scooter theory - failure analysis only

Discussion in 'Rebecca Zahau Nalepa' started by STS-135, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    The purpose of this new thread is to please discuss only the following theory. Any and all commentary, insights, suggestions for analysis or revisions, questions, or even just gut feelings are welcome - but only as long as they are please directly related to one of the 20 items below.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Maxie tried to lift the fully-extended scooter by the handle to take it downstair.

    2. Foot section swiveled and bumped into the newel post (see photo with dent halfway up the post)

    3. He's having trouble keeping the foot section from swiveling so he decides to put it over his right shoulder

    4. The 7-pound foot section, at the end of the fully extended steerer tube, likely with his left hand on the handle and his right hand on the tube, then swivels and strikes him hard on the right shoulder and neck, explaining that completely and previously unexplainable plane of injuries.

    5. Maxie reacts to the pain and uses both his hands to literraly swing the foot section away from him, exerting so much force on the steerer tube, alike swinging a baseball bat, that the foot section now swings violently in a counter-clockwise direction (when viewed from above).

    6. The foot section strikes the flared/tapered edge of the newel post and banister.

    7. All the damage on the hallway-facing edge of the newel post and banister match scooter components *exactly*, as you can no doubt also go confirm yourself.

    8. The foot section bounces off the the banister as a result of that violent strike, moving the combined COG even higher - much higher as it is at the end of the fully extended steerer tube.

    9. Not only is the combined COG much, much higher now after the foot section bounces off the banister, it is also hanging at the other end of the steerer tube - a very long lever.

    10. The steerer tube, as Maxie continues to try to hold on to it as the scooter starts to succumb to gravity and starts moving downward, comes into contact with the corner/edge of the newel post facing towards the chandelier - that damage is clearly visible on the high-res photos, clearly the result of a metal object (in this case an aluminum pipe) hitting and then rubbing against it and leaving those dark rub marks you too can no doubt see.

    11. The foot section of the scooter, still moving in a counter-clockwise direction (when viewed from above) after bouncing, exerted such a force on 40-pound Maxie at the other end of the steerer tube (lever) that he moved to what by then was his left and went down one step on the staircase.

    12. The effect of the Combined-COG, by now incredibly higher than the Combined-COG graphed/reported by the experts, is now way above what would be required for Maxie to easily fall over that much lower part of the railing (one step down)

    13. As if #12 wasn't already enough, the 7-pound foot section is exerting a huge force on Maxie, but I agree with you, only partially overcoming the effect of gravity.

    14. As if #12 and #13 together were not already enough, the foot section is also still moving violently, and the momentum it generates at the other end of that lever/steerer tube, is more than enough to throw Maxie off balance

    15. Maxie is literally catapulted over the banister.

    16. The scooter violently strikes the chandelier, so hard in fact to snap one of the chain links, however, it takes a moment longer to actually rip that electrical cable, which slows down the descent of the scooter.

    17. Maxie's 40-pound body literraly torpedoes straigh into the ground. Followed by the chandelier and the scooter.

    18. Chandelier falls next to Maxie. They never come in contact with each other, thus no cuts.

    19. Scooter lands on Maxie's back, creates those injuries in a "7 shape", strikes the back of his neck, and the relatively sharp edge of the foot section scrapes the skin off his back in two spots (the ones I earlier speculated looked more like carpet burns). Dina finds skin redisue in his shirt later.

    20. This is the only scenario that explains both, the level of injuries Maxie suffered to his face, skull and neck, as well as those previously mysterious and extremely disconcerning shoulder injuries which occured in a completely different plane.

    RIP Maxie Shacknai.
     
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  3. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    Minor additions and revisions made for clarity. All photo references based on the photograph on page 9 of Dr. Bove's report (page 11 of the PDF file) which can be safely downloaded from the Dina's Independent Experts Summary Reports thread right here on this same forum. Will continue to update as needed.

    1. Maxie was standing at the top of the staircase, facing it, the scooter still on the ground and to his right. Maxie then tried to lift the scooter straight-up by the fully-extended handle to take it downstairs.

    2. The foot section of the scooter swiveled gently and bumped into the newel post, causing the dent visible halfway up the right-side edge of the post.

    3. Maxie realizes he's having trouble keeping the foot section from swiveling back and forth, so he decides to put it over his right shoulder.

    4. As Maxie lifts the scooter, with his left hand on the handle at the end of the fully extended steerer tube and his right hand on the tube, the motion he exerts on the scooter is similar to that of a baseball bat being moved to a batting possition. As the scooter moves above his shoulder height, the 7-pound foot section of the scooter (now inverted) swivels clockwise (viewed from above) and strikes him hard on the right shoulder and neck, explaining that completely and previously unexplainable plane of injuries.

    5. Maxie reacts to the pain and uses both his hands to literally swing the foot section away from him, exerting so much force on the steerer tube, similar to swinging a baseball bat, that the foot section now swings violently in a counter-clockwise direction (viewed from above).

    6. The foot section strikes the flared/tapered edge of the newel post and banister. It causes all the damage visible on the tapered hallway-facing edge of the newel post as well as the damage visible on the same edge of the banister approximately 19 inches from the outer edge of the newel post. The single dent 19 inches away from the outer edge of the post was caused by the top of the metal guard over the rear wheel. It's not difficult to see the damage suffered by the metal guard on the photo in the first post of the old Maxie's Scooter thread.

    7. All of the strike marks and scrapes on the hallway-facing edge of the newel post and banister match scooter components exactly based on my own hands-on but unscientific experimenation.

    8. The foot section bounces violently off the the banister as it continues to spin counter-clockwise (viewed from above). As the the scooter goes up and over the banister, it moves the Combined COG much higher.

    9. In addition to the Combined COG already being much higher that the experts estimated, the 7-pound section is also hanging at the other end of the fully extended steerer tube - which becomes a very long lever.

    10. The steerer tube, as Maxie continues to try to hold on to it as the scooter starts to succumb to gravity and starts falling downward, comes into contact with the corner/edge of the newel post facing towards the chandelier. It removes some paint where the clamp on the steerer tube comes into full contact, which is later found by LE on the clamp. And it also leaves what is clearly the result of an aluminum pipe rubbing against it, also clearly visible in the same photo.

    11. The foot section of the scooter, still moving in a counter-clockwise direction (viewed from above) after bouncing off the banister and newel post, exerts a considerable force on 40-pound Maxie at the other end of the long steerer tube (lever). Maxie, still trying to hold on to the scooter as the responsible boy that he apparently was, either purposefuly moves to his left and down one step on the staircase to try to pull it back over the banister - or the force is so great that he's forced to move down one step while trying to keep his balance.

    12. The Combined-COG, now much higher than estimated by the experts, is now way above what would be required for Maxie to easily fall over that much lower part of the railing one step down from the top of the staircase.

    13. In addition to the Combined COG now being much higher than required to go over the lower part of the railing, the 7-pound foot section is also exerting a force on Maxie because it's hanging at the other end of a long lever. The pivot point for the lever is the point of contact described in #10. Maxie only weighed 40 pounds.

    14. The combined effect of #10, 11, 12 and 13 throws Maxie off balance.

    15. Maxie is literally vaulted (not catapulted) over the banister.

    16. The scooter strikes the chandelier so hard that one chain link snaps; but it takes longer to rip the cable out of the electrical box so the fall of the scooter is slowed down a bit.

    17. Maxie's 40-pound body literally torpedoes straigh into the ground, explaining his heart-wrenching craneal injuries much better than had he actually bounced off the banister at a much lower point as LE suggested. As he fell, Maxie was followed by the chandelier and the 8.25-pound scooter.

    18. Chandelier falls next to Maxie. They never come in contact with each other; thus he suffers no abrasions/cuts.

    19. The 8.25 pound scooter lands on Maxie's back, creating those injuries in a 7-shape visible on the ICU photos released by his Mom and striking the back of his neck. The relatively sharp edge of the foot section scrapes the skin off Maxie's back in two spots. Dina later finds what she correctly believes to have been skin residue inside his shirt.

    20. This is the only scenario that explains both, the type and level of injuries Maxie suffered to his face, skull, neck and back, as well as those previously mysterious and extremely disconcerning shoulder injuries which occured in a completely different plane.

    I am still working hard on my theory. Any and all assistance with the analysis and writeup would be most welcome. Partly, because I pray that Maxie's Family may hopefully finally get the answers they too deserve. Mostly, because I strongly believe that it is high time that we all please allow Maxie to rest in peace. Thank you.

    RIP Maxie Shacknai
     
  4. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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  5. katydid23

    katydid23 Verified Juanette

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    I agree that everything you wrote is a viable scenario. The only sentence I do not agree with is this [BBM] :




    20. This is the only scenario that explains both, the level of injuries Maxie suffered to his face, skull and neck, as well as those previously mysterious and extremely disconcerning shoulder injuries which occured in a completely different plane.



    It is not the ONLY scenario that explains the injuries, imo
     
  6. *Lash*

    *Lash* Justice 4 Rebecca

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    Rebecca's family asked private investigator Paul Ciolino for his help in the case.

    http://drphil.com/slideshows/slideshow/6578/?id=6578&showID=1731&versionID=

    http://www.azfamily.com/news/10/Zah...Phil-on-results-of-new-autopsy-133848183.html
     
  7. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    It is the only scenario that explains all the injuries, including those on Maxie's shoulder, as well as all the relevant scene evidence. Other theories discussed to date either fail to explain all the injuries Maxie suffered, or fail to explain the damage to the newel post and banister, or fail to do both. However, if you know of another theory that explains both, please feel free to post it to the other scooter thread because it might help refine this new theory.

    Also, for the time being all I can reallly say is to please be patient because Dina's experts took a whole nine months to do their analysis and write their reports; I've only had two weeks and the bulk of the work thus still remains to be done. I am now firmly convinced, however, that this theory will make perfect sense in due time.
     
  8. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    The purpose of this thread, as respectfully explained from its inception, is to please discuss only this new scooter theory. Analysis, comments, insights, questions, revisions, suggestions, and even gut feelings are all welcome; but only as long as they are please directly related to this new scooter theory. Thanks in advance!
     
  9. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    Attachment A - Autopsy Report Summary
     

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  10. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    Attachment B - Coronado Police Department Death Investigation
     

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  11. LoveAlways7

    LoveAlways7 New Member

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    I never want to be disrespectful... but this post calls to mind lessons learned in English I and II... Lessons in various literary employments... tricks and hyperbole, that in the end make a story go together.

    I apologize for being a bit of a smart az...

    May I also ask, if the chandelier was so faulty... did "ANYONE" make a claim against a homeowners insurance policy?
     
  12. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    My comments in bold blue.


     
  13. time

    time New Member

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    STS... thank you for putting so much work into this. I don't feel qualified to judge it as the only theory or it's scientific veracity on fine points, but I hope others will chime in who want to dig into the details.
     
  14. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    No need to feel qualified to provide valuable input. If I believed that, I would've either simply dismissed almost everything I read on the scooter thread or not even bothered to read it in the first place. But I would've then been unable develop and refine this new theory entirely on my own.

    In other words, and at the risk of repeating myself, it was input from you and others (great analysis and insight sometimes, crazy hunches and wild guesses at other times), that led us where we are today.

    Accordingly, anything and everything is truly welcome on this thread - provided that it is please somehow directly related to this new scooter theory.

    Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
     
  15. Carioca

    Carioca New Member

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    Hi STS-135 - In keeping with captain's orders to remain on topic on this launch, attached is an illustration, to scale, of little Max, the fateful scooter, and the injuries to his back. I regret having to superimpose the actual photo of the injuries, but it seemed the only way to verify if your theory regarding the back injuries holds water.

    No matter which way I flipped the front part of the scooter, I couldn't get the sharp foot section to align. Nonetheless, the illustration serves to demonstrate that the top puncture wound aligns with the protruding ring below the telescoping "tube," the middle puncture wound aligns with the sharp edge where the wheel cover begins, and the bottom puncture wound aligns with the bolt that hold the tire in place. This position clearly creates the "7" shape both horizontally and vertically.
    :drumroll:
     

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  16. K_Z

    K_Z Verified Anesthetist

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    BBM and snipped for focus. I tend to strongly agree with a head first impact from an unimpeded head first fall. However, I have no biometric analysis to accompany my opinion.

    It would have been most helpful if Dr. Bove had not been so severely constrained in his work product. He was paid to do only 2 things-- disprove the analysis of the injury produced by LE, and discuss IF Dina and Melinek's assault scenario "could" have happened. He was not permitted to opine beyond those parameters from his and Melinek's own discussions. He was not permitted to look at many other fall or accident scenarios, such as the one you are pondering.

    What would be helpful for any accident reconstruction is for a biomechanical expert to calculate the force and angle necessary to produce a sagittal skull fracture of 7 1/2" in a 40 lb child, and compare that to the estimated distance of the impact. (Which I believe was 10+ feet.) My hunch is that it would take a headfirst fall of unimpeded (not bouncing off the railing) mass + acceleration to get enough force to produce that pattern of skull fracture. But an expert should run the numbers.

    What I will say is that from a purely medical standpoint, Max's 7 1/2" sagittal (vertical orientation) skull fracture is absolutely massive, in relation to the total length of the top of his head.

    He was not a large child. Essentially, a 7 1/2" fracture splits the skull into 2 parts, almost. It takes a very significant impact to do that, EVEN taking into account that the fracture "may have" (we don't know from the AR) followed the natural sagittal suture line of the skull.

    I don't think there is any foul play in this child's accident. I don't think Rebecca had a single thing to do with Max's fall. I think it's possible he fell alone while either playing or descending the steps.

    I think the scooter was somehow involved, and my opinion is that if the scooter had not been in the house upstairs and allowed as indoor play, Max may not have fallen to his death. I know it's not popular to criticize parents, but I strongly believe the parental permissiveness (by both parents) of the indoor scooter play directly contributed to Max's death. I could say more about this, but won't here.

    I also think it's possible (but not certain) other kids were present. Either way, I strongly believe it was either immaturity (a child too young to fully appreciate and anticipate the dangers, or not strong enough to recover from a loss of balance), or inappropriate play that lead to the fall.

    I think your theory makes more sense that the graphic scenario produced by LE.
     
  17. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    Gomez, Mark A. Biomechanics of Soft-Tissue Injury.
    Encinitas: Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company, October 6, 2011. Kindle Edition.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=B005TJ5340



     
  18. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    Attachment C - Dr. Mark A. Gomez's Report
     

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  19. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    Attachment D - Comparative Visual Analysis
     

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  20. K_Z

    K_Z Verified Anesthetist

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  21. STS-135

    STS-135 Verified Expert

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    .....
     

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