Communication Analysis (December 2008)
In June 2008, Casey Anthony's 2-year old daughter Caylee disappeared. After months of investigation, the Sheriff's department of Orange County, Florida arrested Casey Anthony and charged her with 1st degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and providing false information to law enforcement. Lab tests had determined that the trunk of her car had chemicals that could only have been produced by a dead body, but investigators were unable to find Caylee's body. Last week, Caylee's skeletal remains were found by a county meter reader near the home of her grandparents, George and Cindy Anthony.
Several months ago, I examined Casey Anthony's handwritten statement, provided to police on July 14, 2008, approximately one month after Caylee's disappearance. I pointed out a number of traits in Casey's handwriting that are characteristic of liars.
Communication analysis is a technique that is used to evaluate the verbal statements of suspects and witnesses for the purpose of identifying sensitive, deceptive or missing information. Today, let's perform a communication analysis of Casey Anthony's statement.
In one paragraph, Casey wrote,
"After dropping Caylee off at Zenaida's apartment, I proceeded to head to my place of employment, Universal Studios Orlando. I have worked at Universal studios for over 4 years, since June of 2004. I left work around 5pm, and went back to the apartment to pick-up my daughter."
There are a number of few red flags in this single paragraph:
- "After dropping Caylee off at Zenaida's apartment" -- Using the words "after" or "afterwards" instead of a specific time indicates that the writer is being evasive.
- "I proceeded to head to my place of employment" -- Why not just say "I went to work." The words "proceeded" and "headed" may indicate that this action was never completed.
- "since June of 2004" -- Words like "since" and "because" answer an unasked question. Unnecessary explanations often follow or precede a lie. Casey never worked at Universal Studios.
- "I left work around 5pm." -- Qualifying "5pm" with the word "Around," again, indicates that the writer is evasive about time.
- "my daughter" -- Casey has changed from using the name "Caylee" to the words "my daughter." Using language that distanced herself from Caylee is an indication that at the time of this statement, Caylee was already dead.
I expect that prosecutors will use quite a bit of communication analysis to pick apart Casey Anthony's many – and seemingly contradictory – statements as they prepare for her upcoming trial. Click here to see Casey Anthony's handwriting and to read my handwriting profile on her handwriting.
Michelle Dresbold is a nationally known handwriting expert and personality profiler. Are you a doodler? Have a personal question or problem? Mail your doodles and handwritten letters to: The Handwriting Doctor, P.O. Box 1161, Monroeville, PA 15146.