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  1. #1
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    Livor mortis and time of death

    Livor mortis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:%...1%8B%D0%B5.jpg" class="image"><img alt="" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3e/%D0%9F%D1%8F%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B0_%D1%82%D1%80%D1%83% D0%BF%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B5.jpg/220px-%D0%9F%D1%8F%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B0_%D1%82%D1%80%D1%83% D0%BF%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B5.jpg"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/3/3e/%D0%9F%D1%8F%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B0_%D1%82%D1%80%D1%83% D0%BF%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B5.jpg/220px-%D0%9F%D1%8F%D1%82%D0%BD%D0%B0_%D1%82%D1%80%D1%83% D0%BF%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B5.jpg

    Livor mortis (Latin: livor—"bluish color," mortis—"of death"), postmortem lividity (Latin: postmortem—"after death", lividity—"black and blue"), or hypostasis (Greek: "sediment") is one of the signs of death. Livor mortis is a settling of the blood in the lower (dependent) portion of the body, causing a purplish red discoloration of the skin: when the heart is no longer agitating the blood, heavy red blood cells sink through the serum by action of gravity. This discoloration does not occur in the areas of the body that are in contact with the ground or another object, as the capillaries are compressed.
    Livor mortis starts twenty minutes to three hours after death and is congealed in the capillaries in four to five hours. Maximum lividity occurs within 6-12 hours. The blood pools into the interstitial tissues of the body.
    Stages of death:
    Death - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:Skullclose.jpg" class="image"><img alt="" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/92/Skullclose.jpg/250px-Skullclose.jpg"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/9/92/Skullclose.jpg/250px-Skullclose.jpg

    Pallor mortis - paleness occuring 15–120 minutes after the death
    Algor mortis - reduction in body temperature following death.
    Livor mortis - 20 min to three hours after death, max within 6-12 hours. Heat will speed the process. The settling of blood to the lowest portion of the body.
    Rigor mortis - commences after about 3 hours, reaches maximum stiffness after 12 hours, and gradually dissipates until approximately 72 hours (3 days) after death.
    Putrefaction - 2 to 3 days to 4 weeks
    Decomposition - speed varies greatly
    Skeletonization - speed varies greatly

    The EMT's noted rigor in her jaw at 6:48 am and therefore did not perform CPR.
    http://www.enotes.com/forensic-science/time-death
    BBM
    Rigor mortis, or postmortem stiffening and contraction of all muscles, usually occurs three or more hours after death and can last for approximately 36–48 hours in temperate climates and about 9–12 hours in tropical temperatures. If a murderer moves a body before rigor mortis (RM), the new position will be "frozen" during RM, not the original one that would have characterized the pattern of the body falling at the crime scene. Therefore, the position a body shows during rigor mortis cannot be assumed as the position in which the victim was at the moment of death. The rigor mortis phase is not the best time for the pathologist to determine the cause of death, because several changes take place in the internal muscles, such as the heart and the ocular muscles, which can be misleading. For example, rigor mortis dilates the myocardial (heart) muscles, giving it the appearance of cardiac hypertrophy (enlarged heart). Contraction of the iris muscles also dilates the pupils during rigor mortis.

    The factors that interfere with the onset and duration of rigor mortis are temperature, existing antemortem pathologies, age, body muscular mass, and the degree of muscular activity immediately before death. Higher temperatures shorten the time till the onset of rigor mortis and its time of duration. A strong fight or lengthy physical effort before death causes an earlier onset and shorter duration of rigor mortis. Children and older adults have also earlier rigor mortis than younger adults. Generalized infections, or long, debilitating diseases also produce earlier onsets and shorter periods of rigor mortis, whereas extensive antemortem bleeding or death due to asphyxia delays rigor mortis onset.
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&p...ZTYzYmY5&hl=en
    page 4 -
    At 2000 hours rigor mortis was marked in the upper and lower extremities, neck and jaw. Livor mortis was posterior, red and fixed. Both rigor and livor mortis were appropriate for the decedent's position. There was cutis anserina of the legs. There was skin slip with pressure on the lower left eyelid.
    Cutis anserina: goose bumps caused by cold or excitement after death
    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&cp=23&g...w=1079&bih=563
    Last edited by OkieGranny; 02-23-2016 at 01:42 AM. Reason: broken links
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  2. #2
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    Thank you so much for the information ... here is some on liver temperature.

    http://www.trutv.com/shows/forensic_...iques/tod.html
    The organs most commonly used to determine the body core temperature are the liver and the brain, because of their mass and density. After death, the body temperature falls toward the temperature of the surroundings at a rate of about one-and-a-half degrees per hour. This rate will vary depending on the amount of body fat, the amount of blood loss, the amount of type of clothing worn by the victim, the location of the body (whether it was lying near a heating or air conditioning vent or inside a cooler), and, if the body was found outdoors, on the weather conditions, including air temperature, wind, and precipitation (rain or snow).
    Had they checked this immediately it seems they could have been fairly accurate on TOD.

  3. #3
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    Since the above link states that an extreme, physical altercation before death will speed rigor, and livor is variable for a period of time, I wonder if the posterior livor mortis really means anything except that she laid in the courtyard for 12 hours?
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  4. #4
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    Unfortunately, I don't know if there is any way to know, since she laid in the courtyard for 12 hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IWannaKnow View Post
    Since the above link states that an extreme, physical altercation before death will speed rigor, and livor is variable for a period of time, I wonder if the posterior livor mortis really means anything except that she laid in the courtyard for 12 hours?
    It's funny you said that because I was just looking at another case about similar questions.

    I don't know how the variables actually effect TOD and therefore rigor, etc. I wonder if there is a table or somewhere with info. ME's must use something to adjust the TOD and deter if, like in this case, something can even be determined or is meaningful.

    I think for all they know she could have died between 10 pm and 6 am! Maybe I am wrong

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by time View Post
    Thank you so much for the information ... here is some on liver temperature.

    http://www.trutv.com/shows/forensic_...iques/tod.html


    Had they checked this immediately it seems they could have been fairly accurate on TOD.
    But we all know they didn't. When she lay there for so long, i was concerned even back then they weren't going to be able to accurately determine the time of death.
    Just my opinion

  7. #7
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    Well, gosh, on CSI, (you know how accurate TV shows are) the ME usually takes a liver temp immediately upon arriving at the scene of a death. The actually autopsy is later, but the ME does an initial on scene investigation. Surely they at least checked her liver temp.

    TOD is nearly always a window, not a pinpoint, but the more recent the death, the more accurate.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenpalm View Post
    Well, gosh, on CSI, (you know how accurate TV shows are) the ME usually takes a liver temp immediately upon arriving at the scene of a death. The actually autopsy is later, but the ME does an initial on scene investigation. Surely they at least checked her liver temp.

    TOD is nearly always a window, not a pinpoint, but the more recent the death, the more accurate.
    1. I have that duck tape and LOVE it. I have a 1-year-old daughter, and it is all over her stuff.

    2. I don't watch CSI, but I have seen them take liver temperature right away on other shows like Forensic Files, etc. Of course, if the ME hadn't let her lay there for twelve hours, he might have been able to make a better determination. Is there a reason why it took him so long to get there? The EMTs who arrived on the scene determined she was dead, why didn't he come shortly after that? Even if he couldn't move her right away, he could have done a preliminary investigation.

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    http://www.10news.com/news/29253139/detail.html
    Attorney Obtains New Info In Zahau Death Case

    Anne Bremner Represents Rebecca Zahau's Family, Claims New Information Could Help Re-Open Probe
    POSTED: 5:28 am PDT September 21, 2011
    UPDATED: 11:37 pm PDT September 21, 2011

    On Wednesday, Bremmer said a witness provided her with new information -- which has not been confirmed -- that indicates Zahau died before midnight, contradicting facts released by the sheriff's department.
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  10. #10
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    This new information is potentially huge, obviously. I wonder who this witness is?

    If I recall correctly, the last text Rebecca sent was before 10pm, and the last voice contact anyone had with her (her sister) was prior to that. She could very well have been dead by 10, if this new information is to be believed.


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    http://medicinembbs.blogspot.com/201...m-changes.html
    POST-MORTEM CHANGES

    A body left suspended after hanging will develop deep hypostasis of the lower legs and arms, with none visible on the torso, whereas a body that has partially fallen head first out of bed will have the most prominent hypostatic changes of the head and upper chest.the drowning body has different pm lividity.
    http://medicinembbs.blogspot.com/201...al-deaths.html
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    Hopefully this comment is appropo to this particular thread. IMO it defies logic that the ME waited until late in the day to come to the scene. This was a major, major high profile case which I would think would be prioritized on the list of scenes to investigate that day. I would also think the delay substantially contributed to their ability to have accurate findings. Which brings me to three questions:

    1-How many cases did the ME office need to visit on that particular day?
    2-What caused their delay on such a high profile case? Why wasn't it a priority?
    3-Was the ME office influenced by someone/some entity to delay their response?

    Does anyone have a way of determining the answer to number 1?
    Does anyone have a theory on number 2 and number 3?
    All of my posts are simply thought-starters and are not meant to be implications in any way, shape or form.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by justice be served View Post
    Hopefully this comment is appropo to this particular thread. IMO it defies logic that the ME waited until late in the day to come to the scene. This was a major, major high profile case which I would think would be prioritized on the list of scenes to investigate that day. I would also think the delay substantially contributed to their ability to have accurate findings. Which brings me to three questions:

    1-How many cases did the ME office need to visit on that particular day?
    2-What caused their delay on such a high profile case? Why wasn't it a priority?
    3-Was the ME office influenced by someone/some entity to delay their response?

    Does anyone have a way of determining the answer to number 1?
    Does anyone have a theory on number 2 and number 3?
    My theories are that:

    The investigation into Rebecca's death became a non-priority, meaning that it was deliberately moved to the "bottom of the list" by top LE authorities involved, and thereby influenced the judges who were so "busy" that day they couldn't be reached to issue a SW until late afternoon (even though Max's accident at the same house had been in the national news a few days before) and

    The influence came from people representing JS - i.e., perhaps his PR firm.
    MOO.

    I think your good questions could also be posted on another, more general thread, e.g., "What Happened to Rebecca Zahau," which seems to be accessed more frequently than this one.

  14. #14
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    Interesting article written by Dr. Lucas:


    http://emedicine.medscape.com/articl...32-overview#a1
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  15. #15
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    I can see how her case was pushed to the bottom of the priority list initially. This case was originally reported as a suicide. I think the ME's office would respond to obvious homocides (i.e. shootings, etc.) before a suicide.

    Once an officer reported a suspicion of homocide, RZ was probably moved up on the priority list. We don't know if the homocide team had to finish processing a previous crime scene before arriving at the Shacknai house. Or if they had to call in and assemble a new team.

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