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  1. #1
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    Sep 2009
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    The Ligature Marks On JonBenet's Neck...

    I found this interesting. It was written by an author, not a ME or a LE officer, but describes the mark on JonBenet's neck, as occurring with hanging. Just thought I would post it, to see what you experts have to say!! I have always heard the mark was there due to strangulation by a 'soft' object first.


    hanging or strangulation:
    While accidental hanging is rare, and homicidal hanging is even rarer, hanging is the third most common form of suicide and accounts for 16% of all male, and 13% of all female suicides. Most people who commit suicide by hanging, jump from a chair or a ladder, choking to death slowly. Rarely is the neck broken. In order to break a neck, a drop of six feet or more is required, which rarely happens except in execution hanging.

    Hanging, whether done with rope, an electrical cord or a belt, always leaves an inverted V bruise, and is easy to tell from ligature strangulation (murder), which leaves a straight-line bruise. Hanging compresses the veins, but arterial blood flow continues, causing small bleeding sites on the lips, inside the mouth and on the eyelids. As with ligature strangulation, the face and neck are congested with blood and become dark red.

    Ligature strangulations are almost always homicide and the victims are almost always women. Often the murderer uses more force than necessary to kill the victim, causing deep bruises and abrasions around the neck. The victim will usually struggle, which results in damage to both the interior and exterior structures of the neck and throat.
    http://www.writing-world.com/mystery/suicide.shtml
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnieRN View Post
    I found this interesting. It was written by an author, not a ME or a LE officer, but describes the mark on JonBenet's neck, as occurring with hanging. Just thought I would post it, to see what you experts have to say!! I have always heard the mark was there due to strangulation by a 'soft' object first.


    hanging or strangulation:
    While accidental hanging is rare, and homicidal hanging is even rarer, hanging is the third most common form of suicide and accounts for 16% of all male, and 13% of all female suicides. Most people who commit suicide by hanging, jump from a chair or a ladder, choking to death slowly. Rarely is the neck broken. In order to break a neck, a drop of six feet or more is required, which rarely happens except in execution hanging.

    Hanging, whether done with rope, an electrical cord or a belt, always leaves an inverted V bruise, and is easy to tell from ligature strangulation (murder), which leaves a straight-line bruise. Hanging compresses the veins, but arterial blood flow continues, causing small bleeding sites on the lips, inside the mouth and on the eyelids. As with ligature strangulation, the face and neck are congested with blood and become dark red.

    Ligature strangulations are almost always homicide and the victims are almost always women. Often the murderer uses more force than necessary to kill the victim, causing deep bruises and abrasions around the neck. The victim will usually struggle, which results in damage to both the interior and exterior structures of the neck and throat.
    http://www.writing-world.com/mystery/suicide.shtml
    Don't confuse the description of the V-shaped bruise with the triangular red "abrasion" on JB's neck. They are different things. The straight-line bruise in the description above is the red ligature furrow we see in the photos. Coroner Meyer would have known the difference, and he described her circumferential red marks as a ligature strangulation. Whatever Mayer may or may not have noted in the report, he had no reason to state a hanging was a strangulation.
    The V-shaped bruise would look like this: instead of the red furrow around her neck, it would be pulled up obviously higher under her chin, sloping around in an obvious angle around the back of her neck. It would look very different than the marks on JB's neck. There would not really be a deep furrow, as the weight of a body pulls downward and in some places the ligature would not dig into the flesh at all, digging in only on back of the neck and a bit on the sides, if at all.
    JB's ligature furrows were deep, and the deepest was in the FRONT of her throat, with less towards the back of the neck, as in the process of strangulation, the cord may not even be in contact with the skin at some point. This is exactly the opposite from how marks from a hanging would appear. In a hanging, there may even be a considerable gap (depending on the noose) where the ligature does not touch the flesh at all at some point. If the head lolls to the side, the gap may appear at the opposite side. If the head lolls forward. the gap may be at the bak of the neck.
    To me, as I look at the autopsy photos, the ligature was pulled from behind as she lay on her stomach, but was wrapped more than once, which produced the circumferential ring around her neck. As we know, this wasn't a real working garrote. It was simply a long cord wrapped around her neck and pulled hard enough to strangle an already-dying child. There was no protruding tongue, nor swelling of the head or face. Had she been choked to death, this would likely have been seen. It is like she was unconscious already, which I believe she was. The autopsy noted a lack of interior damage to the structures of the neck and an intact hyoid bone. In this article, it does state that there us usually evidence of a struggle. With JB, there was NO evidence of a struggle, a curious thing unless you accept that she was already unconscious.
    If you look at the photo closely, you'll see that at least one of the ligature marks is WHITE, NOT RED- an indication it was made after death during the earliest unfixed stages of livor mortis, which is the blanching stage, Pressure anywhere after death during the blanching stage will result in the now-still blood being pushed out from under the pressure point, and as it is beginning to gel, it does not flow back into the space, making the white mark. In a LIVE person, the blood will flow immediately back in when pressure is removed, and anyone can try this on themselves. It works best on the lower legs.
    THIS time, we get it RIGHT!

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