- Feb 26, 2013
- Reaction score
Hi, yes, I am medically trained. I'm in my last year of medical school and I'm interested in pursuing a career in pathology.
Erythema is not usually consistent with any kind of assault, it occurs in inflammatory processes or infections for the most part. If there was trauma you would've seen bruising - blood in the skin.
The subject of strangulation is a very delicate one, as there can be no external markings, but there could be internal markings such as contusion hemorrhage in the muscles of the neck, fractured hyoid bone or signs of injury to the laryngeal cartilages.
Focal erythema of the thyroid, however, not a sign of strangulation.
Thanks for sharing your expertise. I hope you don't mind another question or two directed toward you? I find it curious that there are no contusions or lacerations anywhere given the precarious climb over the pipes and sharp angles of the hatch rim into a small opening on the tank. Possible, but not probable that there is not one mark on her. The sheer absence of anything seems off to me, not to mention no trail of her was detected by SAR dogs. I feel there is just as much a lack of compelling evidence to rule this an accident as there is to rule out homicide.
Signs of strangulation would be more obvious as would any sort of rape trauma, as you point out. Would it be so easy to assign cause of death as drowning if EL had been asphyxiated somehow prior to immersion in tank?
In comparison, in an unsolved similar case near my home the autopsy revealed the girl was asphyxiated to some degree prior to immersion in a bathtub, so death ruled a homicide though also no signs of trauma. They don't even know if she was alive or not before she ended up in the tub. How in the world, then, was it concluded EL was alive when she entered the tank and asphyxiated by water? Generally, it seems extremely difficult to prove drowning as cause of death. For anyone not familiar, here is a reference; not the most authoritative out there but a decent summary.
Just curious, if the video did not exist would the autopsy might have been more comprehensive and the manner of death ruled undetermined? From a medical or scientific standpoint, do you think that there is enough in this report to set this apart unequivocally as an accident? To me, Given there is no clear overwhelming physical evidence reported supporting that EL was alive when she went into the tank it seems professionally questionable to rule this death anything other than undetermined.