is really that odd. When he says '200 yards down the street', I think he's trying to reenact in his mind what would've been a more logical choice. It's more probable that when Maura left the crash site that she walked on the road as opposed to walked off into the dark, snowy woods; I have to agree with him there. What also justifies the statement is that dogs tracked her scent 100 yards down the road & there was also the sighting of a person along route 112 who may have been Maura. There's more reason to say she was 'down the street' than any alternative. And when he said Maura 'would be here with me now', I don't think that's a suspicious statement either. He is displaying his reality, his here & now. I would want my loved one with me 'here & now' if they'd disappeared too; I'd want to grab them back & have them with me too! Because I love them so much you know. I realise there is a tonne of speculation toward Fred Murray but I just don't see the guy as guilty at all. In the 'Disappeared' episode, I felt dreadfully sorry for him, especially when he said, I have to look for her as long as I'm strong enough I'll come here and look for her, if I didn't, I don't think I could live with myself. Do you guys think Fred is really being that deceptive? Interested in your additional thoughts.

    1. I appreciate your thoughts. Remember though that Fred was critical of the results of the search dogs efforts. He said they used a glove she only wore once and therefore the results were unreliable. He also mentioned that she would most likely be found dead and naked on a mountain, indicating at one time he believed that she wandered off into the woods. And again, I was trying to point out the things that we say in response to our subconcious. But anyways, without revisiting that, i dont know if I have an opinion on how Fred was involved to a complete degree. All I know is that his behavior and his words have been inconsistent, to a large degree uncooperative, and his body language is suspicious to me. When you have a missing child, that's a trifecta of red flags.

    2. How would Fred know if Maura only wore the gloves once, or say, five times? That seems to be such an odd comment to me.

  8. Something for everyone to keep in mind when referring to Fred's demeanor of sorrow or Fred's demeanor of deception and such on TV shows like Disappeared and Montel; the shows are edited. A TV show can make things, such as a persons demeanor and character, look the total opposite from how it truly it most of the time. A TV show can paint something in one light when it reality, its not so.

    For example, take the episode of Disappeared. They mentioned on the show about the mysterious caller to Billy that sounded like a woman crying and whimpering which they believe to be Maura. It was proven that the mysterious caller was a woman from the Red Cross calling about an unrelated issue. But that fact of who the real caller was and why they were calling, that was never corrected in the episode of Disappeared. Instead they allow the viewer to continue to believe that the caller was possibly a crying Maura.

    TV shows, while honestly wanting to be helpful, also want to make things look dramatic/suspenseful/etc to maximize how much a viewer is drawn in to increase ratings, so they attempt to edit things that will bring the best possibly rating results, even if that means not allowing the 100% truth of what took place to be shown to viewers.

  9. You are absolutely right. That is why it really should only be left up to trained professionals to analyze behavior :)

    1. This case doesn't need to be twisted into a new light though, the true story as is at its core is bizarre enough to capture a viewer and draw them in.

    2. "That is why it really should only be left up to trained professionals to analyze behavior :)"


      I'm not sure that this was specifically what you were referring to, but I want to note that the analysis above from Peter Hyatt's blog does not come from "trained professionals". That's all just from armchair detectives like the people on this blog--some of them are knowledgeable for sure, just as a lot of people are here, but they are not professionals by any stretch.

      I've read a fair amount of Peter Hyatt's blog and he is a pro for sure. I think he's kind of a blowhard and that that occasionally negatively affects his analysis, but most of it is solid. I'd like to read more on Maura's case from the man himself. Good call Renner.

    3. I wasn't talking about those commenters and I agree with everything you said @jhonez :) With the exception that I inferred that a few of them are most likely students reading the analysis for a project. So maybe professionals someday :)

  10. "There's no letting go," said Murray, a medical technician in Bridgeport, Conn. "My daughter wouldn't want me to quit on her. She'd want me to keep trying to find out who grabbed her."

    "I don't think she'd put us through this," he said. "She would have called me. I can't imagine her not calling. We were close, you know?"

    "She was out there helpless," her father said. "Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. No one to ask for help. I think some local dirt bag grabbed her."

    "If I saw the case records, I would know what I have to chase myself," Murray said. "You get frustrated and it gnaws at you. You can't get rid of it."

    More of Fred's statements from a Huffington Post article.