Cords, Knots, and Strangulation Devices

DeeDee249

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How about the leg/shoulder/back bruises noted being sustained by being restrained in a chair?

I doubt it. If you can find the photo of the shoulder bruise anywhere (it is hard to find), it looks more like someone kneeled on or pressed against shoulder her as they were tying or tightening the garrote. It is a large bruise.
 

SunnieRN

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In the video above, it talks about the abrasions on her face, rather than them being burns. That leads credence to the theory of the marks being from buttons or snaps. Wonder if my friend the ME was right about the rest?
 

rashomon

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otg’s Analysis (So what the hell is it?):

The way this was attached to the paintbrush, it looks to have been randomly wrapped multiple times (at least eight, possibly as many as eleven times) around the stick and then terminated by slipping under one or two of the wraps, maybe even with a simple overhand, and then tightened. There is no symmetry or apparent planning in tying the knot. It is simply a haphazardly attached length of cord on a piece of a broken paintbrush. Nothing more, nothing less.
ITA agree about the multiple wraps around the paintbrush piece being haphazardly tied, and imo one won't find this type of wrapping in a any rope and knot tying instruction manual. I believe the stager of the scene - the evidence points to Patsy whose jacket fibers were found (in the cord wraps, if memory serves) - amatuerishly, i. e. without using using any professional technique, tried to attach the remainder of the cord to the handle in a way that it would not come loose.
In the course of my JBR case research, I have tried, several times, to wrap a piece of cord around a pencil, and each time ended up with a similar
"layperson's" construction: I looped the cord around the pencil a couple of times and then, to make it hold, slipped one end the end under the wraps.
I
Now notice also (while we’re here on this knot) that the end of the cord closest to the paintbrush is not frayed. In other words, the end is straight and at a right angle to the length of the cord, and there is no part of the braiding that is longer than the rest. This means that it was cut while the cord was not being pulled or under any sort of tension (see below for explanation on fraying). The opposite end of this length of cord, coming from the ligature that was around JonBenet’s neck, is frayed, maybe by as much as 2-cm. This information will become (I think) important later on when we discuss exactly what happened.
The cord was made of soft nylon, and these cords fray very easily. Even if you cut them without any pull, they will fray instantly.
To me, it looks like the cylindrical shaped cord end one can see in in the wraps around the paintbrush handle, was still 'melted' together in some way, and had not yet been cut: http://www.acandyrose.com/garrote2.jpg

Maybe the cylindrical piece was the end of a rest of nylon cord laying around, which Patsy then grabbed from a basement drawer in her frantic search for staging material? It is somewhere in the back of my mind that the housekeepr LH even recognized the cord as coming from the Ramsey home, but I'm not sure if my memory is correct on that.
IAs you must surely know, there are many different types of cord and rope, each with a specific purpose. It may be twisted, woven, or braided. You’ve surely observed the way common rope or twine is made, by twisting and winding three separate strands together. Looking at the cord that was left on JonBenet’s body, you can tell that, unlike common rope or twine, it is braided on the outside.

From IRMI, by Steve Thomas:
“I (Thomas) retrieved one sample package, a fifty-foot length of white Stansport 32-strand, 3/16-inch woven cord that I had bought. Van Tassell (sp) pulled the cord out, frayed an end, held it against the end of the neck ligature, and said, ‘Look.’ The soft white braid and the inner weave appeared identical. ‘I think this is the same cord,’ he said.”

Otg, do you or others happen to have the Stansport cord?
If yes, it would interest me how the cord ends look like.
Among the many 'mistakes' the stager made was to leave a far too long piece of cord betwen the neck knot and the paintbrush stick.
Imo this is another indicator that the "garrote" construction was a mere stage prop which was fashioned after the the neck knot had been tied.
 

otg

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In the course of my JBR case research, I have tried, several times, to wrap a piece of cord around a pencil, and each time ended up with a similar
"layperson's" construction: I looped the cord around the pencil a couple of times and then, to make it hold, slipped one end the end under the wraps.

So how did it turn out? Did any of them look exactly like the one in the pictures? Mine didn't, which I think adds to what I feel is the "randomness" of how it was tied. As you point out (and I agree), it was tied "without using any professional technique". I don't have to point out to you, rashomon, because you see it; but I ask anyone else to just look at how the underlying wraps go in different directions, and then compare it to any illustrated knots you can find.

The cord was made of soft nylon, and these cords fray very easily. Even if you cut them without any pull, they will fray instantly.
To me, it looks like the cylindrical shaped cord end one can see in in the wraps around the paintbrush handle, was still 'melted' together in some way, and had not yet been cut: http://www.acandyrose.com/garrote2.jpg

True. That type of cord does fray easily, and you make a good point about the unfrayed end possibly being the stabilized end of the entire 50' length (if I understand you correctly). Were that the case, would not the cord have had to be almost perfectly planned and constructed to end up with that short end piece sticking out just the right amount (assuming that the other end of that 17" long section of cord was attached to a dead body)? I think more likely (JMO) is that the cord coming from JonBenet's neck was wrapped, tied off, and then the excess cut off close to the knot, maybe with scissors (distance from knot = ~2cm; amount of tension = none; length of time making cut = quick).

Maybe the cylindrical piece was the end of a rest of nylon cord laying around, which Patsy then grabbed from a basement drawer in her frantic search for staging material?

Yes, maybe it could have been laying around. We don't know with certainty that the $1.99 spent at McGuckin's was to buy that Stansport cord, but we know it is a definite possibility that they had it in their house. But be careful about assigning personal blame yet to an individual action. You might be assuming responsibility for the roles played in this based on your theory. Let's wait and look at all we know first, throw out all the possible red herrings, and then look at the most logical explanation of what happened. Then we'll figure out who the person is that would be the most likely one to have done any particular thing.

Otg, do you or others happen to have the Stansport cord?

No. But believe me, I've looked for it. I've seen similar, but never an exact match. Stansport products can be found online, but they might not be manufacturing that any more. (If they did, I think they would sell a lot!)

Among the many 'mistakes' the stager made was to leave a far too long piece of cord betwen the neck knot and the paintbrush stick.
Imo this is another indicator that the "garrote" construction was a mere stage prop which was fashioned after the the neck knot had been tied.

Yes!! Absolutely. But why?

I think it was to alter the existing evidence that was known to be the cause of death so that the motives behind it were obscured.

Think about this: An attempt was made to remove evidence of the sexual aspects of this (missing piece of paintbrush -- probably with blood and vaginal fluids on it, wiped blood on her legs, changed clothes). The evidence that was left was the evidence that pointed to the cause of death; but it was altered to some degree to make it look like something else happened.

Do you remember (according to IRMI) what Dr. Lee said (besides pointing out that the rice was already cooked)? How many others, besides Dr. Lee, who are familiar with the evidence (and who are more educated than me) have also said or made reference to an "accident"? How many people who have followed this case are so shocked at the end result of what happened that they can't imagine that this is in some way an "accident"?

rashomon, thank you for your detailed response and probing questions. I believe I may bring you around to seeing what I see.
.
 

rashomon

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So how did it turn out? Did any of them look exactly like the one in the pictures?
No, they didn't look exactly the same - just similar.

Mine didn't, which I think adds to what I feel is the "randomness" of how it was tied.
I totally agree with your assessment.

As you point out (and I agree), it was tied "without using any professional technique". I don't have to point out to you, rashomon, because you see it; but I ask anyone else to just look at how the underlying wraps go in different directions, and then compare it to any illustrated knots you can find.
One can't point it out often enough how much the amateurishly fashioned ligatures contradict the "complicated garrote" myth createdy by Team Ramsey.

True. That type of cord does fray easily, and you make a good point about the unfrayed end possibly being the stabilized end of the entire 50' length (if I understand you correctly). Were that the case, would not the cord have had to be almost perfectly planned and constructed to end up with that short end piece sticking out just the right amount (assuming that the other end of that 17" long section of cord was attached to a dead body)? I think more likely (JMO) is that the cord coming from JonBenet's neck was wrapped, tied off, and then the excess cut off close to the knot, maybe with scissors (distance from knot = ~2cm; amount of tension = none; length of time making cut = quick).
I agree that your explanation is the more likely scenario.
Originally Posted by rashomon
Maybe the cylindrical piece was the end of a rest of nylon cord laying around, which Patsy then grabbed from a basement drawer in her frantic search for staging material?
Yes, maybe it could have been laying around. We don't know with certainty that the $1.99 spent at McGuckin's was to buy that Stansport cord, but we know it is a definite possibility that they had it in their house. But be careful about assigning personal blame yet to an individual action. You might be assuming responsibility for the roles played in this based on your theory.
Let's wait and look at all we know first, throw out all the possible red herrings, and then look at the most logical explanation of what happened.
Otg, it is the fiber evdence implicating Patsy which makes me lean heavily toward seeing her as the stager of the "garrote" scene.
For fibers from the jacket she had been wearing to the Whites' party were found:
- In the paint tote where the the bristled end of the broken paintbrush was found
- On the blanket covering the body
- On the duct tape covering JonBenet's mouth.
- And if memory serves, also in the cord wraps of the broken paintbrush handle.
Imo all this fiber evidence links Patsy to the staging of this scene.

(Have to log out now, but will address the rest of your post asap).
 

Toltec

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Hair tangled on the knot and hair tangled on the stick...evidence the "garrote" was put together while JonBenet was lying unconcious.

Meyer than recorded a series of observations about a groove left in JonBenet's neck by the cord. In front, it was just below the prominence of her larynx. The coroner noted that the groove circled her neck almost completely horizontally, deviating only slightly upward near the back. At some points, the furrow was close to half an inch wide, and hemorrhaging and abrasions could be seen both above and below it. The groove included a roughly triangular abrasion, about he size of a 25-cent piece on the left side of the neck, that Meyer had seen when he first viewed the body at the Ramsey house.

PMPT: ppb, page 42.
 

joeskidbeck

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Hair tangled on the knot and hair tangled on the stick...evidence the "garrote" was put together while JonBenet was lying unconcious.

Meyer than recorded a series of observations about a groove left in JonBenet's neck by the cord. In front, it was just below the prominence of her larynx. The coroner noted that the groove circled her neck almost completely horizontally, deviating only slightly upward near the back. At some points, the furrow was close to half an inch wide, and hemorrhaging and abrasions could be seen both above and below it. The groove included a roughly triangular abrasion, about he size of a 25-cent piece on the left side of the neck, that Meyer had seen when he first viewed the body at the Ramsey house.

PMPT: ppb, page 42.

When I consider all of the evidence against this murderer/s, the facts you just stated are the ones that make think I could exact revenge against this person myself. That's sad, I am not that kind of person. But who could have done this to that beautiful little girl just to save their own worthless hyde. There has never been a word invented that descibes the person who did this.
 

otg

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Hair tangled on the knot and hair tangled on the stick...evidence the "garrote" was put together while JonBenet was lying unconcious.

I agree with that, but I would add, "unconscious, or already dead."
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Bobbarita

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Regarding fiber evidence...It seems to me that I usually read about the fibers from Patsy's jacket.

In IRMI by Steve Thomas, I came across the following passage regarding Patsy's jeans:

"Later a friend, who had come out from Boulder for the services, recalled that she was asked by Patsy to retrieve the black jeans Patsy had worn on the morning of December 26. Although the friend said Patsy really liked those jeans, I could only think of another reason why she would want those particular jeans from fifteen hundred miles away, since she had plenty of money and credit cards with her: fiber evidence."
 

Tadpole12

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True. That type of cord does fray easily, and you make a good point about the unfrayed end possibly being the stabilized end of the entire 50' length (if I understand you correctly). Were that the case, would not the cord have had to be almost perfectly planned and constructed to end up with that short end piece sticking out just the right amount (assuming that the other end of that 17" long section of cord was attached to a dead body)? I think more likely (JMO) is that the cord coming from JonBenet's neck was wrapped, tied off, and then the excess cut off close to the knot, maybe with scissors (distance from knot = ~2cm; amount of tension = none; length of time making cut = quick).



.

Hiya otg.

hmmm. That's something to contemplate, whether the rope was cut under tension, whether the frayed end, the direction of the fray indicates with which hand the rope may have been cut.
I found it difficult, ackward to tie the knot with only a short piece/end of rope to anchor the placement of the knot.
 

rashomon

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You beat me to it, rashomon. (GREAT to see you back!)
Thank you for the welcome back, Dave. I have been quite busy with some other projects, but now hope to have more time to be on the JBR forums again.
This case will never come to rest, despite all efforts of Team Scamsey to keept the truth hidden: that JonBenet was the victim of a domestic homicide.
 

rashomon

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Originally Posted by rashomon http://www.websleuths.com/forums/ima...s/viewpost.gif" target="_blank">http://www.websleuths.com/forums/ima...s/viewpost.gif
http://www.websleuths.com/forums/ima...s/viewpost.gif">http://www.websleuths.com/forums/ima...s/viewpost.gif
I don't think it does. I believe Patsy wanted to hide that the paintbrush end was used to inflict the genital wound.
rashomon,

Despite the paintbrush handle being used as part of the garrote? Does the missing piece, alike the cleansed flashlight, not flag up, its original use? e.g. absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence?
UKGuy,

The missing piece from the paintbrush tip poses a lot of questions indeed. Maybe in Patsy's mind, if LE could source both the infliction of the genital wound and the fashioning of the garrote back to her paintbrush, it might scream staging to them even more loudly than it already did.
An intruder first using one paintbrush end to inflict the genital wound, then breaking the same brush to fashion the garrote - that' a very odd scenario even for a 'criminally unsophisticated' stager to think out.

As for the flashlight wiped clean, it is true that the only explanation is that the Ramseys wanted to remove evidence from their having used it in connection with the crime.
It is easy to say, if one regards the case as an 'outsider' - why didn't they just tell themselves: "We don't have to wipe off any of our fingerprints, since the flashlight is ours, finding them on it would be normal."
Such coolness would be highly unlikely though, given the psychological state they must have been in. And who knows what else besides their fingerprints was on the flashlight, so "better safe than sorry" could have guided their actions, and they wiped it clean.
If they wanted to suggest an intruder brought this flashlight with him, then Patsy spoiled the whole charade by later admitting it was theirs.

In case they wanted to suggest the intruder had taken the flashlight from their home - it was kept in an unusual place, and too bad no interviewer asked Patsy: "How likely is it that an intruder, in that huge house of yours, just happened to find your flashlight in that drawer?"
What kid glove treatment the Ramseys were given in those interviews! :banghead:
 

rashomon

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Originally Posted by Toltec
Hair tangled on the knot and hair tangled on the stick...evidence the "garrote" was put together while JonBenet was lying unconcious.
I agree with that, but I would add, "unconscious, or already dead."
If JonBenet was already dead when the knot was tied around her neck, wouldn't the ligature furrow have been white instead of red? Medical info on that would be much appreciated.
Originally Posted by rashomon
Among the many 'mistakes' the stager made was to leave a far too long piece of cord betwen the neck knot and the paintbrush stick.
Imo this is another indicator that the "garrote" construction was a mere stage prop which was fashioned after the the neck knot had been tied.
Yes!! Absolutely. But why?
Imo to misdirect LE, the stager broke the paintbrush stick and wrapped the cord around it to suggest "cruelly tortured and strangled by an intruder" scenario.
I believe the stager of the scene only had a vague idea in mind how a "professional killing tool" was to look like, and since the "handle" was never pulled, did not realize the 'mistake' of the too long cord.
I think it was to alter the existing evidence that was known to be the cause of death so that the motives behind it were obscured.
What exactly are you thinking of as the cause of death? What role doesthe the head injury play in your theory?

Think about this: An attempt was made to remove evidence of the sexual aspects of this (missing piece of paintbrush -- probably with blood and vaginal fluids on it, wiped blood on her legs, changed clothes). The evidence that was left was the evidence that pointed to the cause of death; but it was altered to some degree to make it look like something else happened.

Do you remember (according to IRMI) what Dr. Lee said (besides pointing out that the rice was already cooked)? How many others, besides Dr. Lee, who are familiar with the evidence (and who are more educated than me) have also said or made reference to an "accident"? How many people who have followed this case are so shocked at the end result of what happened that they can't imagine that this is in some way an "accident"?
Yes I remember Dr. Lee speaking of a "horrific domestic accident" as a possibility. But since "domestic accident" is a very broad category, it covers many kinds of "accidents".
"Accident" indicates 'unplanned' and 'not premeditated' though, and imo this is what Dr. Lee wanted to convey.
rashomon, thank you for your detailed response and probing questions. I believe I may bring you around to seeing what I see.
My thanks to you as well, otg, for your take on this case.
I believe I may bring you around to seeing what I see.
I'm getting some idea of where you are headed, but don't want to jump to premature conclusions so soon. (Although I'm admittedly very curious to hear more about your time line of events!).
 

UKGuy

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If JonBenet was already dead when the knot was tied around her neck, wouldn't the ligature furrow have been white instead of red? Medical info on that would be much appreciated.

rashomon,

Some links:

http://www.exploreforensics.co.uk/ligature-marks.html
Ligature marks are normally dark brown in colour and have a red band on either side of these horizontal marks signifying the width of the item used to carry out strangulation.

http://www.corpus-delicti.com/ligature.html
PETECHIAE & OTHER SIGNS OF TRAUMA

There are associated physical evidences of traumatic asphyxia which can often be easily visibly identified in conjunction with ligature strangulation. Petechiae are often present on the victim([1], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [9]). Because veins are normally at lower pressure than arteries, traumatic injuries from an offending force to the neck(i.e. -ligature strangulation) cause an increase in venous pressure and an increase in capillary pressure that then causes damage to the inner walls of those capillaries. This damage produces minute points of bleeding which can be visible as pinpoint hemorrhages in the softer tissues. These minutes points of bleeding are called petechiae[3].

Look for scleral hemorrhage and petechiae in the eyes and insides of the eyelids[4]. Also look for petechiae in the cheeks and neck at or above the ligature furrow. Another place to look for petechiae is inside the nostril on the nasal membrane. The nasal mucosa is often overlooked by even trained pathologists for presence of petechiae.

Petechiae are not to be confused with freckle-like Tardieu spots. These are seen in hanging cases as, with time, punctate hemorrhages occur due to hydrostatic rupture of the vessels from blood pooling in the forearms, hands, and legs. Petechiae are much more minute, and associated with the soft tissue areas in the neck and head.

Also possible but not necessary is a bloody discharge from the nose and mouth of the victim. The presence of such a discharge is indicative of some kind of trauma. Absence of such a discharge from the victim should not be given a great deal of investigative weight in either direction.

OTHER EVIDENCE

As DiMaio[4] points out, hair is often found clutched in the hands of victims of ligature strangulation. The victim's hands should always be examined for evidence of any hair, fiber, or biological trace. Anything found should be documented and collected properly.

Fingernail clippings should be collected as well, but this is generally done by the ME or Coroner. The victim may have gouged her assailant and his skin may have collected under her nails. DiMaio mentions this but suggests that it "virtually never" occurs. This author is aware of a case in Connecticut where not only was tissue evident beneath a victims fingernails, but there was enough for a PCR DNA analysis. In that case, the DNA evidence was a deciding factor. It may be in the Homicide detectives best interest to suggest that the ME or Coroner to specifically look for the suspects tissue after taking the nail clippings if there is any question at all.

The hands of any victim at a homicide scene should always be bagged with paper bags, not plastic, to preserve any hair, fiber, or biological trace/transfer evidence.

http://brianpshaver.com/ligaturemarksnotphotographed.aspx
Ligature marks are normally dark brown in colour and have a red band on either side of these horizontal marks signifying the width of the item used to carry out strangulation.

http://dmmoyle.com/simeans.htm
The usual medical cause of death in a hanging is cerebral oximia; that is, lack of blood to the brain.
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In the bodies of elderly patients and in newborns the investigator may see false furrows completely encircling the neck underneath folds of fatty skin. Decomposing bodies may also artificially produce furrows around the neck where the neck swells up against clothing.

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DeeDee249

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I agree with that, but I would add, "unconscious, or already dead."
.

She couldn't have been already dead. The petechiae in her eyes, eyelids, throat and elsewhere indicate she was alive when she was strangled. She was almost certainly unconscious, though. There was no movement seen in the garrote cord as it squeezed her throat, nor was her tongue protruding.
The ligature marks show up as dark brown/reddish when the victim is alive only. Marks from the cord postmortem would be white.
 

otg

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I agree with that, but I would add, "unconscious, or already dead."
.

Because of confusion over my meaning, I should clarify:

I believe the stick/paintbrush was added as staging after JonBenet was already dead. The implied use of it (by adding it to the cord from her neck) as something to be pulled on, or used in any way while JB was alive (since the cord length is longer than her hair) shows that it was probably done without much clear or rational thinking -- and certainly no experience at actually using some device like that, as rashomon points out in Post #133.

Also, DeeDee249, I didn't mean that the strangulation occurred after death -- only the tying of the cord around the paintbrush. Obviously, as you point out, the petechiae (and possibly even Tardieu spots?) are proof that she was alive while the strangulation occurred.
.
 

Toltec

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Because of confusion over my meaning, I should clarify:

I believe the stick/paintbrush was added as staging after JonBenet was already dead. The implied use of it (by adding it to the cord from her neck) as something to be pulled on, or used in any way while JB was alive (since the cord length is longer than her hair) shows that it was probably done without much clear or rational thinking -- and certainly no experience at actually using some device like that, as rashomon points out in Post #133.

Also, DeeDee249, I didn't mean that the strangulation occurred after death -- only the tying of the cord around the paintbrush. Obviously, as you point out, the petechiae (and possibly even Tardieu spots?) are proof that she was alive while the strangulation occurred.
.

JonBenet's panties were wet in the front which suggests to me she was lying on her stomach when she urinated. Does anyone remember urine stains being discovered outside the wine cellar?
 

UKGuy

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otg

JonBenet Ramsey Autopsy Report, excerpt
CLINICOPATHLOGIC CORRELATION: Cause of death of this six year old
female is asphyxia by strangulation associated with craniocerebral
trauma.

There has been some debate as to what precisely Coroner Meyer means here. He does seem to be putting the asphyxia by strangulation first but recognizes that her head injury played its part, possibly manifesting as either hypoxia or a loss of motor control.

If JonBenet was not strangled by the ligature, how do you reckon this was achieved?


.
 

UKGuy

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JonBenet's panties were wet in the front which suggests to me she was lying on her stomach when she urinated. Does anyone remember urine stains being discovered outside the wine cellar?

Toltec,
Yes which suggests there was no bedwetting episode prior to her death, since she then voided her bladder.
 

DeeDee249

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JonBenet's panties were wet in the front which suggests to me she was lying on her stomach when she urinated. Does anyone remember urine stains being discovered outside the wine cellar?

Urine stains were found on a carpeted area of the basement outside the wineceller. This does suggest she was on her stomach when this happened, and the combination of anterior (front of the body) urine stains and the fact that the garrote knot was tied at the back of her neck indicate that she was on her stomach for both of these events. I believe this happened in the area just outside the WC, where the urine stains were found. Then, within a VERY brief time (within 15 minutes, before livor mortis pattern formed( she was placed on her BACK on the white blanket (which had been placed there before she was lain on it) in the WC.
 
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