Cords, Knots, and Strangulation Devices

Discussion in 'JonBenet Ramsey' started by otg, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. otg

    otg Well-Known Member

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    No need to explain, Linda7NJ, I've done it also, and will probably again at some time in the future. It's so much easier to type "garrote" than "staged strangulation device". But then too, we have to decide which spelling to go with -- alternate spellings are all accepted.)

    I just want to make certain people understand that even though they will read or hear that a garrote was used to kill Jonbenet, that is not the case (I truly hope that BPD understands this.). Accepting it as a garrote assigns its function, and then people start trying to imagine how it was used. And really, since most of the people who have spoken up here have more intelligence than some of the people seen on TV talking about it, I don't have to tell you just how ridiculous it is to talk about "twisting the handle to strangle JonBenet". That is what really makes my eyes roll.
     


  2. DeeDee249

    DeeDee249 Well-Known Member

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    No. I don't know who Turvey is. Common sense tells me that when a cord tied with a stationary knot (as opposed to a noose) is tied around an object that is soft/flexible or offers little resistance, the cord will leave a space on the side it is pulled from, and dig into the opposite side. A noose might pull in a more uniform way, but if the victim was hanging, gravity and their own weight would pull the noose deeper into the side closest to the ground and leave a space (or less of an indentation) on the opposite side.
     
  3. otg

    otg Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, DD, you have then a good instinct for such things and the common sense to to back it up. The ability to picture in your mind the mechanics of what happens is very valuable.

    Brent Turvey (in the forensic science world is a god):
    http://www.corpus-delicti.com/brent/brent_cv.html
     
  4. DeeDee249

    DeeDee249 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I can usually visualize things very well, including putting myself THERE and seeing, feeling, even smelling, the situation. I kind of "walk myself" through it. I will do further investigation onto Turvey. It is a subject that interests me. What a fascinating career he has had.
     
  5. otg

    otg Well-Known Member

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    You can start here:
    http://www.corpus-delicti.com/ligature.html
    (Coincidentally written just before the Christmas of 1996.)
     
  6. mcsmom

    mcsmom New Member

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    The stick must have served some purpose? What did her headboard on her bed look like?
     
  7. Virtual Truth

    Virtual Truth New Member

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    bbm....OTG, you have my attention with this statement, but after reading all of your posts on this thread, it seems that you have not answered this yet. Will you please offer your thoughts on this now. Why would the end portion have to disappear? TIA
     
  8. DeeDee249

    DeeDee249 Well-Known Member

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    Photos of JB's room and other areas of the house can be found here:

    http://www.acandyrose.com

    Click on the Jonbenet Ramsey archives and scroll down to the section marked "crime scene".

    Her bedroom had twin beds with matching headboards of dark wood. The stick in question did not come from the bed, but was broken from a paintbrush belonging to Patsy and taken from an plastic tote with art supplies found just outside the room where JB's body was found. Another piece of the same brush was still in the tote. A third piece is missing.
    Cellulose was found in JB's vagina at the autopsy, and LE reported wood splinters were the source of this. So either the brush was inserted there, or the splinters were on a finger used for the penetration. The coroner noted to LE present at the autopsy that his findings indicated digital penetration and that she had been subjected to sexual contact.
     
  9. DeeDee249

    DeeDee249 Well-Known Member

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    Fascinating article. I have a question about something I read in the first paragraph. It mentions the "V" associated with pressure from the knot in a ligature strangulation and the direction that the "V" points in as being attributed to hanging or strangulation not associated with hanging.

    I assume you have seen the autopsy photos of JB's neck (and if not, you should) and particularly the one with the large, triangular "abrasion" on the front of her throat, above and below the ligature furrow.

    This reddish triangular mark has been attributed to many things, and is described as "parchment-like" in the autopsy, and I feel it is the result of the blood pooling above and below the point where the pressure was greatest. In JB's case, as the ligature was pulled from behind by someone kneeling or standing over her as she lay on her stomach, that pressure point would be on the front of her throat, just as it was seen. Is this the "V" that the author was talking about?
    Would you please take a look at that photo and let me know what you think?
     
  10. Bobbarita

    Bobbarita New Member

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    This IS fascinating. Thanks for the link. Have to study it. Thanks again...
     
  11. Chrishope

    Chrishope New Member

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    otg

    I agree with you that twisting the handle would not make sense. Not only because it would take forever to twist that much rope tightly, but also because twisting simply wouldn't pull that knot tighter.

    As I understand it, one would use a stick to tighten a tourniquet. But the stick must pass through the rope in such a way as to cause the rope to tighten when the stick is turned. This was not a tourniquet.

    My understanding of a garrote is that one must exert pressure on both ends of the garrote -e.g. one pulls at both ends. Since the cord or wire is wrapped around the neck, one would be pulling the ends in opposite directions, thus tightening the loop. I believe that when the tension is relaxed, a garrote becomes loose again. This was not a garrote.

    I've never been able to find a really good blow-up picture of the knot, but we do know that it had to be cut off at the autopsy. I would assume that if it could have been removed w/o damaging it that is what would have been done -it's evidence after all.

    IMO, this knot got tighter every time one pulled. IOWs it wasn't a slip knot. I don't know what to call it, but it doesn't slip when pulling force is relaxed. It stays where it is. This must be the case since it was still very tight when the autopsy was performed.

    I believe the stick was there simply to be pulled on - to help apply pulling force to tighten the knot. At least that's one possibility.

    So far, I don't think anything I've said is controversial. It's pretty well backed up by photos and the autopsy report.

    What follows is just conjecture, or free association or, call it what you will. I don't know what happened. I can only contemplate.

    A man, I think, wouldn't really need the stick. Wrapping the rope around the fist would be sufficient, one could get a good grip that way. Were it me tightening this device, I'd have wrapped the end of the rope around my right fist (I'm right handed) once or twice simply by twisting my right fist while holding the rope. With my left hand, I'd have used the first and second fingers, just above the knot, to make sure the force tightened the knot, and didn't lift JBR. The stick suggests to me that perhaps a woman needed it to make up for low hand strength. Or perhaps it was just staging. We don't really know how the rope was applied. It could also be that the stick was attached to something else - an object, such as a piece of furniture, or placed between two nails, or even another part of the body. Perhaps the force of trying to pull free broke the stick on the ends? Or perhaps if the body was suspended from the stick, it was too heavy and broke then ends of the stick? I don't know.

    It's also at least possible that a slip knot was intended, but was tied wrong, so that strangulation was an unintended event. I give this a low probability as it looks to me that the knotting around the stick was done by someone who had at least a bit of skill with knots.

    You are quite right, it's not a garrote, and this murder wasn't performed by a small foreign faction of secret agents.
     
  12. otg

    otg Well-Known Member

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    (My, my -- such and impatient group.) I'm trying to cover the physical evidence left at the scene and what it tells us, and everyone wants to know the answers before we even know all of the questions.

    Okay, let me say this... I have a theory based on what the evidence tells me, but the very same evidence may tell you something else. We will never know with certainty what happened. Sorry to disappoint, but that is the one thing that is almost certain. All we (or investigators) can do is look at what we know and what we don’t know, and then draw conclusions based on the best information we have. And then remember too that investigators have information we don’t; and because of spin and misdirection, we probably have information that is incorrect. Then filter that through where we get our information (newspapers, magazines, tabloids, television, radio, and internet) and tell me what the chances are of getting a real clear picture of what happened.

    The problem here (as is often the case) is that the "evidence" we know about is a mixture of elements. Those elements are:
    1. Items from what actually happened -- both pertinent and non-pertinent (Examples: Does food in the refrigerator have anything to do with JonBenet’s death? No. But if I tell you there was pineapple from the refrigerator in a bowl on the counter, and that pineapple was found in her stomach, suddenly it is (or at least might be) pertinent. The task here is recognizing the difference.)
    2. Items unrelated to the “initial event” added afterward as staging (Examples: A doll placed next to her body? Some people might say the ransom note had nothing to do with her death, but was added later -- of course, making that a separate crime.)
    3. Items from the "initial event" that were altered or moved to misdirect (Example: Maybe a suitcase used for one purpose was moved to another location for the purpose of misdirection.)

    Virtual Truth, you ask about the paint brush. Let me direct you to the pieces of evidence that you, the police, and everyone here already knows and see if you draw the same conclusion I draw about that.

    For now, don’t focus on the entire “crime”, and forget about any conclusions you’ve already made. I won’t spell it out, but I’ll simply point out which pieces of evidence I see as “pertinent” in this and let you figure it out.

    1. An artist’s paint brush (with it’s factory finish deteriorating and coming off) broken into three pieces -- brush end found in a paint supply tray, middle piece attached to a piece of cord left around the decedent’s neck, and the end piece (notably) missing.
    2. A family conscious of “social standing” and public image.
    3. Coroner’s report describing atypical findings of a pre-pubescent girl’s genitalia.
    4. Coroner’s report describing “birefringent foreign material” in the vaginal mucosa. It really would be best if you (and everyone else) read the coroner’s exact wording on that again to understand exactly what he is saying (IMO).
    5. (Now this item is admittedly my interpretation, but I feel it is obvious, and pertinent, and therefore evidentiary.) The parents of an assumedly murdered child lying to, and later evading questions from, investigators.


    Got it? Five items. Why did the end piece have to disappear?
     
    8paws likes this.
  13. Virtual Truth

    Virtual Truth New Member

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    Sorry if I seemed to rush you for your answer! This case is fascinating to say the least.

    I think you are telling me that you believe the paint brush was the tool used to rape this young beauty. I have just begun reading this case, so I do not have the answer to my next question. I hope that you or someone else does have the answer.

    Have there been forensic reports that tell us if the brush handle had fresh breaks at the end where this missing piece would have originated? Was it tested for DNA or markings for the interior abrasions she substained?

    Thank you for answering so promptly! I appreciate all of your research!!
     
  14. mcsmom

    mcsmom New Member

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    I should have explained myself better, the paintbrush could have been used as a sort of locking device to a bed say with spindles or slats or an old fashion radiator, something of this nature and possibly the reason for three broken pieces. The brush, thin enough to fit between something and then turned it to a horizontal position to prevent movement, and easily removed.
     
  15. OpenMind4U

    OpenMind4U New Member

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    The missing piece was used in 'molestation' act?! Or simply because the whole stick would be too long for the SMALL hand of the 'abuser' and need to be shorten-up for easy manipulation???
     
  16. Bobbarita

    Bobbarita New Member

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  17. DeeDee249

    DeeDee249 Well-Known Member

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    There was no spindle bed, nor a radiator that the paintbrush handle would have been stuck through. To see the headboards of both kids' rooms, take a look at the crime photos.
     
  18. otg

    otg Well-Known Member

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    I think that probably the coroner said that what he found was “consistent” with digital penetration, meaning he didn’t really know at that time what caused the damage, but that it was not what would be typically be expected from a rape or penile insertion.

    I have very little medical knowledge, but I do know that in strangulations, there are several kinds of petechiae and ecchymoses that occur in the surrounding area and even in the eylids (conjuctival). They can be pin-sized to irregularly shaped blotches. I don’t feel confident enough to try and guess from the photos what each of them are, but I can offer solace to anyone in that there are no scratch mark around the ligature. It should be comforting to know that there was no lengthy struggle from the strangulation. My guess is (and this is only my belief) that she was already unconscious from the head blow.

    I don't remember now who the poster was, but someone on here posted that they had personal experience there (having been strangled), and that there was a great deal of grasping at the rope(?).

    About the ligature furrow, remember this: It was formed around the cord after having been left in place for over 24-hours. It is caused by the swelling of the tissue around where it was left in place for that long period of time. During the mere moments that it caused the strangulation, it may have been in a different position. Therefore (or should I say, “and hence”), you have to look at the other marks left behind from the cord for how it may have been positioned then.
     
  19. DeeDee249

    DeeDee249 Well-Known Member

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    I have seen the petechiae on JB's neck, and understand how and why it forms as result of strangulation. I think there were also petechiae in the lungs, also a common occurrence.
    But the mark I was thinking about in particular was the large red triangular abrasion that appears above and below the ligature furrow. It is several inches long, and that is the one that I thought sounded like the "V" shaped mark that was discussed in the article you posted.
     
  20. otg

    otg Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know which one you mean. It is not what is referred to as the "V" shape in strangulation. The "V" shape is formed where the cord/rope is pulled away from the victim -- up, down, or straight back. Think of it as the area of the cord/rope that would not be touching the back of the neck if it were loose enough while being pulled. If it is tight enough, it will be the area forming a mark on the neck where the knot (because of the geometry and mechanics) would form the bottom of the "V" (pointing up in a hanging). You're good at picturing these things in your mind, I'm sure you'll get it.
     

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