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Is Deborah Bradley Telling the Truth?

by | Oct 26, 2011 | Court Cases | 6 comments

Are the parents of Baby Lisa telling the truth? Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin say Lisa was abducted from their Kansas City, Missouri home.
But my training in deception detection and body language raises doubt. Take, for example, Deborah’s facial expressions.
Someone whose child has been abducted is gripped by fear, sadness, grief and depression. Involuntary facial muscles force the corners of the mouth to turn down.
Now watch the news video clips of Deborah crying. The corners of her mouth curl up in almost a slight smile. This is not the typical appearance of a mouth contorted by sadness.
Yes, we can see authentic tears. But just because someone is crying, that doesn’t mean that person is feeling sad. People can work themselves up into a tizzy and make themselves cry. Some actors shed tears almost at will.
Look at Jeremy. Notice that he rarely looks up into the camera. When Deborah talks and cries on camera, he doesn’t hug her or comfort her in any way. He’s emotionless. His eyes flit over to her for a second, then back down. He breaks gaze. His forehead is smooth, not wrinkled in pain or distress. Does this body language signify a seriously shy and introverted guy? Or, is it shame and guilt? I don’t see any sense of concern in his facial expressions or body language.
We’ve seen this kind of performance before in the notorious cases of Casey Anthony and Susan Smith. Deborah, Casey and Susan all made tearful and televised claims that their missing children had been abducted. But in all three cases, their words and body language told a different story.
In 1994, Susan, then a 23-year-old South Carolina mother, strapped her toddlers into the back seat of her car and rolled it into a lake. The national television audience was transfixed for days by Susan’s claim that her car was hijacked by a black man, and her seemingly anguished pleas for the childrens’ return. Trained investigators quickly saw right through her act.
And, of course, there’s Casey, the 22-year-old Orlando mother who claimed her missing 2-year-old daughter Caylee had been kidnapped by a nanny. Casey’s lies – for which she was convicted in July – sent detectives on a wild goose chase all over Orange County trying to find the little girl. Granted, Casey was acquitted of the first-degree murder charge in Caylee’s death. But my observations, based on my training, were at odds with what the jury and other spectators saw.
For example, recall on June 9, prosecutors showed the jury a gruesome photograph of Caylee’s skull with images of duct tape superimposed over Caylee’s airways. That’s how prosecutors believe Caylee was smothered.
Judge Belvin Perry adjourned the trial soon after the display, saying Casey was “ill.”
But that’s not what I saw. From my perspective, Casey was having a panic attack. I saw fear and worry. Her nose crinkled up several times which is indicative of someone recalling an odor and something that was disgusting to her.
Ultimately, no matter how hard you try, you cannot hide your true emotions. Your feelings will be revealed to the world in your words, actions and body language.