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  1. #1
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    Question Skull fracture question

    I keep looking at the photos of JonBenet's skull that are provided on acandyrose and I find it really difficult to get a feel for the orientation of it. Without being able to see the eye sockets and nose, or occipital bone, I can't tell if the images are from the side, from above or what. Does anyone know if there is a better diagram of her full skull w/fracture that makes the injury's location more clear.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovebites View Post
    I keep looking at the photos of JonBenet's skull that are provided on acandyrose and I find it really difficult to get a feel for the orientation of it. Without being able to see the eye sockets and nose, or occipital bone, I can't tell if the images are from the side, from above or what. Does anyone know if there is a better diagram of her full skull w/fracture that makes the injury's location more clear.
    Thank you.
    I am looking for the autopsy diagram that I had seen before somewhere (or atleast I thought I did) but I cant seem to find it tonight. I found one, but it doesn't appear to be official, or in any way accurate. By the photo and the autopsy report it appears as though it ran from the mid eyebrow area all the way back... how far back I am not sure. But in the the far back of the top running down it is wider, as though that was the area that was struck by something. I will keep searching but I hope this clears it up a little in the mean time.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovebites View Post
    I keep looking at the photos of JonBenet's skull that are provided on acandyrose and I find it really difficult to get a feel for the orientation of it. Without being able to see the eye sockets and nose, or occipital bone, I can't tell if the images are from the side, from above or what. Does anyone know if there is a better diagram of her full skull w/fracture that makes the injury's location more clear.
    Thank you.
    Hi Lovebites, It is extremely difficult to tell what is going on from the autopsy photos. But this is a great subject and one of our posters BOESP is very interested in it also. I believe the injury (the rectangular injury) starts right above the left ear and goes on from there to the bridge of her nose. There are different theories on this whether it was two hits, whether it was a flashlight that did it, whether she was thrown and the injury ensued (something which Steve Thomas believes and I do) HOWEVER, there is information out there that says this kind of injury is only possible with BLUNT TRAUMA, a flashlight or some other weapon.

    So hopefully this will start a very interesting thread.

  4. #4
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    Analyzing the head wound.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solace View Post
    Hi Lovebites, It is extremely difficult to tell what is going on from the autopsy photos. But this is a great subject and one of our posters BOESP is very interested in it also. I believe the injury (the rectangular injury) starts right above the left ear and goes on from there to the bridge of her nose. There are different theories on this whether it was two hits, whether it was a flashlight that did it, whether she was thrown and the injury ensued (something which Steve Thomas believes and I do) HOWEVER, there is information out there that says this kind of injury is only possible with BLUNT TRAUMA, a flashlight or some other weapon.

    So hopefully this will start a very interesting thread.
    Hi Solace, yes I am very interested. I am trying to determine what type action and/or instrument might cause the depression and whether the 8.5 inch fracture was the result of one or two blows or strikes. It appears more likely two simultaneous (or nearly so) incidents are needed to create a fracture running that length.

    Perhaps something also might have concurrently put pressure on the skull to cause a fracture as described in the autopsy, such as a relatively heavier object falling on top of the body/head, or some such similar incident.

    The depression measures 1.75 x .75 inches and lies at the mid-line occipital region (which is very near the back of the skull) and off to the right of center. The fracture then runs on the right side from that depression to the front for approximately 8.5 inches, traveling across the curved surface of the skull.

    Also, the autopsy report seems to suggest there is a large area of blood coagulation on the top, right, front portion of the cranium, as shown when the pathologist reflected the scalp to see what lie beneath it. How did that coagulated blood get at that location if the strike occurred several inches to the rear of the coagulation?

    Photos and/or the autopsy report can be found at http://www.realsundancekid.com/ in the "photo" section, and at http://www.thesmokinggun.com/ in their archives (search for the word JonBenet and autopsy for several in-line links). I'm sure there are other sites too. WARNING: the links contain graphic materials.

    I apologize for the length of this post.

    TIA.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Solace View Post
    Hi Lovebites, It is extremely difficult to tell what is going on from the autopsy photos. But this is a great subject and one of our posters BOESP is very interested in it also. I believe the injury (the rectangular injury) starts right above the left ear and goes on from there to the bridge of her nose. There are different theories on this whether it was two hits, whether it was a flashlight that did it, whether she was thrown and the injury ensued (something which Steve Thomas believes and I do) HOWEVER, there is information out there that says this kind of injury is only possible with BLUNT TRAUMA, a flashlight or some other weapon.

    So hopefully this will start a very interesting thread.
    Actually, the rectangular injury starts at the right side of the back of the head. The force was so powerful that it caused a linear fracture that extended to the occipital bone.
    ...We have said to ourselves, look, there is never going to be a victory in this, there is no victory...John Ramsey: 6/24/98

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
    Actually, the rectangular injury starts at the right side of the back of the head. The force was so powerful that it caused a linear fracture that extended to the occipital bone.
    The occipital bone is at the back of the head so I don't understand what you mean???

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by BOESP View Post
    The occipital bone is at the back of the head so I don't understand what you mean???
    Oops... I meant to say orbital.
    ...We have said to ourselves, look, there is never going to be a victory in this, there is no victory...John Ramsey: 6/24/98

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
    Oops... I meant to say orbital.
    Thanks! I understand now.

    From a physics standpoint, that length of a fracture, originating from the stated point on the back of the head, would likely need some assistance. I'm familiar with the cracking egg-shell theory but it just doesn't seem to fit. Hit an egg with the head of a ten-penny nail and you get a similar depression but not a similar fracture. (It's a messy experiment! ) There is more damage than what one might expect with a single striking blow to the back of the head.

    It just seems unlikely to me that the force of an object that created a 1.75 x .75 inch depression would likely cause a linear fracture that length, traveling a curved path, without assistance of some kind.

    Also, how would it explain the coagulated blood found on the top, right cranium?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOESP View Post
    Thanks! I understand now.

    From a physics standpoint, that length of a fracture, originating from the stated point on the back of the head, would likely need some assistance. I'm familiar with the cracking egg-shell theory but it just doesn't seem to fit. Hit an egg with the head of a ten-penny nail and you get a similar depression but not a similar fracture. (It's a messy experiment! ) There is more damage than what one might expect with a single striking blow to the back of the head.

    It just seems unlikely to me that the force of an object that created a 1.75 x .75 inch depression would likely cause a linear fracture that length, traveling a curved path, without assistance of some kind.

    Also, how would it explain the coagulated blood found on the top, right cranium?
    This is going to be interesting. So she is hit on the right side of her head. I don't know where I got left from. I really wish we had a 3D picture of the skull so we could turn it around and look at it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solace View Post
    This is going to be interesting. So she is hit on the right side of her head. I don't know where I got left from. I really wish we had a 3D picture of the skull so we could turn it around and look at it.
    I know what you mean about the 3D picture. It is hard to use spatial thinking and read an autopsy at the same time.

    The contact point, best I can tell by reading, thinking, and looking at photos, her head was struck at the rear of the head at the midline of the occipital bone near where it adjoins the parietal section of the skull. So, if we assume she was struck a blow from another human holding a weapon, did the striker stand to the left, the right, or dead-center behind JonBenet? Or, did JonBenet make contact with an immovable, sturdy object? Was she pushed or shoved? Did she and somebody trip and fall? Or, was she manhandled into the bathroom as suggested by Steve Thomas, landing on something in the bathroom? Did it happen in the bathroom? the basement? somewhere else in the home?

    Lots and lots of choices here. Studying that head wound can answer lots of questions.


  11. #11
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    Addition/clarification: the hemorrhage also surrounds the depressed area as well as extending to the front and it measures 7 x 4 inches.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOESP View Post
    Thanks! I understand now.

    From a physics standpoint, that length of a fracture, originating from the stated point on the back of the head, would likely need some assistance. I'm familiar with the cracking egg-shell theory but it just doesn't seem to fit. Hit an egg with the head of a ten-penny nail and you get a similar depression but not a similar fracture. (It's a messy experiment! ) There is more damage than what one might expect with a single striking blow to the back of the head.

    It just seems unlikely to me that the force of an object that created a 1.75 x .75 inch depression would likely cause a linear fracture that length, traveling a curved path, without assistance of some kind.

    Also, how would it explain the coagulated blood found on the top, right cranium?
    What has always baffled me is that this horrific injury did not damage JonBenet's outer scalp.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rashomon View Post
    What has always baffled me is that this horrific injury did not damage JonBenet's outer scalp.
    Boy, you said it! If she had been struck a blow with a weapon, it would increase the likelihood of cutting the scalp. If it was some type combination blow, for example, her head hitting an immovable object with a rounded edge or with a protrusion, it might not.

    A dull force blow caused from JonBenet striking something instead of something striking her would dissipate the energy of the blow more efficiently than being struck by a weapon. The striking method would concentrate the energy released more than a dull blow and surely would have cut the scalp. The fracture is also a sign of the energy released at the time of the injury.

    Regardless, there is a scientific reason her scalp was not externally lacerated.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOESP View Post
    I know what you mean about the 3D picture. It is hard to use spatial thinking and read an autopsy at the same time.

    The contact point, best I can tell by reading, thinking, and looking at photos, her head was struck at the rear of the head at the midline of the occipital bone near where it adjoins the parietal section of the skull. So, if we assume she was struck a blow from another human holding a weapon, did the striker stand to the left, the right, or dead-center behind JonBenet? Or, did JonBenet make contact with an immovable, sturdy object? Was she pushed or shoved? Did she and somebody trip and fall? Or, was she manhandled into the bathroom as suggested by Steve Thomas, landing on something in the bathroom? Did it happen in the bathroom? the basement? somewhere else in the home?

    Lots and lots of choices here. Studying that head wound can answer lots of questions.
    BOESP,

    One of the most important features of her head injury is that it is a depressed fracture, these are extremely rare in children, so rare one book I have: the Handbook of Fractures, 3rd Edition in its section titled Pediatric Fractures and Dislocations has no entry for a head injury.

    Since her death was a trauma death here is the respective entry:
    TRAUMA DEATHS
    Trauma deaths tend to occur in three phases:
    Immediate:
    This is usually the result of severe brain injury or disruption of the heart, aorta, or large vessels. It is amenable to public health measures and education, such as the use of safety helmets and passenger restraints.

    Early: This occurs minutes to a few hours after injury, usually as a result of intracranial bleeding, hemopneumothorax, splenic rupture, liver laceration, or multiple injuries with significant blood loss. These represent correctable injuries for which immediate, coordinated, definitive care at a level I trauma center can be most beneficial.

    Late: This occurs days to weeks after injury and is related to sepsis or multiple organ failure.
    Another book I have Guide To Forensic Pathology Jay Dix, offers this excerpt on head injuries

    Scalp Injuries and Skull Fractures
    As mentioned above, the external surface of the scalp may
    not show evidence of blunt trauma. If a blow is severe enough to
    cause death, however, hemorrhage occurs on the underside of
    the scalp (subscapular hemorrhages). The number of
    hemorrhages gives an examiner the fewest number of times an
    individual sustained an impact. When there are multiple blows
    to the same general area an exact number may not be discernable
    because the hemorrhages coalesce.
    Which giving some consideration to the contusions on JonBenet's head (internally, and externally) and face might suggest she was hit more than once? See C. and D. below.

    Coroner Meyer states:
    II. Craniocerebral injuries
    A. Scalp contusion
    B. Linear, comminuted fracture of right side of skull
    C. Linear pattern of contusions of right cerebral
    hemisphere
    D. Subarachnoid and subdural hemorrhage
    E. Small contusions, tips of temporal lobes
    comminuted fracture - bone is broken or splintered into pieces.


    Guide To Forensic Pathology Jay Dix:
    Again for those that want to consider if JonBenet fell, ran into, or was pushed, etc here is classification of those injury types
    Contusions
    Contusions are small hemorrhages produced by a rupture of
    capillaries. Contusions can be classified depending on their
    location and relationships to other injuries. Some are dependent
    on the movement of the head at the time of impact, while others
    are not. The contusions most important to a pathologist and
    which are dependent on the status of the head at impact are:
    coup, contrecoup, and intermediate.

    Coup - The head is stationary and the object which strikes
    the head is moving. The contusion is directly beneath the point
    of impact on the scalp.

    Contrecoup -The head is moving (i.e. falling) and the object
    is stationary. The contusion is located directly opposite the point
    of impact.

    Intermediate - The head is moving and the top strikes a
    stationary object. The contusions are distributed throughout the
    brain and brainstem.
    It appears JonBenet was struck from behind with a blunt instrument, she may have been lying down, and more than one blow may have been rendered, her head injury is severe and is usually found at vehicle road accidents, it is exremely rare for this type of head injury to be presented at ER.


    .

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rashomon View Post
    What has always baffled me is that this horrific injury did not damage JonBenet's outer scalp.
    rashomon,

    Guide To Forensic Pathology by Jay Dix, offers:
    There may be no external signs of trauma to the head if a
    person has a full head of hair which acts to shield the skin
    surface from markings. Obvious external injuries are not
    necessary for a death to be caused by head trauma. This is one
    important reason autopsies need to be performed when the cause
    of death is in doubt.
    So was JonBenet wearing something on her head, did her killer place something e.g. a pillow over her head, prior to bludgeoning her?


    .

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