EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

More on Jay's Ride-Along Notes and The Mom Call

On Monday's Addendum Episode, we talked about the notes from the ride-along that Jay did with detectives on March 18, 1999. Here are the notes in which Jay explains how he dropped Adnan off (late) for track practice on January 13, 1999:

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.41.45 AM

I described the listed phone call as "The Mom Call."

This isn't the first time that Jay referenced The Mom Call. In his second recorded interview on March 15th (page 20), Jay indicated that he believed Adnan received a phone call from his mother when he was dropping him off at track practice. This also wouldn't be the last time that Jay referenced The Mom Call. As Sarah Koenig reported on Episode 5 of Serial:

At trial, Jay says Adnan gets another call as he was dropping Adnan off at school for track. "Before he left the car, he received a phone call, or placed a phone call. It was in Arabic. I don’t know who he was talking to. I don’t know what it entailed. I believe it was his mother." Adnan and his family say he doesn’t speak Arabic, or Pashto, or Urdu. But maybe Jay could hear a foreign sounding accent on the other end of the call. And there is a 4:27 call in the log. Maybe that’s the one. But again, the cell tower it pings isn’t near Woodlawn High School.

As I noted on the Addendum, Sarah was right. The cell tower pinged was L654C, whose expected range of coverage didn't include Woodlawn High School. Now, given that AT&T itself said that incoming calls are not reliable for determining location, this doesn't really mean much to me. Conversely, if you do believe that incoming calls are reliable for determining location, Jay's story obviously doesn't add up.

Putting the ping aside, however, Jay's story still doesn't add up. Even assuming that Adnan's mother would call him in the middle of track practice, why would Adnan answer the call and talk for about 3 minutes if he were trying to create an alibi and already late for track practice? 

You might also recall that Coach Sye indicated that track practice was outside on a day that only could have been January 13th, the same day that he recalled talking to Adnan about Ramadan. According to Jay, he dropped Adnan off at the gym. That means that Adnan was dropped off at the gym at about 4:30 P.M. (end of The Mom Call), presumably went into the locker room to change, and then walked out to the outdoor track. You can see what this would have entailed by looking at Krista's sketch of Woodlawn and this page from Google Maps.

Basically, if Adnan was lucky, he got to the outdoor track by 4:45 P.M. This is when he would have talked to Coach Sye. The only call that make senses for the "come and get me from practice" call is the 4:58 P.M. call.* Unless this was made from a teammate's cell phone, Adnan likely had to walk back to the school to make the call from a pay phone.

So, what would Jay's story mean? Adnan likely arrives at track practice at 4:45 P.M., immediately goes up to Coach Sye to talk about Ramadan, practice ends about 5 minutes later, and Adnan calls Jay after walking back to school. Does this make any sense?

The other alternative, of course, is that Jay is mistaken or lying about The Mom Call. This seems like a strange lie to tell, however, given that it doesn't minimize Jay's role or work with the cell phone/tower evidence. As for the claim being a mistake, this seems to be a pretty distinctive call that Jay relays several times: A call in a foreign language that Jay is able to deduce comes from Adnan's mother. 

This makes me think that there was a Mom Call, but it was very likely on a different day and quite possibly at a different time.


*A call that Jay claims he received at Cathy and Jeff's place after smoking up with them, despite Cathy saying she didn't arrive home until about 5:00 P.M. and Jay claiming that he arrived at Cathy and Jeff's between 5:20 and 5:30 P.M., which would rip a hole in the space time continuum if you tried to make that timeline work.



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Colin, after listening to Neighbor Boy's interview, I have a couple questions I'd love your take on:

1. Is there a way to pull DMV records from fall/winter of 1999/2000 to see when Jay purchased his vehicle and for how much it was purchased?

2. How does NB's new version of what Jay described impact his general testimony? Just par for the course with another inconsistency and further discrediting him? I guess maybe it is moot because NB would have to lay down a written statement with this for it to be used, right?


Posted by: Jake | Sep 2, 2015 12:52:00 PM

Jake: (1) We are gathering vehicle information. So far, what we have found is pretty interesting, but we won't report on anything until we find out some more information. (2) I still need to listen to the NB episode. From what I've heard, though, this would be yet another accounting of the murder which would further undermine Jay's story. This leads me to believe that the CrimeStoppers tip on 2/1 did not match the trial story, which would be huge under Brady, whether the tipster was Jay or someone who got his information from Jay.

Posted by: Colin | Sep 2, 2015 1:22:43 PM

From what I recall, the cell phone was a secret from his parents? I believe Bilal helped him get it.

So it would be very strange to receive a call on the cell phone from his mom if she didn't know it existed.

Posted by: John | Sep 2, 2015 1:55:30 PM

You havent listened to NB yet?? Whaat??

Posted by: Sarah hopewell | Sep 2, 2015 1:59:00 PM

Good call, John.

Posted by: Traci | Sep 2, 2015 2:26:51 PM

Hey Colin, one other quick question I tried to post on your blog about Hae's vehicle:

In the photos Undisclosed shared earlier in the year, Hae's car was surrounded by grass and dirt. In the still I'm seeing from the video, its surrounded by snow. What is going on there?


Posted by: Jake | Sep 2, 2015 2:46:16 PM

interesting point John. And this was a brand new phone, got the day before. We know calls were made to Nishta and Hae giving the new number, but after Jay found the phone in the glovebox he made a whole load of outgoing calls. I'd guess it unlikely that any incoming calls were intended for Adnan that day, and has anyone made a statement or testimony that they called Adnan's number other than Jen?

Posted by: Joncatso | Sep 2, 2015 3:25:55 PM

a further thought on John's point - were there outgoing calls to Adnan's home number in the extended phone records, or was home on speed dial. If not, Jay's full of BS on that one

Posted by: Joncatso | Sep 2, 2015 3:35:15 PM

John: There seems to be some conflicting information on this point.

Sarah: I will try to get to it this weekend.

Jake: The still was taken on March 16th, after the car was taken to a body shop.

Joncatso: Good question. I’m not sure.

Posted by: Colin | Sep 2, 2015 5:11:14 PM

Surely it would be easy to have Adnan's mom confirm or deny a call to him that day at that time? Has she never been asked about the call?

Posted by: Kristin P | Sep 2, 2015 6:05:01 PM

So what are we saying about Jay. I understand how the cops could have shaped his story to match what they imagined the cell phone tower pings. But all this other stuff and you suggesting that he is just making this stuff up out of thin air!? He's just a huge liar and very creative I might add. In your version he's like the most creative liar of all time he should be in my business. ;-).

Posted by: Paul H | Sep 2, 2015 8:39:46 PM

Maybe it was jays mom calling in? Jay did call everyone else that day

Posted by: Robyn Colon | Sep 2, 2015 8:57:59 PM

Jay is clever and the consummate liar. Liars are good embellishes and he knows he can strengthen the focus on Adnan by throwing out the Mom and Arabic language.

Posted by: PC | Sep 2, 2015 9:25:27 PM

Jay has obviously conflated events spread across weeks all into this one day... Mom call, Patasco State Park, Nisha Video Store Call, Stephanie calls, etc.
This makes it very hard for investigators because witnesses can kind of remember such events occuring, but not on which day.
Jay is brilliant and experienced at this stuff.

Posted by: anon | Sep 2, 2015 11:46:54 PM

Adnan's father testified that he knew about the phone.

Posted by: kevin | Sep 3, 2015 1:40:00 AM

Kristin P: I doubt that Adnan’s mother would remember, 16 years later, whether she called Adnan on January 13, 1999, which was an ordinary day for her. I do wish she were asked back in 1999, though.

Paul H: I don’t think that Jay is making up The Mom Call. I just think that it happened on a different day and at a different time.

Robyn Colon: You never know.

PC: I definitely think that there was a good deal of embellishment in Jay’s story.

Anon: And I don’t even know whether much of it was intentional.

Kevin: Thanks. Do we know whether he knew about the phone as of January 13th?

Posted by: Colin | Sep 3, 2015 5:00:05 AM

Sorry, off topic to the timeline of track practice & the mom call (which is so obviously ridiculous)...Do we know why Laura wasn't asked to testify at trial if she supposedly made a statement about NB telling her about seeing the body? Is Laura possibly confusing NB with Jay? I can't imagine why she would make up this story about NB. I would guess for some reason maybe the police or prosecutor didn't find her to be credible? Or, maybe she recalled it was actually Jay who told her this, and they didn't want her botching up their case.

Posted by: katelynn | Sep 3, 2015 5:15:08 AM

Hi Colin. I am just wondering, if Jay made all of this up, how did he know where the car was? Do you think the police led him to it? That's the one sticking point that keeps coming back to me.

Posted by: Kellie | Sep 3, 2015 5:27:03 AM

katelynn -- I went back and listened to Serial after hearing Dynasty's NB interview, and I have been wondering the exact same thing! Perhaps I missed why she was never investigated further when I re-listened to Serial, but would love Colin's take. Even if she's deemed not credible, I'd love to know if they questioned her further. It's a little too coincidental saying she heard there was a body in a trunk, and then have that be what actually happened. I also don't remember the timeline on when her father phoned that in, so there could have been contamination if she heard it from someone that wasn't NB (especially now that we know the original tipster called in on Feb 1).

Posted by: CD | Sep 3, 2015 7:21:34 AM

Yes, sadly the Laura story seems to be made up for whatever reason. She supposedly told her dad that NB told her ‘Adnan showed NB Hae’s body in the trunk’. It did not come from NB but probably a story Laura heard, rumors handed down thru many people. Because, it seemed Jay wanted to tell everyone about the ‘trunk pop’. NB said he didn’t see Hae’s body or even knew Adnan! He knew of him, who he was seeing him around school but NB had already graduated the year before! He also said that Jay told him about the ‘trunk pop’ in June at a party. See Jay was spreading this around, wanted to look so cool that he saw Hae’s body! When NB was questioned by police, he said, they didn’t even ask him about seeing Hae’s body, but they were asking him if he knew various people! So, why Laura said NB & they reported it, who knows?

Posted by: Sunny | Sep 3, 2015 8:53:22 AM

Interesting thing about the version of the murder told to NB is that it almost certainly isn't true. Jay told him that Adnan went to Lenscrafters to confront Hae and murdered her in the mall parking lot. I think we can say with some confidence that didn't happen. Adds weight to the idea that Jay really doesn't know anything about Hae's murder..

Posted by: Alex | Sep 3, 2015 9:24:29 AM

OMG! yes, Alex. Another major story Jay was telling! Colin & others-why was Jay blabbing all around the town to so many people that he saw Hae's body & helped bury it? No matter what version. did he really think it would impress people? I mean, why in the world?

Posted by: Sunny | Sep 3, 2015 9:51:58 AM

Colin, it seems lots of people are now interested in NB's new account. In Serial SK mentions that NB signed a statement for the PI saying he didn't know anything (done to prevent any surprise testimony from him). It seems like this would be a good time to share that statement publicly.

Posted by: monstimal | Sep 3, 2015 10:32:51 AM

Hi Colin,
Would it have been normal for the team to change at the gym if they were training at the outdoor track? I seem to remember that the indoor and outdoor facilities were some distance apart - it seems odd than that they would change at the same place regardless of whether they were training indoors or out. Might Jay not have made an error here (which would support the defence case that he didn't drop Adnan off at track)?

Posted by: CR | Sep 3, 2015 10:33:18 AM

--in the meantime, Hae's body is allegedly in the trunk of her own car, right out in the open at the I-70 Park N Ride. Nonsensical.

Posted by: Angie | Sep 3, 2015 11:30:49 AM

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