In early November 2018, Zac Guse sent a letter for his missing daughter Karlie Guse to the Inyo Register for publication.  In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at his letter.

The lines of his letter are numbered for easier reference and analysis.

For Karlie, 

I miss you so much my baby girl.

Zac starts his letter addressing Karlie as his baby girl.  He is taking ownership of Karlie and addressing her with his paternal instinct sensing or knowing that his worst fear has been realized.

I love you so much I can’t even describe it.

Can’t speaks to limitation.  What is limiting his description of love for his daughter?

Whatever it is you are going through I pray every second of the day that you have the strength to handle it.  

Here Zac speaks to a singular “it” Karlie is “going through”.  He prays “every second of the day” that Karlie has “the strength to handle it”.  Presumably, if Karlie is in danger, it is from multiple sources. Danger from not being fed, sexual assault, physical assault, terror…a parent’s mind would go crazy with all of the horrible possibilities.  Zac’s language indicates he thinks it is a singular thing Karlie needs strength to handle.  Expected would be “stay strong Karlie.  I will find you!”  Zac places the entire burden of survival on Karlie’s strength.

If you happened to read this I want you to know you can reach out to anyone who loves you & we will work this out I promise.

When we speak, we choose which words out of those 25,000, will effectively communicate what we want to say.  We choose the verb tenses, order of each word, appropriate pronouns, etc. All this takes place instinctively in a fraction of a second.  It is that miraculously fast processing of the brain that gives Statement Analysts consistent results time after time. Writing out a statement utilizes the same processes as speaking.  It takes a little longer for words to travel to fingertips, yet the premise is the same.

In this case, Zac utilized the words, “if you happened to read this.” The sentence would still make sense and be complete without the use of those words.  It is also not lost on the analyst that “happened” is past tense.  If Zac meant for Karlie to read his letter currently or in the future, present tense “happen” would have been utilized.  Zac is referencing his missing daughter’s ability to read – in the past tense which is an ominous sign.  The important question we must ask is why did Zac’s brain choose to send those words to his fingertips in a micro-seconds of time. We let his words guide us to the answer.  

Zac introduced doubt into the statement with the word “if”.  He could have continued speaking directly to Karlie, which would be appropriate for a man unwilling to give up hope that his daughter will surely be found.  Parents and other loved ones do not give up hope. They give law enforcement full support and a chance to find their missing loved one. If law enforcement fails, the parents and loved ones still do not give up hope.  They continue to post flyers and strive to keep the case alive and in the public’s eye. There is no doubt heard in their language. There is determination, “we will find you!”

One might suggest that Zac used the word “if” because he really wasn’t sure if Karlie would be reading that or not.  We note that is a definite possibility. However, in that same context, keep in mind that Zac’s brain formulated his statement based on all his knowledge, for better or worse. 

Zac “wants” Karlie to know she can reach out to “anyone who loves you”.  He is distancing himself from telling Karlie “please let me know you’re safe”.  He only “wants” her to know.  Again, he is addressing Karlie as if she walked away voluntarily and started a new life.  Someone so adept at reinventing and supporting themselves doesn’t need to be told that she can reach out to anyone who loves her.  She knows that.  What she did need to hear from her father is to call him and tell him she is safe.

Reaching out to “anyone who loves you”…not him…not anyone specific.  Does he know she cannot reach out to him?  His statement that “we can work this out” indicates there is something to work out. 

There are indications of a troubled relationship before Karlie ‘walked away’. 

I love you so much and would do anything to have you safe right now

Zac doesn’t think or believe Karlie is safe right now.  His letter is intended for a person who has run away voluntarily.  What makes him believe Karlie is not safe?  He wants her “safe right now”, meaning he is aware of a time when Karlie was not “safe”.  

“…Would do anything to have you safe right now.”  Zac did not say he “will do anything” which is definite, only that he “would” which is a present unreal conditional – an imaginary situation.  “Would” expresses potential future action in the present time. 

If I could I would trade places with you the second you went missing so you would be home safe right now

Zac knows he is not able to trade places with Karlie.  It is odd to specify to the “second”, though it falls in line with his typical pattern of hyperbolic speech. He repeats that he wants her “safe right now”, meaning he is aware of a time when Karlie was not “safe”.  The repetition indicates sensitivity. 

We all miss and love you and want you home.

The letter was written by Zac, the biological father of Karlie.  The expected is for him to speak for himself as his wants and wishes are of a higher consequence than a stepparent.  “I miss you and love you and I want you home.”  Why does he have the need to hide in a crowd?

Your mother Lindsay misses you, your stepmom Melissa misses you, your 4 brothers miss you, and Breeze definatly [sic] misses you.  

All of your friends and this entire community misses you.

The inclusion of Karlie’s mom and stepmom’s first names leads one to wonder, who exactly is this statement for?  Surely Karlie knows their names.   He further waters down who wants Karlie home when he includes her “community”.  This should be a highly personal letter to his daughter from her father – who’s desperate to find her.  Why does he have the need to include the thoughts of others in a personal letter to his missing daughter?

You have no idea how much you are loved.

Karlie has “no idea” how much she is loved by whom?  Is Zac stating that Karlie wasn’t aware of how much she was loved at home?  Why wasn’t she aware?  He may be indicating that Karlie wasn’t shown much love at home.  Zac uses passive language in his sentence which is distancing language.

I want you home, we want you home, everyone wants you home.  

Zac’s sentence starts off strong as he has a psychological presence in it.  He moves into watering down what he wants with the inclusion of “we”, which is undefined.  Who is “we”?  He then states “everyone” wants her home.  A very personal plea is injected with the thoughts of others who are not her father.  Does he think that his personal plea would not be enough to persuade Karlie to come home?  

This sentence is eerily similar to a statement Chris Watts gave to investigators following his pregnant wife and daughter’s disappearance.  He knew he had killed them all and was still able to say “I want everyone home” and was probably telling the truth.  Wanting someone to come home doesn’t mean you didn’t cause their disappearance.

I and many others have not stopped looking for you since that morning

Zac has the need again to hide in a crowd.  He is unwilling to only speak about himself and what he’s done.  His sentence goes against our tendency for economy in speech and writing.  The sentence would be structurally sound as, “I have not stopped looking for you.”  Extra words offer additional meaning.   Zac has the need to hide in a crowd when addressing his missing daughter.  “…since that morning” is unnecessary as well.  He wouldn’t have been looking for her before that morning or started two days after.  This phrase indicates Zac is sensitive about the timing of Karlie’s disappearance and there may be a different timeline that he is aware of.

His language will guide us as we continue on… and he does not make us wait long for the answer. 

We will never give up faith in not finding you.

Uh-oh.  Zac continues to hide in a crowd with the undefined “we” and he has spilled the beans.  He has faith that Karlie will “not” be found.  These are not words coming from a parent who wants his child found.  Believe him when he says he will “never give up faith in NOT finding” Karlie.   

I pray every second of the day to hold on to hope.  

Here Zac makes reference to a higher power or deity (prayer), which indicates the need to strengthen what he says.  He also speaks in hyperbole with “every second”.  It is not possible to pray “every second of the day”.  His prayers are directed at himself and his need to “hold onto hope.” There is sensitivity in his repetition as well as his explanation as to why he “prays every second of the day”.  

I pray that you are warm and fed. 

It’s nearly the end of his letter to Karlie and he finally acknowledges her need for food and warmth.  These are basic things that parents (are supposed to) provide. Why did it take this long for him to mention prayers for Karlie to be “warm and fed”?  What about safety?  He also shows sensitivity to “warm and fed”.   His prayer for hope is a higher priority than Karlie’s warmth and food?  So far, his letter reads as if he believes or wants others to believe Karlie walked away.  There is no plea to her abductor(s).  

 I will never give up hope Karlie ever.

Similar to a statement made by OJ Simpson about looking for his wife’s killer, saying he would never stop searching for the “real” killer.  

Note that his “hope” will never end, showing no “hope” for success.  He does not tell her that he will search for her until she is found, but that he will “never, ever” give up “hope.” 

What has caused him to have no hope for success?  She has been missing for roughly 21 days at the time of this statement.  

Zac will never give up hope for what?  He does not say.  If Karlie is being held against her will, his “hope” will do nothing for her.  Where is the resolute “I will search until I find you or I will bring you home safely?”  His focus needs to be on Karlie’s hope…not his.

I Love You My Baby Girl,

Love Dad


Analysis Highlights

I don’t see anything personal in his letter. I expect to hear a parent say things such as,  I miss your smile, I miss your sense of humor. I don’t see the phrase “come home”. Please let us know you’re OK.  This letter presumes that Karlie ran away. All reported information suggests she has not run away before and her friends were not aware of any plans to run away.   She left without her money, phone, glasses, and clothing.  Her stepmom has floated the possibility that Karlie was “abducted or taken” because they “live by a highway.” On Dr. Phil, human trafficking was mentioned as a possibility, which means that someone took her and is holding Karlie against her will.  Where is the call out to her abductor? She wasn’t found in the desert, so wouldn’t the assumption be that she didn’t leave of her own free will?  

Zac uses Karlie’s name twice.  Once in the beginning and once in his last sentence.  If Karlie was abducted, it would be important to ‘humanize’ her by using her name often, yet Zac avoids using her name but for the bare minimum.  Zac is distancing himself from Karlie.

Zac does not request help from the public.

Zac does not plead for his daughter to be released from her abductor(s)

Zac does not plead for mercy

Zac gives Karlie no personal attributes.  He doesn’t mention anything he misses about her or anything he admires or loves about her.  He does not tell Karlie how special she is.

Zac gives a minimal and late mention of essentials for survival (warmth and food).

Zac does not speak to her current safety.  Only that he “would do anything to have you safe right now.”  He did not say that he prays she is safe.  In his perception of reality, Karlie’s safety is only important at home.

Zac speaks of Karlie’s ability to read his letter in the past tense. OMINOUS

Zac speaks of his faith that Karlie is NOT found.  OMINOUS

Zac’s letter includes information that indicates the intended audience was not Karlie but the community at large*.  OMINOUS

*Zac sent his letter to the Inyo Register which is their local newspaper.  The Inyo Register has 4700 subscribers and is printed only three days a week…Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (  If Zac truly wanted Karlie to read his letter, he would have focused on larger newspapers, i.e. Los Angeles, Reno, Las Vegas, Fresno, etc.  For Karlie to have the ability to read his letter, she would have to be in the immediate area.  Further proof that Zac’s intended audience was the community and not Karlie.


Zac Guse knows or believes Karlie is deceased.