Does Tiffany Hartley’s Body Language, Facial and Vocal Tells Indicate Deception?


With the illegal immigration issues and anti-Mexican sentiment  that is prevalent  in so many  US border communities, the news story of Tiffany Hartwell,  who alleges her husband was shot in the head by some Mexican pirates on Falcon Lake,  seems to have  hit a nerve.

It  generates the fear that if you go into Mexico you may not come out alive. In fact Texas Governor Richard  Perry has even rallied behind the incident.  Jane Velez Mitchell even went so far as calling the woman a “hero.”

But in my view I see nothing heroic about this woman. In fact what I see are many signals of deception in her body language  and communication patterns that I  find disturbing.

While  there  been reports of Mexican pirates in the past, they   were all unharmed as the intention of the pirates  were all about robbery, not shooting for sport.


The shoulder shrugs, lip licking, like um and ums, monotone,  verbal inconsistencies in her story and choice of words make me question what really happened to her husband.

In her  911 call, she is asked if she is sure her husband has been shot, She said “yes in his head .But she doesn’t go on to elaborate about him- the alleged victim. She doesn’t say that  he was bleeding or incapacitated, which would happen if someone was in the head. Instead, she provides herself with an excuse or an alibi for his non survival and for her actions  by saying she is too weak to pull his body unto her Jet Ski. She was forced to abandon him there.

When something tragic happens to someone, you focus  on the person, not on yourself and what you did in the incident, unless you are perhaps involved in the incident.

Also how did she abandon him? Did she abandon him as he was frantically paddling in the water? Did he go underwater and drown? If a person is shot in the head as she said, especially with an assault weapon, brain damage would likely occur and the person may become unconscious and sink to the bottom of the lake.


When I saw the initial ABC interview of Tiffany Hartley it left me with a very  negative feeling and here is why.

The ABC interviewer says  to Tiffany that one of the reasons Mexican authorities aren’t helping her is because they don’t believe her- that they didn’t find a body or a jet ski and don’t even think there is a body.

Then she looks away and says that she can understand it from their point of  view  and has to put herself in their point of view to see how they could think that . WHAT???? There is no point of view if someone you love has been shot.

The fact that she stuck out her tongue and did some lip licking as she said this is a signal of deception in my view.

Her monotone voice as she said this was also disturbing.Then there is a HUGE signal of deception.

She looks down and shakes her head as she says It’s not only to immediately contradict herelf and say It is  true He is over there ( as she licks her lips while looking down) and I know the pirates or whoever did this (shakes her head NO) did this have him.

Wait a minute! How does she know the   pirates have him if   she abandoned him in the lake as she said she did because  was too small to get him on her jet ski? Also her saying  whoever did this may possibly reveal that someone else did this. Was that someone whoever did this -Tiffany?

Now here is where it really gets suspicious body language wise, voice and speech  pattern wise. Oftentimes and overly  defensive tone or righteous indignation indicate deception. This  was evident as she leans her body back and in a defensive tone says I would never think about hurting my husband said in a monotone as we suddenly see her  jaw move in a chewing motion as though she is causally chewing gum ! When you see this sudden type  of jaw movement it is often a signal of deception.

Then she asks  the rhetoric question “Why would I do this? as she leans back shrugs her shoulder and dies off in volume at the end of the sentence. This is a clear signal of deception. Oftentimes when one asks a question like this in a defensive tone, it usually indicates deception.


A week  after Tiffany called 911 and said she abandoned her husband because  he was too heavy for her to get up on her jet skis he now says I do believe they have him and they are hiding him WHAT?????  How would she know this if she allegedly abandoned him in the lake as she initially said  she did.

When asked about damage to the jet skis, she reports on the show that  there were no bullets on her jet ski. This was  too much information and often indicates deception.

Besides the defensive tone, the like um’s peppered throughout her speech, monotone devoid of emotion, faux tears and lip licking  were  major  giveaways throughout the interview that did not instill confidence as to whether or not she was telling the truth.


Tiffany is supposed to be talking about the alleged tragedy to that occurred to Fox and Friends but manages tell Gretchen Carlson that her show was  her husbands favorite show and how he watched it every morning. That is rather inappropriate considering the circumstances.She immediately became star struck.


Now we really see Tiffany all spruced up at her press conference. She clearly seemed to be enjoying all of her new-found attention. As  she defensively  says I know what I  saw,  we see her tell-tale tongue protrusion.

Then she says that people don’t know how it feels to see a barrel of a gun  pointed at you.WHAT??? This is the first time we heard about a barrel of a gun pointed at her. How could she be so close to seeing  a barrel of a gun – an assault weapon as she first described without being shot herself. Didn’t she say that her husband was on  his  jet ski when he was shot in the head- in the back of the head?

As she says this you see  her looking down and you see a shoulder shrug which is indicative of deception.

How could he see a barrel of a gun if the gun was pointed at her husbands back of his head?  And speaking of head, why did she point to the front  of her own head in one of the many  interviews she gave when describing where her husband was shot.

Why didn’t she point to the back of her own head instead of pointing to the front? Could it be that her husband was shot  in the front of his head and not the back as she initially reported? Could it be that she was possibly the shooter and not the alleged pirates or teenagers or whomever has him?

Then as she says she is there to honor her husband, we see her leak out an interesting signal of deception. She shakes he head NO in the negative while she says this. Is she really there to honor  her husband orto honor her own 15 more minutes of fame?


I also don’t  buy into the fact that there was an alleged eye witness who has now come forward with the  claim he saw the man’s panicked wife as she fled to the American side of the lake. He doesn’t say that he saw  the man who was allegedly shot.He doesn’t say that he saw exactly what happened. And how close was he to her in order to see her teaars and sobbing?

He said “ The way I saw her come around it looked like something terribly wrong happened. I mean, she was jittery, frantic. … She was crying, sobbing.”

Why was she crying an sobbing? Was she crying and sobbing because she hd just killed her husband and life as she knew it was now over?   The fact that the witness spoke in shadow and with voice alteration to avoid identification because he said he feared for his life is also disturbing to me.



If someone has nothing to hide they will not only insist on taking a polygraph. they will even offer up blood or hair samples. So the fact that she uses the word “may” and is hesitant is cause for concern. There are  so many inconsistencies in her story that a  polygraph test  test could validate.

But we  don’t need a polygraph test to confirm that something doesn’t seem  right here. www.


40 thoughts on “Does Tiffany Hartley’s Body Language, Facial and Vocal Tells Indicate Deception?

  1. I have yet to see one tear from her eyes. I agree with your astute observations. She is constantly shaking her head, licking her lips and saying um, uh, um. Her new frightening statement is “I just want his body back so we can be DONE with this.” And “I just want this to be over.” Very disturbing statements from a supposed “loved one”.


  2. thank you for your analysis. I only saw one TV interview and was struck by how I “felt” that she was lying. Body language, as you so aptly interpret, does give many valuable clues.


  3. I was hoping you would comment on her. As Marianne stated above I never saw a tear from Tiffany. However, most TV coverage seems to believe the whole story. Your comments are interesting and I agree there is deception here.


  4. I always wondered why she just didn’t push her husband’s body with the jet ski to get him back to shore, or perhaps grab hold of his life vest and drag him along with her.


    1. Jon Dana
      There is no whoops here. It only suggest that these are persons of interest. Politically Mexico had to do something as the eyes of the world were upon them. If they continued on as they were did nothing ,it could have a huge impact on their tourism industry. There is no doubt that pirates have been reported in the past but they have never killed anyone. They were only interested in robbing. No mater how many suspects are ID’d or how many pirates confess, it still does NOT change the fact that this woman cannot keep her stories straight and that she has exhibited multiple signals of deception on a consistent basis.


  5. if he was wearing a life jacket why was he face down in the water as she said? life jackets are desiogened to stop that happening so he would be face up.
    She also said she tried to get him back on her jetski. if you saying you are getting something back on then it was on before so he was on her jetski not his own.
    Cinsidering he was supposedly shot in the head, head wounds bleed like buggery and the water around him would have been awash in blood. that blood and water would have soaked into the fabric of her clothing since she was also in the water with him and also into the seams of her life vest. it would not be a near invisible smear of blood her clothes would have been tinged with blood since it stains. have they tested her clothes for blood?
    The sooner they pull her in for a polygraph the sooner the truth wil be uncovered. if she has nothing to hide she should be demanding one just to shut the doubters up and thus allowing LE to then concetrate on finding the killer. guilty people will delay or refuse a polygraph because they know they will fail, heck she can’t even keep her story straigh from interview to interview.


      1. If you let go of the throttle and it suddenly stops, would you pitch forward? Not arguing, just asking. I know if I were to stop my bike suddenly (especially with front brake) I could go over the front.


      2. I thought the same! I just watched the dr Phil episode where she spoke about the incident and that was red flag number one. Number two was her saying the boats were ahead and to the left and right and David got in between her and the boats and she looked “back at David”.. I thought he was in front of you! And how can he get between her and three boats spread out to both the left and right anyway? After that, I stopped watching and looked up statement analysis on her and was not surprised to find so many doubters.


  6. If she had try to pull him up on her jetski then there woud be blood all over her and her jetski. Head wond bled alot. Evny if he was kill by a 22 short bullet she woud have been cobery in blood. The law will lie with jer and make up story as they do all the time to help there case. I dont belive the cops and i dont belive her eather


  7. I am so glad you are analyzing Tiffany. So many people want to just take her word for things even though so much of her story is suspicious.

    My thoughts are these: She was planning this for some time. She admitted knowing there was a pirate threat on Falcon Lake.

    Where are David’s truck keys? We know he was driving the truck because of the DPS dash cam. Most of the time the driver keeps the keys, so how did she manage to get the truck, trailer and jet ski back home?

    If David was wearing a life vest his body should be found. I wonder if she took the vest off, and then shot the jet ski to sink it?


  8. I read this article and all I could think was how poorly it is written, grammatically all over the place.

    Is this mean of me to say so? I’m sorry but I do find integrity in people who at least proof reads their blog.

    “”””””Then as she says she i there to honor her husband, we she her leak out an interesting signal of deception. She shakes he head NO in the negative while she says this. Is she really the to honor her 15 more minutes of fame?”””””””


  9. Besides her utterly non-griefstricken demeanor, I was struck by her comment that she “feels that authorities should be looking ON LAND for her husband’s body, as the Mexicans are known for dismembering and leaving parts and pieces of a body around to serve as “lessons to others who might dare to traverse the Falcon Lake.” REALLY? SHE thinks the Mexicans retrieved David’s body that SHE abandoned in the water, just for a litle slicing and dicing and then some land transferral, instead of leaving his body for somebody else to find? Wow, Tiffany should be an investigator herself!(NOT)


  10. Some really valid points have been made here, by commentors. I doubted the woman’s story nearly from the beginning, in large part because of a statement she had made to the media. I’m sorry; I searced and searched but can’t find the particular report I had read, so can’t provide a link.
    And since I can’t find it, I also can’t quote her verbatim, but she had said, when talking about her husband, something like this…
    “He loved me. He took care of me. He did this, he did that. He loved me.” Not once, at least in that report, did she say “I loved him” or “I love him.” It seemed to be about what he did for her, not what she did for him. Wish I could locate that article.


  11. I found it! Provided link above. Here is what she said….

    “He was my life. He did everything for me. He took care of me. He provided for me. He loved me unconditionally. He was my rock,” she told the CNN affiliate, her voice cracking with emotion.


  12. Dr. Lillian,
    In the interview with Gretchen Carlson above, Gretchen asks her if she knew of the dangers. Tiffany responds with a nonsensical answer, then says “we had no idea anything was gonna happen that day….obviously” then does a really, really weird thing with her mouth. It makes me uncomfortable just watching it. What do you think about that particular reaction? It’s in the very beginning of the segment, probably within the first minute.



  13. She was on the Today show again this morning with her MIL. Not one tear came from her eyes or any emotion came from her, while her MIL sat beside her barely able to keep it together long enough to talk.

    The lip licking and all the “uh, you know” were there again.

    I do not believe her. David is either alive and well in Mexico waiting on insurance money, or she killed him and is desperate to get ahold of that insurance money for herself.

    Hopefully she will get desperate enough to give away too much information about his whereabouts, then the police will hopefully nab her.

    She was smart to claim all this happened on the Mexican side of the river.


  14. Some people lick their lips when they are on national TV being accused of murder and they are an innocent victim themselves.

    I admire her courage and the strength it must take to keep going on TV. I hope she continues until her beloved husband is found.

    I believe her.


  15. Tiffany was just on Anderson Cooper. Is she smiling? She now states that in the one boat near her “I saw two people but there was a third or fourth person in that boat, I just didn’t see them. ” Huh? How does she know that if she didn’t see them. Maybe she was on that boat at some time. And she mentioned laying a wreath
    of flowers in the lake in davids honor and adds
    oddly at the end of the statement “especially his
    favorite color”. She sure adds lots of details.



    Tiffany’s story is still corny,but,something new:

    “David was protecting me (on his Jet Ski), he was between
    me and the boat’s. He was doing his job as a husband,
    but, he did to good of a job”

    Don’t think he protecting her as a shield, between the boat’s and her, on his jet ski. I wonder if there is snippet of truth trying to protect her?


  17. I also didnt think everything rang true. I dont think i would do so many interviews let alone one if i had something that traumatic happen.


  18. Does the demise of the mexican investigator in this case change anyones thoughts on whether Tiffany is being truthful?

    Donna – October 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm


    Maybe, naming two suspects, may have been the reason,
    or he was invading on the terrority of the bads guys, and disrupting their business.


  19. She mentions “3” boats. Didn’t Misty Cummings mention the “3’s” alot? I wonder if anyone knows what time she said this occured?

    Also, her licking could be her need for drugs (Misty Cummings did this quite a bit when arrested).

    Also, she is collecting ‘funds’ for David. Huh? Why?

    I think she is 100% lying and I hope they figure it out soon. So sad that the lead investigator searching in that area due to her story has now been killed. It will be a real shame to find out that others truly were killed due to her fabricated story and need for attention.


  20. It makes me wonder what David’s parents really think about his death? I watched the first interview, but honestly, I had to watch about 10 minutes before I knew what I was watching. This was no grieving widow….I didn’t know who she was…..I was shocked to find out she is the widow! The longer she talked, the more she was unemotional. That’s not normal. And, since then all the interviews are casual and very relaxed….chewing gum and it’s unbelievable she just lost her husband and has no grief. She’s not even sad! And, one tear, that was all she could muster her up! She’s going to jail and soon.


  21. I think it is very possible that Tiffany and David were drug runners. Why would they live in Mexico? He had a good US job. Living in Mexico would make it a lot easier for them to be in the middle of the drug trade. Tiffany admitted to knowing about the pirates, but wasn’t afraid. Maybe that was because they both knew the pirates personally. This is one of my theories.

    I believe they could have been exchanging money for drugs and something went wrong. He did the exchange while she hung back. She saw him killed, but can’t say why.

    Anther theorie is that David is alive and well living in Mexico waiting on the insurance money. If that is the case, he very well could have a very long wait.

    Third. Tiffany killed him because she was sick of him and wanted the insurance money. I hope it blows up in her face.

    One thing is for sure. Tiffany loves the spotlight. She was on the Today show again yesterday. I couldn’t stand to watch her. She is so proud of herself.


  22. At the Statement Analysis web site, we continue to cover this story, and wholely support Dr. Glass’ analysis with Statement Analysis of Tiffany’s own words.

    Tiffany uses passive language, which is employed to hide identity or responsibility.
    Tiffany frequently changes her story.
    Tiffany’s in laws have not appeared on tv shows with her for weeks now. Dr. Glass said that they would likely talk among themselves and see Tiffany’s inconsistencies.

    Tiffany appeared on the Dr. Phil show on Nov. 1. I hope Dr. Glass does body language analysis, including Tiffany’s hand covering her mouth when she said that David flew forward over the jet ski.

    I believe that Dr. Glass will help us see many more indicators of deception in this short interview.

    Peter Hyatt


  23. Posting years after because it has been made a new topic again on Peter Hyatts blog.

    Responding to comments above.

    “I think it is very possible that Tiffany and David were drug runners”
    ****she would still be emotional and traumitized if her husband was murdered. She s not.

    “Maybe that was because they both knew the pirates personally”
    ****Pirates are not drug dealers. They steal. they dont typially kill people. And again, she would still be traumitized

    “I believe they could have been exchanging money for drugs and something went wrong. He did the exchange while she hung back. She saw him killed, but can’t say why”
    ****she would still be emotional and traumitized if her husband was murdered. She s not.


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