Is This Daughter Having False Memories? — The Polygraph Results

February 18, 2014

Dr. Phil enlists the help of a private investigator to sort through what Tracy claims are painful memories from her childhood that recently came flooding back. Was she molested by her now-deceased father? And, did her mother, Donna, kill a young girl and bury her in their backyard? Donna vehemently denies the claims and says she feels Tracy is in need of psychiatric help. After previously taking — and failing — a polygraph test, Donna agrees to take another in an effort to clear her name. What will the results reveal? Are Tracy’s memories real? Plus, how can this family move forward? This program contains strong sexual content. Viewer discretion advised.

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Tracy and her husband, MartyDonna, Tracy motherKelly, Tracy sisterGreg, Tracy's brotherTimeline of Tracy's allegationsPrivate Investigator Douglas KaneDenise, Tracy's friendJack Trimarco, polygraph expertDr. Charles Sophy

Sorting Tracy's Memories

Tracy says she has been haunted by dark childhood memories of murder and molestation involving both of her parents. She claims that her entire family is covering up a dark and twisted past. But Tracy’s mother, Donna, and her siblings, Gregg and Kelly, vehemently deny the allegations, calling Tracy "delusional."

"You've spent a lot of time trying to figure this out," Dr. Phil says to Tracy. He mentions that at the urging of a psychiatrist, Tracy put together a detailed timeline of her memories to try to sort them out.

Donna responds, "When they first went to the psychiatrist and told me they needed to do a timeline, I said, 'Let's get us all together. What one person doesn't remember, another will.'" She continues, "Tracy insisted that we not talk to each other. She would not let us get together. She would not let us help."

"It's not true," Tracy responds. "I wanted her help. I didn't want my sister and my brother, at first. I didn't want them to have the hurtful memories in their heads that I was having."

"Tracy, in the spring of 2012, you had a three-hour marathon phone call with me," Greg says. "You thought — and knew — at that time that the memories of what you were thinking Dad did to you didn't happen." He continues, "That was the same time you told me that you were using crystal meth as a memory enhancer."

"Do you think I care about a phone call and how much detail you went into with your brother? It just doesn't matter," Dr. Phil interrupts. "What matters is: Were you molested? Were you given a gun to shoot someone in the head? These are things that matter to me." Dr. Phil says that he made his own timeline of Tracy's memories, and he enlisted Private Investigator Doug Kane to help look into some of her claims.


Tracy claims a babysitter named Josie was shot and killed in their home. Hear what Doug Kane's search uncovered.

Tracy also makes claims of molestation involving her father's late friend, Bob. Dr. Phil talks to Bob's daughter and widow — who adamantly deny the allegations.

Dr. Phil reviews some of Tracy's other claims, including an allegation that her father killed a foster child named Betty. "Her brother confirmed with Doug Kane that Betty is alive and now a mother of two," he says. Dr. Phil says Tracy also alleges that her mother killed her sister Kelly's friend, Tina. "Doug Kane spoke to Tina; she's alive." He continues, "You also said Kelly's friend, Carrie, was killed by your mother. Our producer spoke to the alleged victim's sister, Krista, who says she doesn't have a sister named Carrie." He asks Tracy, "Are you picking up a pattern here?"

"I’m picking up that I could really be dealing with false memory instead of real memory," she replies.

Dr. Phil mentions that one of Tracy's memories involves being date raped while on a double date with her friend, Denise. He says that Denise was initially supportive of Tracy in her search for answers, but after doing some investigating of her own, she has now begun to doubt many of Tracy's claims.

"Nobody could confirm anything that she remembered ... I'm very worried about Tracy. I'm worried about her mental well-being."

Speaking about the date rape claim in particular, Denise insists, "I deny that I saw anything abnormal then or after that." She explains, "They were in a different room for a short period of time, and when they came back out, everything seemed fine. She never confided anything to me. She didn't stop dating him. Nothing changed."

"Tell me what your conclusion is, based on hearing from Denise and others that we’ve had on the phone," Dr. Phil says to Tracy.

"I think that when they were doing the hypnosis, it really messed my memories up. That's what it sounds like," she replies. Tracy adds, "If you tell me the results of the lie detector test on my mom, then I can give her a big hug, and we can start working on how we get these memories gone, because I don't like them."

The Polygraph Results

Dr. Phil explains that Donna previously took — and failed — a polygraph test that Tracy set up for her. He says that polygraph expert Jack Trimarco reviewed that test and found that it was flawed, because it contained compound questions and dealt with multiple issues in a single test.

Dr. Phil says that Jack administered a second test to Donna, which had only one question, asked two different ways: "Did you ever bury a human body in the backyard?" and, "Did you bury a human body on your property?"

What do the results of Donna's second polygraph reveal? And, how does Tracy react?

Moving Forward

Dr. Phil introduces psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy, Medical Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, to talk about the difference between repressed memories and false memories.

Dr. Sophy explains how false memories can occur. And, could Tracy's admitted past drug use have impacted her memories?

"Do you get that, by all signs, it points to the fact that these things did not happen?" Dr. Phil says to Tracy. "And that means this should be a very happy day."

"Yes, I love it," she replies. "It means that I can have my family back."

"After the things you’ve said and done though — how can we come back from that?" Greg asks Tracy.

"We have been saying this the whole time," Kelly agrees. "You've been nasty and mean the whole time."


Is Tracy's family ready to move forward?

And, Dr. Phil offers help: "Clearly, y'all have a lot of clearing up to do and a lot of apologies to make."

"I want to talk a little bit about this father, who has been accused, because of memories, of some really terrible things," Dr. Phil says. He reads from a letter sent to Tracy's late father, Alan, by the Department of the Navy in 1975, which says in part, "The caliber of your service, patriotism and deportment have been exemplary." It continues,"Your outstanding contributions to the military are a matter of record and reflect consistent recognition of loyal, efficient and exemplary service."

"There's someone who doesn't have any investment in this, speaking about this man, in terms of who he was and how he conducted himself," Dr. Phil says. "Since he's not here, I just wanted to throw that out on his behalf."

Dr. Phil tells the family that he wants to provide them with professional help so they can work on repairing their relationships. He turns to Tracy and says, "The one thing we do have corroboration on is that you were touched inappropriately by your grandfather. I'm sorry that happened to you, and we want to get you some help."

Tracy — and her family — accept the help.