- Do not believe everything the police say in public. How the police work on TV shows is not necessarily how they work in real life.
- The police can make mistakes. The person they "hint" committed the crime may not be the real criminal.
- Just because family members have stopped working with the police or refuse to take polygraphs does not indicate they are guilty, no matter what the public message might be.
A couple in a major US city was murdered in their home. The police were stumped with very few real leads or clues. Because the couple was well respected and loved with no known enemies, the adult children were considered suspects, even though none of them lived in the same town.
Knowing that family members are always suspects and wanting to be eliminated as quickly as possible, the adult children all agreed to take polygraphs. The results were "inconclusive," according to the police. Even though none of the kids was in town at the time of the deaths, they were kept as the prime suspects.
No matter what the adult children did, the police were convinced that they were involved. The police tried unsuccessfully to get the kids to turn on each other. They SUCCESSFULLY got other relatives -- aunts and uncles -- to believe that the kids were involved. The kids as a group agreed they would no longer cooperate with the police -- no more polygraphs, no more interrogations, nothing. The relatives would say if they were innocent why weren't they cooperating with the police? A major rift was caused in the family and for about 10 years the kids were the only suspects.
Does this series of events sound familiar? How many times have you heard in the news that family members of a victim have stopped cooperating with the police? How many times have you heard that polygraph results were "inconclusive"? How many times did you automatically assume the family members were guilty? (If they were innocent, they wouldn't refuse to help, would they?)
Let's leap ahead 10 years.
A serial sexual criminal broke his parole and was being sent back to jail. He said he would tell the police who committed the unrelated 10-year-old murder if it would keep him out of jail. He gives up his brother as the murderer, who at that time was living in a different state. The police in this other state bring in the suspect and the suspect admits he killed the couple.
The murderer is convicted and sentenced to death. He is currently sitting on Death Row.
Did the police apologize to the children? Did the police apologize to the aunts and uncles? Did the other relatives ever admit they were wrong? Did the police admit they lied about the polygraphs? Did anyone ever say, "Oops"?
The answer is a resounding NO!
Some relatives still feel it would have been solved quicker if the kids had continued to cooperate -- even though the police had absolutely no other suspects, were not looking for anyone and had lied to everyone.
So, when I see a family that has experienced a tragedy -- such as having their daughter kidnapped from their home -- that is no longer cooperating with the police, I immediately feel a great deal of sympathy for them. I wonder if they are being subjected to the same police games. I know there is a chance they are completely innocent and the police are making a tragedy even worse.
There are plenty of cases, such as Susan Smith, where the supposed victim was guilty of the crime that made national news. But, there are just as many situations where the police abuse a family, lie to a family and have tunnel vision so severely they cannot see the truth. And the fact the family was victimized twice is rarely a front-page story.