EvidenceProf Blog

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Was Hae Coming from Drama Tryouts Just Before She Told Adnan She Had "Something Else" to Do?

We will be recording our final episode(s) of the first season of Undisclosed this week. Amazingly, just as we're winding down, I feel like I've stumbled across something that might change, or at least clarify, what I think about the events of January 13th. It was a loose strand I initially pulled at several months ago, but I soon gave up when I couldn't find any support for it. Now, I've found that support.

Here are the key portions of Becky's police interview:

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 9.59.08 AM

1st Excerpt


Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 9.27.12 AM

2nd Excerpt

Breaking this down: (1) Becky hears about the ride at lunch. It seems like she only had second information because of the use of the words "apparently" and "possibly;" and (2) as Becky and Aisha are walking down the hallway after school, waiting for Becky's sister to finish Drama tryouts, they see Hae and Adnan walking in opposite directions. Hae tells Adnan that she can't give him a ride because she has "something else" to do.

We've been over this territory many times on my blog and the podcast, but one thing I haven't discussed is Hae's whereabouts before she said she had "something else" to do. Here is a later portion of Becky's police interview:

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 10.13.48 AM

It certainly seems like Becky is saying that Hae was involved in Drama* during track season.** This would make sense given that Becky previously stated that Drama was by the gym and given that the Drama sentence is followed by a sentence in which Becky says she can't remember whether she (also?) saw Adnan by the gym.

This led me to speculate months ago that Hae could have been coming from Drama tryouts just before she told Adnan she had "something else" to do. Therefore, there's a decent chance that someone at Drama tryouts might have interacted with Hae just before this key moment and could shed some light on the events of January 13th. It's even possible that something that happened at Drama tryouts caused Hae to change her plans...

if Hae were indeed at Drama tryouts. The problem I ran into months ago was that I could find no corroboration for Becky's apparent statement that Hae was involved in Drama. As we put the finishing touches on Season 1, however, I did a quick review of all the documents and came across an entry that Hae made on the very same day that she got her diary on a field trip. In the entry, Hae notes that she got back to school from a field trip and "decided to stay after + help out drama and all that."

Now, this entry was made in 1998, so it's not direct evidence that Hae was involved in Drama in January 1999. But, when you combine this with Becky's police statement, it certainly seems like Hae was indeed involved in Drama at the time of her disappearance. 

So, were there even Drama tryouts on January 13, 1999? If so, was Hae at Drama tryouts just before she told Adnan she had "something else" to do?  Given that Drama was apparently by the gym, does this explain Debbie's initial police statement, in which she said that she saw Hae by the gym on January 13th, with Hae saying she was going to see Don? Is there anyone out there who was also involved in Drama at Woodlawn High School in January 1999? If so, can you shed any light on Hae's involvement and whether she might have been at tryouts on January 13, 1999?

As usual, we have more questions that answers, but hopefully this new question can be answered.


*The other possibility is that Becky was saying that Hae was involved in little "d" drama. 

**It's also possible that she's saying Hae would page Adnan during track seasons. Of course, she could also be saying that Hae was both paging Adnan and involved in Drama during track season.



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Good afternoon! Committed listener and first time commenter. This actually brings up a lot of questions for me looking at Becky's interview. What I have never been able to reconcile, and hopefully you can shed some light, especially after listening to what the timeline that the State was trying to use. It is so hard to determine if days are getting mixed up because Jay is saying that Adnan picked him up and they were gone around lunch but Becky is saying that he was at school during lunch and he needed the ride because his car was in the shop. Do we have any evidence that is car was in the shop? Adnan has not seemed to bring this up as evidence that he couldn't have gone to see Jay that day because he didn't have a car so I wonder if Becky is getting her days mixed up. To me that would be another big hole in Jay being a credible witness. Did Adnan have to check out of school or did he just skip if Jay's account is true? As a former high school teacher, a teacher would have to record attendance so there should have been documentation. I think this drama thing is a great lead. If Hae had gone to drama after psychology then her timeline gets pushed back and some time accounted for to help narrow down her movements. Thanks for all of your hard work and time bringing all this to light. ~Casey

Posted by: Casey | Dec 14, 2015 9:28:22 AM

If this is the final episode of Undisclosed related to the Syed case, will you finally release the note you described months ago where Adnan describes talking to Bilal at the mosque?

Posted by: Seamus Duncan | Dec 14, 2015 9:35:42 AM

in regards to the "car being in the shop" (hearsay, obviously, but hear me out)... is it possible Adnan *did* tell Hae his car was in the shop to avoid discussing jay? From what I understand Hae knew Jay had cheated on Stephanie and wasn't a fan of his. I would think it's totally understandable that Adnan told a little white lie to avoid upsetting Hae or getting a lecture from her that Adnan would allow Jay to use his car all day. He wouldn't be the first person to do so in their lives.

Posted by: sara | Dec 14, 2015 10:49:39 AM

@Casey - The anti-Adnan folks would likely say that Adnan loaned his car to Jay, and lied to Hae saying his car was in the shop, which would seem credible since he didn't have his car.

@Colin - has anyone ever looked into the "car in the shop" piece of this? Wondering if there were records that Adnan's car was truly in the shop that day, it could help serve as another hole in Jay's story that he had borrowed Adnan's car.

Posted by: SV | Dec 14, 2015 10:50:56 AM

I've always wonder about Debbie's 7 hour telephone conversation with Don. Seems like a very long time. Also, there was something in the police notes: "Don assaulted Debbie" - ever investigated? I can't believe this is the end of Undisclosed (season one). Will you continue to follow Adnan's case on Evidence Prof? thanks, Ann Murphy

Posted by: Ann Murphy | Dec 14, 2015 11:12:19 AM

Given it's all second-hand info about cars in shops, it's possible someone misheard 'can I have a lift later, Jay's taking my car to go shopping (for Stephanie's present)' for 'my car's in the shop' or maybe the 'lie' was told because Stephanie was right there with Hae when he asked for the lift... he could hardly tell the truth about the whereabouts of his car in that case.
SV: I think the car was in the shop earlier in the year/over xmas, but not on 13th.

Posted by: Cupcake | Dec 14, 2015 11:23:43 AM

Sara - good point on the "in the shop" comment. Maybe he also didn't want Hae to tell Stephanie that Jay didn't bother shopping for her until her actually birthday, instead of in advance. Hence the "shop" story. Anything is possible here.

Posted by: Sassy | Dec 14, 2015 11:27:47 AM

Casey: I think there’s a chance that Becky has the wrong day, but it seems like Becky, Krista, and Aisha all exchanged calls on January 13th after hearing that Hae didn’t pick up her cousin. Therefore, I tend to think she has the right day.

Seamus: I posted a snippet here:


The whole document is just more notes of the prayers that Adnan was going to lead the next night.

sara: It is quite possible. Krista herself told me that Adnan would not have told her that he was letting Jay borrow his car. My best guess is that Adnan planned to loan Jay his car to buy drugs on the morning of 1/13 and lied to Hae about this. The requested ride could have been a ride home, a ride to track practice, a ride to some place where Jay would pick him up, or even a ride to try and win Hae back. Hae, however, told Adnan at the end of school that she couldn’t give Adnan a ride because she had “something else” to do.

That night, when Adcock called, Adnan had no problem telling him that he asked for a ride because he didn’t get a ride and didn’t know that anything bad had happened to Hae. And, sure, the version of events in Adcock’s notes doesn’t quite match up with the “something else” story, but it’s similar enough and easy to explain away the difference based on something being lost in translation (from Adnan to Adcock or from Adcock to his report).

Later, Adnan denies asking Hae for a ride because it’s clear that something happened to Hae, and he knows that there was some deception with the ride request. Now, Adnan can’t really change his story and say he asked for a ride because it would make him look worse. Instead, we get the story he told Sarah about not asking for a ride and developing the idea of loaning the car to Jay based on Stephanie’s response to the stuffed reindeer.

That’s my best guess, anyway. It seems to me like the most rational explanation of everything connected to the ride request.

SV: It seems pretty clear that Adnan’s car was not in the shop on 1/13, but had been in the shop at some point in the weeks before 1/13. According to Krista, that’s why she assumed that Adnan’s car was in the shop when Adnan asked Hae for a ride on 1/13. Of course, Jay initially said (on 2/28) that he didn’t know how Adnan got in Hae’s car before saying on 3/15 that Adnan lied about his car being in the shop, with Krista’s interview coming in between these two interviews (on 3/1).

Ann: Yes, there was the 7 hour phone conversation between Don and Debbie and the police note about Don assaulting Debbie:


We've been trying to set up an interview with Debbie to talk about these and other issues. Hopefully, she agrees to talk. I'd love to hear what she has to say.

I will continue to write about this case after the season ends, but it will be much more sporadic. You can expect more posts about present sense impressions and the Best Evidence Rule soon.

Cupcake: Right. The police notes seem to make it clear that Becky is not 100% sure about the ride request and when or from whom she heard about it.

Posted by: Colin | Dec 14, 2015 11:29:25 AM

What connects those notes to 1/13?

Posted by: Seamus Duncan | Dec 14, 2015 12:55:17 PM

in your reply above to Ann, you say 'police note about don assualting hae'. I take it this is a typo and you mean 'don assualting debbie'. Also the note read 'boyfriend assualted debbie'. There isn't anything that talks about don.
I personally think that this note is either a) a typo and was meant to read 'boyfriend assisted debbie', which we know to be the case or
b) they were referring to Debbie's new boyfriend at the time (not sure if she had a new boyfriend at the time who assualted her) ?

Debbie spoke a lot about Donny in her police interview. I'm sure she would have said if he had assualted her as she mentioned that they spoke quite a bit after hae was missing. I don't think she said a bad word about Don.

Posted by: ben | Dec 14, 2015 2:21:09 PM

2 questions
Has a hearing date been set?
Were Jenn and Jay involved in something illegal; hence their strange and changing stories? We're Adnan and Jay dealing weed together?

Posted by: Susan | Dec 14, 2015 4:33:59 PM

That's was 3 questions ;)

Posted by: Susan | Dec 14, 2015 4:34:33 PM

Could it be the "thing" that came up that Hae had to do was go to the atm to deposit her check? Given she had work that evening and a meeting with Don later, she might have realized by lunch period that she wouldn't have time unless she went right after school. This is why she couldn't give anyone a ride. If the atm and the cousin's school were not far from the suspected murderer of the other Woodlawn student, he could have intercepted her. Jay and Jenn's involvement is out of convenience, greed, and a shady prosecution team. This is all an awful coincidence. It is highly likely that Adnan was pursued because of racism and/or prejudice. If in fact Adnan is innocent, and Jay & Jenn's involvement is accidental...Hae giving anyone of her friends a ride after school might have saved her. This is pure speculation though.

Posted by: Blair | Dec 14, 2015 6:11:31 PM

Seamus: These are the notes that Adnan and Bilal reviewed on 1/13 in preparation for Adnan leading prayers on 1/14.

Ben: Correction made. The note says “new boyfriend assaulted Debbie.” It’s hard to see who else the note could be referencing. It’s also tough to see a police officer confusing “assisting” for the crime of “assaulting.”

Susan: The date hasn’t been set yet. Jay was selling weed; I don’t know about Jay. I also don’t know about Adnan.

Blair: It’s possible, but she should have had a few hours between dropping off her cousin (3:20 or so) and starting work (5:30 or 6:00).

Posted by: Colin | Dec 14, 2015 6:31:40 PM

If Jay is driving around all day, wouldn't he had to put fuel in the car. Its a shame this was not followed up as it may of completely changed timelines.??

Posted by: Ruth | Dec 14, 2015 10:36:16 PM

Why did you crop the notes?

Posted by: Seamus Duncan | Dec 15, 2015 7:45:56 AM

"None of Hae's girlfriend's like new boyfriend".

Posted by: BruceinPhilly | Dec 15, 2015 10:31:45 AM

I've always thought it possible that cop used the word "assaulted" when he/she may have meant "insulted."

Posted by: Justin K | Dec 16, 2015 8:40:16 AM

Even if 'insulted' was intended in the note, I'd still be intrigued by this - it must have been significant enough to annoy/upset the friendship group, and in a relatively short space of time. And it's still bizarrely at odds with the 7 hour phone conversation.

Posted by: Cupcake | Dec 16, 2015 11:14:09 AM

without upsetting any applecarts here, I always wonder how Don dealt with "two moms." Tough thing to deal with, especially back then. Underlying anger issues possibly, insecurity from last girlfriend. Perhaps hae wanted to go back to Adnan and he became angry. Just something not right. Can't put my finger on it.
Navy Mom

Posted by: navymom | Dec 16, 2015 12:27:40 PM

Colin, thanks for the response. That was my best guess as well... Adnan not wanting to tell Hae he loaned Jay his car because of Jay's reputation, and then later saying he loaned Jay the car to buy Stephanie a gift, rather than wanting Jay to buy them weed so his parents didn't find out he smoked. As an adult, it's easy to find it suspicious, but as I was once a teenager and trying to cover up things I did that I wouldn't want my parents knowing about, I understand it.

Posted by: sara | Dec 17, 2015 10:06:45 AM

Ruth: The thing is that no location in this case is that far from any other location. This is a big part of why the cell tower pings can’t tell us much.

Seamus: They’re just notes from the prayers Adnan read. I cropped them to insert them into the post.

BruceinPhilly: We’re trying to figure out the basis for that note. We haven’t found it yet.

Cupcake: This is why we’d love to talk to Debbie. There are so many questions.

sara: When Krista said that to me, it all made sense. We know from Becky that Hae had no problem giving Adnan rides, even after their final breakup. So, Adnan really had no reason to need to lie to Hae to get a ride…unless he was embarrassed about loaning the car to Jay (especially on Stephanie’s birthday).

Posted by: Colin | Dec 18, 2015 6:56:36 AM

The string of comments between Seamus Duncan and Colin are hilarious here, and so telling as to the thought processes of the few remaining guilters. Notice how each comment by Seamus contains an argument or insinuation of bad faith deception, however as soon as Colin responds, Seamus instantly ditches his (or as we know now, her) prior position and moves quickly to another dastardly insinuation of deceit. Each new one is as hollow as the last, but you can see how she scrambles to make whatever negative-sounding insulation is possible, with no actual conviction on any of them.

It's very very telling, IMO.

Posted by: Paul | Jan 5, 2016 2:56:17 AM

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