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Thread: Arms in rigor 2

  1. #1

    Default Arms in rigor 2

    There's an old thread on this, but it goes a couple of years back, and of course we (I) got off on a number of tangents, so I'm just starting a new one to make it easier to start from scratch for us.

    Remember my questions about the crime scene photo which we saw very late in the history of this case where the body was still in the home, near the Christmas tree? We can see the living room rug under it.

    Also, we can see the paper bags on the hands of the child, standard operating procedure for LE when transporting the body of a crime victim, to preserve evidence on the hands. (Plastic bags can cause them to sweat, displacing evidence and degrading DNA.)

    What bothered me most about that photo is the position of the arms and hands we see in it. They're not in the "over her head" position we so long had been told they were in when JR found the body, which was in rigor. Rigor would have only continued for some 12 hrs or so before it would have begun to recede, as well. So when the coroner got to the body at the Ramsey home, about 8 pm that night, the hands would still have been in rigor, in the position in which we see them in this photo:



    We speculated a lot on why this photo depicts something other than "arms over her head." Remember the "drawing" and TV movie we saw, with them above, but to the each side of her head? That's not in this photo.

    Some wondered if the medical examiner broke the rigor to take this picture for some reason. It seemed an odd thing to do, but I'm not medical examiner, so really just can't figure it out.

    But today reading John Ramsey's 1998 interview with then DA investigator Smit and special prosecutor Kane, I think I may have figured it out. Maybe not, but let me continue with my thought in the next post.
    Last edited by koldkase; December 30, 2012, 3:49 pm at Sun Dec 30 15:49:01 UTC 2012.

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
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  2. #2

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    On day one of three consecutive days of interviews the Ramseys gave with the DA's Office in June, 1998, John described what he saw and did when he found Jonbenet's body in the cellar room.

    I'm including more than the focus of the wrist cord because I think the wording John used may be the source for the misunderstanding that the arms and hands were tied ABOVE the child's head, as in higher than, on each side. I'll bolden the passage I'm focusing on:

    9 LOU SMIT: Okay. What do you actually see
    10 now,
    11 I mean see in this room?
    12 JOHN RAMSEY: Well I see a white blanket
    13 that's folded across her body neatly.
    14 LOU SMIT: It was neatly folded across the
    15 body?
    16 JOHN RAMSEY: Yeah.
    17 LOU SMIT: Now describe that just a little
    18 bit? Was it --
    19 JOHN RAMSEY: She was laying on the blanket.
    20 LOU SMIT: Was it laying on the back?
    21 JOHN RAMSEY: Yeah. On the back. The blanket
    22 was caught up around and crossed in front of her
    23 as if somebody was tucking her in.
    24 LOU SMIT: Talk about the tape?
    25 JOHN RAMSEY: There was a piece of fairly
    0166
    1 wide black tape, which I immediately took off. Her
    2 lips were blue.
    3 LOU SMIT: Where were you standing when
    4 you
    5 did that, John?
    6 JOHN RAMSEY: I was, she was like right
    7 there and I was right here.
    8 LOU SMIT: So you hadn't gone into the wine
    9 cellar, you were still on the north side of her at
    10 that point?
    11 JOHN RAMSEY: Right. Um hmm.
    12 LOU SMIT: And the duct tape, do you remember
    13 if it was adhered all the way to her mouth?
    14 JOHN RAMSEY: Yeah. It wasn't really duct
    15 tape, it was -- well I'm sure you've seen it. But
    16 it was like black. It wasn't electrical tape. It
    17 was kind of white, black, unusual tape, I thought.
    18 LOU SMIT: What did you do with the tape?
    19 JOHN RAMSEY: I think I took it off with my
    20 right hand and just dropped it. I didn't do
    21 anything specific with it.
    22 LOU SMIT: What else do you remember right
    23 at that time?
    24 JOHN RAMSEY: I just remember just talking
    25 and, (Come on baby.̃ And I tried to untie her
    0167
    1 arms; they were tied up behind her head.

    2 LOU SMIT: Were they tied tight?
    3 JOHN RAMSEY: Yeah, very tight.
    4 LOU SMIT: They were very tight?
    5 JOHN RAMSEY: I noticed a spot in her coat, [I believe he may have said "throat", not coat]
    6 below the surface.
    7 LOU SMIT: How do you know they were tied
    8 tight?
    9 JOHN RAMSEY: Because they were -- you know,
    10 her skin was swollen around. And they were not
    11 easy to get off. I tried to untie them quickly and
    12 I just picked her up carried her upstairs.
    I was
    13 screaming. In fact, I couldn't even scream.
    14 And then I brought her upstairs into the
    15 living room and later there, at one point, tried
    16 to untie the not further, and Linda Arndt stopped
    17 me from doing it.
    18 LOU SMIT: The knot?
    19 JOHN RAMSEY: Right.
    20 LOU SMIT: Where?
    21 JOHN RAMSEY: Up on her arms.
    And I didn't
    22 notice the -- as I noticed the blood below the
    23 surface, but I didn't notice this core around the
    24 neck.
    25 LOU SMIT: Now when you brought her up, did
    0168
    1 you bring her from the basement, and did you meet
    2 anybody up on the first floor?
    3 JOHN RAMSEY: I don't remember anybody. I
    4 just remember bringing her in and laying her -- I
    5 mean there were people in the dining and living
    6 room. But I remember Linda Arndt kneeling down
    7 beside her. I was there and Linda said she's dead.
    8 And I didn't want -- Patsy hadn't come in the --
    So JR said her arms/hands were "tied up behind her head."

    Now here is the "depiction" we had for years and took for granted as based on the actual position of the arms and hands in rigor:
    Attached Images Attached Images  

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    ~~~~~~~
    Bloomies underwear model:
    3 Dimensional

    ~~~~~~
    My opinions, nothing more.

  3. #3

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    I think I know what you're getting at. I don't think any of us noticed the difference in the words "over" and "behind."

  4. #4

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    Looking at the caption on the drawing depicting the body's position, we can see it was based on the autopsy. But I now believe it was simply misinterpreted. Using what Ramsey himself said about the position of the arms, let's compare:

    24 JOHN RAMSEY: I just remember just talking
    25 and, (Come on baby.̃ And I tried to untie her
    0167
    1 arms; they were tied up behind her head.
    [/COLOR]
    What if JR meant the CORD was looped around BEHIND her head, meaning her arms were "tied up behind her head" because the cord was looped around her head/neck?

    That would explain what held her arms up like they are shown in the actual photo, freezing them in rigor that way.

    Though of course that just gives me more questions....
    Attached Images Attached Images  

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    ~~~~~~~
    Bloomies underwear model:
    3 Dimensional

    ~~~~~~
    My opinions, nothing more.

  5. #5

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    That could explain the long length of cord between the two wrists where it was tied.

  6. #6
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    I am sure the coroner did not break rigor to take that photo. For one thing, the stage of rigor is very important in a crime scene- and the coroner himself might not have been there at the time the photo was taken- most crime photos have a special forensic photographer who would never interfere with a crime scene. The term "up over her head" is nothing more than JR's own version. That drawing that so many seem to view as gospel was drawn by someone who never even saw the crime scene or the body. It was drawn from a description.

    Det. Arndt NEVER mentioned stopping JR from trying to untie her arms. We know for a fact that the autopsy disclosed NO marks on her wrists that indicate she had been tied at all. The loose cord on one wrist is nothing more than staging.

    One thing though - rigor mortis is the reason there is such a long length of cord between her arms. Her wrists COULDN't be pulled closer together.
    This is my Constitutionally protected OPINION. Please do not copy or take it anywhere else.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeDee View Post
    I am sure the coroner did not break rigor to take that photo. For one thing, the stage of rigor is very important in a crime scene- and the coroner himself might not have been there at the time the photo was taken- most crime photos have a special forensic photographer who would never interfere with a crime scene. The term "up over her head" is nothing more than JR's own version. That drawing that so many seem to view as gospel was drawn by someone who never even saw the crime scene or the body. It was drawn from a description.

    Det. Arndt NEVER mentioned stopping JR from trying to untie her arms. We know for a fact that the autopsy disclosed NO marks on her wrists that indicate she had been tied at all. The loose cord on one wrist is nothing more than staging.

    One thing though - rigor mortis is the reason there is such a long length of cord between her arms. Her wrists COULDN't be pulled closer together.
    I am pondering that very thing.

    But that would mean she'd been dead long enough to be in rigor before the wrist binding was cut and tied.

    I don't think there is any question she was alive when she left the White's party...too many people would have to have conspired to cover that up, a la Nancy Krebs insanity.

    So let's say outside chance, she died at the Stine's house--which I am not saying she did, but following through with the implication of your statement.

    That's sometime around 9 pm she would have died. Then her body was taken to her house; and rigor would be setting in by what time, which would demand cutting the cord at the length to tie around both wrists?

    See my problem? How could there be that much rigor, even if she died that early, to be in rigor already when the cord was tied and 911 was called at 5:50 a.m.?

    I'm sure I'm missing something important in your post. Sorry, as you may have to explain it to me. And thanks in advance.

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    ~~~~~~~
    Bloomies underwear model:
    3 Dimensional

    ~~~~~~
    My opinions, nothing more.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by koldkase View Post
    I am pondering that very thing.

    But that would mean she'd been dead long enough to be in rigor before the wrist binding was cut and tied.

    I don't think there is any question she was alive when she left the White's party...too many people would have to have conspired to cover that up, a la Nancy Krebs insanity.

    So let's say outside chance, she died at the Stine's house--which I am not saying she did, but following through with the implication of your statement.

    That's sometime around 9 pm she would have died. Then her body was taken to her house; and rigor would be setting in by what time, which would demand cutting the cord at the length to tie around both wrists?

    See my problem? How could there be that much rigor, even if she died that early, to be in rigor already when the cord was tied and 911 was called at 5:50 a.m.?

    I'm sure I'm missing something important in your post. Sorry, as you may have to explain it to me. And thanks in advance.
    Rigor sets in the arms before the legs. We know she was in full rigor (total body involvement) at 1:30 PM. With death occurring around midnight-1 AM, there was plenty of time for rigor to pull her arms up into that position. Although the cord around her neck killed her, We don't know for sure when the loops were put around her wrists. With no marks to guide us, it could very well have come much later- possibly even during JR's 10 AM "disappearance".
    This is my Constitutionally protected OPINION. Please do not copy or take it anywhere else.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeDee View Post
    Rigor sets in the arms before the legs. We know she was in full rigor (total body involvement) at 1:30 PM. With death occurring around midnight-1 AM, there was plenty of time for rigor to pull her arms up into that position. Although the cord around her neck killed her, We don't know for sure when the loops were put around her wrists. With no marks to guide us, it could very well have come much later- possibly even during JR's 10 AM "disappearance".
    Now that's an interesting thought.

    One thing I've pondered when looking at that photo with the bagged hands is she looks almost like she was lying on her side, in bed, with her arms/hands in a common position during sleep, in front of the head, almost a "prayer" position?

    This might explain the blood on the pillowcase Haney discussed with Patsy, implying that was from JB's nose.

    But wouldn't livor mortis tell that tale? If she were on her side, versus her back, and then moved?

    I guess I'm wondering what would have kept her arms in that position long enough for them to freeze that way in rigor. If she were on her back, it seems they'd have to be suspended somehow, but was there any indication of that at autopsy?

    I have observed a faint "white line" on the right wrist in one crime scene photo which I've wondered about. I could be imagining it, as the pics are so bad, or it could be from ink bleed in the photo, or in a tabloid, or some such. If it was there, because it's white it could have been from the cord on the wrist, post mortem, I'm thinking.

    Or are you referencing the "boxing" position which rigor sometimes causes in victims? I know you're good at this, so thanks for taking the time to explain all you do, Deedee, as I'm losing so much from all the years of speculation and discussion I have a harder time keeping up than ever.

    There's another thing about this picture that bothers me: if her arms were in "front" and "above" and not to the sides and above, where is her face turned to the "side"? I don't see that in this photo, either, as the rug at the edge of her back indicates she's in more of a curled-up, fetal position than a laid-out-on-her-back one?

    I'm so confused at this point. WTH is going on in this picture?

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    ~~~~~~~
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    3 Dimensional

    ~~~~~~
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by koldkase View Post
    Now that's an interesting thought.

    One thing I've pondered when looking at that photo with the bagged hands is she looks almost like she was lying on her side, in bed, with her arms/hands in a common position during sleep, in front of the head, almost a "prayer" position?

    This might explain the blood on the pillowcase Haney discussed with Patsy, implying that was from JB's nose.

    But wouldn't livor mortis tell that tale? If she were on her side, versus her back, and then moved?

    I guess I'm wondering what would have kept her arms in that position long enough for them to freeze that way in rigor. If she were on her back, it seems they'd have to be suspended somehow, but was there any indication of that at autopsy?

    I have observed a faint "white line" on the right wrist in one crime scene photo which I've wondered about. I could be imagining it, as the pics are so bad, or it could be from ink bleed in the photo, or in a tabloid, or some such. If it was there, because it's white it could have been from the cord on the wrist, post mortem, I'm thinking.

    Or are you referencing the "boxing" position which rigor sometimes causes in victims? I know you're good at this, so thanks for taking the time to explain all you do, Deedee, as I'm losing so much from all the years of speculation and discussion I have a harder time keeping up than ever.

    There's another thing about this picture that bothers me: if her arms were in "front" and "above" and not to the sides and above, where is her face turned to the "side"? I don't see that in this photo, either, as the rug at the edge of her back indicates she's in more of a curled-up, fetal position than a laid-out-on-her-back one?

    I'm so confused at this point. WTH is going on in this picture?
    Yes, KK - the "boxer's" position (arms pulled up, bent at the elbow). The process of rigor "pulls" the arms into this position in many cases- they need not be kept in that position as it forms. In think in JB's case, they were possibly at her sides or across her lower abdomen or even bent at the elbow, wrists near her chin or ears. Either position would have allowed them to be pulled up into the position in the photo, as the muscles contracted tighter and tighter, caused by the chemical process of rigor mortis.
    Livor mortis is not a chemical process, per se. It is simply gravity acting on liquid inside the body. Livor forms rather quickly, and in JB's case there is no evidence the body was moved (at least not during the UNfixed time). But by the time livor was fixed, rigor will have progressed significantly, making the possibility that the body was moved very remote. She could have been moved from deeper in the wineceller to a place nearer the door without disturbing rigor or livor if she was merely pulled along the floor on the blanket until she was close enough to be seen when someone opened the door. I believe this is what may have happened when JR "disappeared" that morning for 2 hours. He was rearranging the crime scene. And I think this made FW sit up and take notice, as he had looked in there and seen nothing. I think she was in there, but deeper into he room.
    This is my Constitutionally protected OPINION. Please do not copy or take it anywhere else.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeDee View Post
    Yes, KK - the "boxer's" position (arms pulled up, bent at the elbow). The process of rigor "pulls" the arms into this position in many cases- they need not be kept in that position as it forms. In think in JB's case, they were possibly at her sides or across her lower abdomen or even bent at the elbow, wrists near her chin or ears. Either position would have allowed them to be pulled up into the position in the photo, as the muscles contracted tighter and tighter, caused by the chemical process of rigor mortis.
    Livor mortis is not a chemical process, per se. It is simply gravity acting on liquid inside the body. Livor forms rather quickly, and in JB's case there is no evidence the body was moved (at least not during the UNfixed time). But by the time livor was fixed, rigor will have progressed significantly, making the possibility that the body was moved very remote. She could have been moved from deeper in the wineceller to a place nearer the door without disturbing rigor or livor if she was merely pulled along the floor on the blanket until she was close enough to be seen when someone opened the door. I believe this is what may have happened when JR "disappeared" that morning for 2 hours. He was rearranging the crime scene. And I think this made FW sit up and take notice, as he had looked in there and seen nothing. I think she was in there, but deeper into he room.
    Thanks for explaining this to me, Deedee. Again.

    I really have to think about this. Again.

    "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos declared the letter a 'reckless exoneration.' He went on to state, 'Everyone knows that relative immunity from criminal conviction is something money can buy.
    Apparently another thing it can buy is an apology for even being suspected of a crime you probably already would have been convicted of committing if you happened to be poor.'"
    FF: WRKJB?

    ~~~~~~~
    Bloomies underwear model:
    3 Dimensional

    ~~~~~~
    My opinions, nothing more.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeDee View Post
    Yes, KK - the "boxer's" position (arms pulled up, bent at the elbow). The process of rigor "pulls" the arms into this position in many cases- they need not be kept in that position as it forms. In think in JB's case, they were possibly at her sides or across her lower abdomen or even bent at the elbow, wrists near her chin or ears. Either position would have allowed them to be pulled up into the position in the photo, as the muscles contracted tighter and tighter, caused by the chemical process of rigor mortis.
    Livor mortis is not a chemical process, per se. It is simply gravity acting on liquid inside the body. Livor forms rather quickly, and in JB's case there is no evidence the body was moved (at least not during the UNfixed time). But by the time livor was fixed, rigor will have progressed significantly, making the possibility that the body was moved very remote. She could have been moved from deeper in the wineceller to a place nearer the door without disturbing rigor or livor if she was merely pulled along the floor on the blanket until she was close enough to be seen when someone opened the door. I believe this is what may have happened when JR "disappeared" that morning for 2 hours. He was rearranging the crime scene. And I think this made FW sit up and take notice, as he had looked in there and seen nothing. I think she was in there, but deeper into he room.
    Wow. Good post, DeeDee! A lot to ponder here.



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