Autopsy questions

Discussion in 'Justice for JonBenet Discussion - Public Forum' started by rashomon, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Texan

    Texan FFJ Senior Member


    It sounds like blood that hadn't had a chance to coagulate but I remember someone explaining that it didn't mean a lack of coagulation. I will have to do some research on this, I certainly don't remember which thread it was on. I guess only the killer would know if she was conscious or not but I don't think she would have been for very long after that huge crack was made in her skull.

    There may not have been many petechiae on her lungs but a few is more than a child without a cord around their neck might have.
    The question of the difference in damage between a conscious or unconscious victim would be alot, I am sure, but means very little to me because I am sure she was near death before the cord was tied on her neck so I believe at that point she was unconscious. Even if she was conscious for a time after the head blow, the staging with the cord and paintbrush would take some time and by then she would be unconscious. Just my opinion.
  2. Elle

    Elle Member

    This was a tragic accident KK. To think Natalie Richardson laughing after it and didn't want treatment, but they have their rules and the instructor did take her for medical attention when she complained of a headache. Sad!

    As for the injuries to JonBenét Ramsey, I'm amazed her injuries were not more fully discussed openly by a professional medical team on TV, complete with graphics to explain just exactly what happened. I'm hoping this will happen with the new investigation.
  3. Elle

    Elle Member

    Without a doubt, it was because JonBenét Ramsey was close to death, or dead which caused the Ramseys to create the staging in the first place.
  4. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Yes, Rat, this is all I know to do, considering the questions I have about this head blow and what the resulting time frame between it and the strangulation was.

    Of course, I may as well be trying to do brain surgery by reading a textbook. I know that medical language has peculiarities that only the trained actually "get".

    I was thinking today and wondering if Dr. Meyer did x-rays of the body before he began the autopsy, including the head. Since it's been reported he was "surprised" about the skull fracture when he pulled back the scalp, it wouldn't seem he did. Since she was dead and since he was going to find whatever was there anyway, I guess he didn't.

    Texan, I agree that JonBenet wouldn't have been conscious very long. But what gives me the chills is to think she might have heard her skull crack and realized that something terrible had happened to her. But maybe, and I hope this is true, though we'll never know...maybe she immediately fell unconscious.

    The reason this is important to me, knowing the timing of the head blow and the application of the garrote and strangulation, is because it is evidence that better explains the sequence of events that night. I think it's critical to have at least a realistic idea what this head blow would have done, physiologically. It matters, of course.

    Elle, I agree, it would be so helpful to have medical experts talk about this head injury. But they never have much, probably because at the time, much more than now, it would have been shocking in light of the investigation and that the victim was murdered and a child, had a grieving family, etc. That may still be the case, for that matter.

    I don't believe the "new" investigation will bring any more info to us, JMO. I think it's nothing but a "front" put on by the new DA to get the case out of his office and by Beckner to say "nah nah nah" to Lacy. I doubt we'll ever hear another word about it from LE unless Team Ramsey manages to dig up another corpse as a "suspect" to parade in front of the public. They may, as they can't make money otherwise....
  5. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member


    The fly in the ointment of that theory, however, is that Dr. Wecht and other experts have said the head injury and garroting came very close together.

    I'm finding from the info now being discussed about brain injuries and what I can make of the autopsy that this "might" not be the case.

    Of course, we have had other experts say there could have been more time between these injuries, but only one that I've seen said it could have been an hour or more.

    You know that I know all the theories. There is so much evidence. Without some really sharp experts to put it all together, it's just hard to lay it all out and say this happened A, this was B, this was C...accounting for ALL the evidence; and accounting for the missing evidence.

    For example, the Bloomies issue: where were the undies JonBenet wore that night to the Whites, and when did the overly large Bloomies get put on her, by whom? Where were they, in the basement, or upstairs? I think they were in the basement and that's why they got pulled out of the package, still there awaiting the "mailing" of Christmas presents. But that's nothing more than a guess because we have never seen all the crime scene photos, etc. Is that package in the crime scene photos of the underwear drawers, the vanity that morning, etc.? I think LE should have an idea of where that package was, but it ended up not being collected by LE. Patsy said it was in JB's bathroom, but LE took all those underwear, and no, it wasn't, from what LE told Patsy in 2000.

    Then we were told by Team Ramsey that the Ramseys had "the size 12-14 Bloomies package" since "someone" found it in their "belongings" while looking for the Ramseys' clothes they were wearing the 25th and 26th of 1996 to turn over to LE. Those clothes were turned over at the end of 1997! All that time, and they didn't turn that CRITICAL piece of evidence over to LE. Patsy said she'd heard about the Bloomies issue when questioned about it in 2000 in Atlanta, but the NEVER told LE they had the ACTUAL PACKAGE until they "turned it in to Lacy" in 2003. Amazing.

    So...did LE even bother, under Lacy's "new investigation", to test that package for fingerprints or "touch" DNA? Did they test the Bloomies inside for DNA? Rather important, if in fact there was ANY reason to believe this was the actual, original package. Patsy changed her story about how those Bloomies got on JonBenet, even as she was being asked about this by LE in Atlanta in 2000. Did ANYONE bother to check the actual evidence from that package with Patsy's story?

    What does this have to do with the head blow, you're surely asking.

    It's part of the same puzzle. All the pieces create the picture. As we've seen, this particular puzzle has so many pieces, the confusion is enough to keep LE...or us, since we're more interested in the truth than LE has been for a very long time...from putting the picture together.

    And that's only benefited the killer, or killers.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2009
  6. Voyager

    Voyager Active Member

    Interesting Research Here All of You....

    After reading the medical research on this thread, and considering possible timing of the events, it is hard not to conjecture that if, as most of us suspect, Jon Benet's head injury was accidently caused, she might have been saved from her untimely death if an ambulance had been called immediately and she had received emergency neurological treatment before the bleedout had proceeded and the brain swelling reached it's peak.

    In ordinary circumstances, the child of a prominent, well-educated family would certainly have received such life saving emergency care. The Ramsey family however could not afford such emergency care because it would likely have revealed other injuries to that small child's body. The injuries caused by ongoing sexual abuse would likely have been discovered as well.

    The Ramsey's made a clear choice that night. Their child's life to save their family's reputation.

    I think over the course of the investigation and in the years following Jon Benet's death, John and Patsy thoroughly convinced themselves that they did not kill Jon Benet, and that what happened to her was an accident. And maybe the head-blow initially was an accident.

    In reality though, the negligence of forgoing emergency care for their daughter after such an accident, for whatever reason, is murder. The cover-up of the accident and the prior sexual abuse only add to the criminal behavior.

    Though one of the perpetrators is dead, this crime desperately needs to be laid at the feet of those who committed it, if only to clear the reputations of those whose names have been ruined by the Ramsey's over the years in their attempt shed blame for the murder on others.

    There is abundant evidence still remaining in the Ramsey case. The Ramsey case will remain a black eye on the city of Boulder and indeed on the State of Colorado until the Boulder Police Department makes an arrest and assigns blame for the murder of this innocent child.

    Thanks KK, Texan, DeeDee, and Jayelles for bringing all of the research and medical information to this thread. Makes me wonder if there still are forensic people working on the Ramsey case.

  7. rashomon

    rashomon Member

    Infliction of genital wound - time line

    Two questions:

    What is exsanguination?

    How long does it take for blood to coagulate?
    Suppose it is only minutes, and not fully coagulated blood was found in the vagina, (the autopsy report speaksd of semifluid blood), this woul be the proof taht JonBent died very shortly after the genital wound was inflicted, i.e. this wound would be among the lastthings done to the body. Wouldn't this just scream staging?
  8. rashomon

    rashomon Member

    Very important to see which horrible injuries a fall backwards can cause.

    In JonBenet's case, the possible evidence of a mild contrecoup injury is described here:
    The main impact was on the right side of the skull, near the back of the head, and the minimal contusion on the oppostire (left) side.
    JonBenet, as Patsy was manhandling her during a physical confretation, could have fallen,with her head crashing against hard surface.
  9. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Well said, Voyager.

    I have wondered since beginning this "head injury" research if JonBenet could have been saved. The lack of any mention in the autopsy of the brain being pushed through the bottom of the skull opening has given me pause. This is why I want to KNOW if the garrote and strangulation were applied close to the time of the head blow, or not.

    If not, if JonBenet lingered while the parent(s) made phone calls and decided on using the garrote instead of taking her in for medical care, that's premeditated murder, IMO. I even read one medical site that said children's skulls will heal faster from fractures. JonBenet's fracture may have been too devastating to heal, but we'll never know, will we?
  10. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Well, I think when we get into debates about the head blow, one thing that is often forgotten is the SOUND that would have been associated with it. The crack of a skull that intense would not have been a silent event.

    If the skull injury was caused by someone wielding some weapon, that crack would have been heard by that person, NO DOUBT. If JonBenet was conscious long enough for the sound to reach her ears and register in her conscious thought processes, which would have meant she was not "knocked out" immediately, she heard it, as well. She would have screamed, she would have cried, she would have run to her parents, or tried, were she capable, surely!

    If it came from "a fall", then anyone present would have heard the impact of the skull and the breaking of it, as well. One of the websites I posted/studied last night said children's skulls are more resilent than adults, so it would have required more force to do that kind of damage to JonBenet that if it were an adult with an identical head injury, if I read correctly. So again, it's very hard for me to imagine that kind of "fall" or "throw" without seeing other damage to the body upon impact.

    I guess I'm kind of going on another "head blow" tangent because I went back to this thread here at FFJ, which I often reference, where the head blow is discussed and just about every point of view is there. Whatever you believe to have happened, it's a good read, as Sue, who has medical experience, started the thread and gives some great info on head blows and makes some interesting points about what we know and what we don't.
  11. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Here is a particularly helpful post from Sue about the head injury, which addresses exactly what I am pondering. I will say that the list Sue made of scenarios fails to consider the "sound" issue I mentioned in my last post. I don't think it would have been possible for NO ONE, even Jonbenet, should she have remained conscious, to have missed that some horrible skull injury had occurred from whatever broke her skull almost in half.

    [I highlighted the "bold" parts below, to make it easier to address the issues she brings up which we are discussing.]

    [Thanks to Sue for this wonderful discussion. She posted in awhile, but if she does read here anymore, just wanted to say that.]
  12. Elle

    Elle Member

    I remember Sue's excellent medical posts, KK. A very nice person too into the bargain.
  13. rashomon

    rashomon Member

    Not much brain bleeding compared to the scalp bleeding?
    But in the autopsy report it says the film of subarachnoid hemorrhage extended over the entire right half of the brain.
    As for "immediately incapacitating", one has to look at the totality of the autopsy findings. With her skull split in two halves (see the X-Ray picture or the picture of her skull - this was no "fine line" skull fracture - the gap between the two skull halves was big!), with a piece of bone dislodged, with extensive brain contusions measuring over eight inches (!) in length, and up to 1.75 inches in width, with extensive scalp hemorrhage, subdural hemorrhage and extensive subarachnoid hemorrhage - can there be any doubt that JonBenet fell into an instant coma after the head injury?
  14. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Can there be any doubt? Obviously, there can, even if it's minimal.

    Sue happens to be a medical professional who has worked in hospitals WITH brain injuries, unless I'm misremembering. (Or is it Ka-ren? :no: Just kidding.)

    I have always thought that the head blow probably rendered JonBenet unconscious immediately. But I wasn't there, I'm no professional, and I think Natasha Richardson's recent example with her fatal head injury has opened up the discussion. That's all I'm doing--looking for more definitive answers from someone who WOULD know, a professional with enough expertise and experience to explain this particular case.

    That person is not me, that's for sure.
  15. rashomon

    rashomon Member

    The problem is that even medical professionals can disagree on such matters, which is why at trials, both the prosecution and the defense often come up with their medical experts disputing each other.

    One only has to look at the differing opinions by famous medical experts in the Ramsey case, where for example C. Wecht disagreed with Dr. Wright's and Dr. Spitz's assessment regarding the head injury.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  16. Elle

    Elle Member

    Yes, rashomon. The medical experts do not always agree with each other.
    Time and time again. It's a vicious circle.
  17. DeeDee

    DeeDee Member

    I'll try, but remember I am not a doctor.

    Exsanguination is the process by which blood leaks from a body post-mortem. It is not the same as blood loss from lets say, an accident, stabbing, or other external cause of blood loss. Rather, it is part of the decay process as decomposition advances. The blood pools in the extremities, which is first seen as livor mortis. This was seen in JBR on the right side of her face (because her head was cocked to the right) and on her back (because she was left lying on her back). The blood will pool under the skin and the layers of the dermis become separated from the muscle tissue as their blood supply and oxygen is cut off. In the hands and feet, this process is called "degloving" or "skin slip". Blood will then seep out simply because the skin is separating from the body. Also, giant blood blisters will form, usually in the extremeties, and depending on the position of the body. For example, a hanging victim found well after death will have the blisters in the feet/legs. Eventually these blisters break, leaking blood from the corpse. The word exsanguination is from the Latin for blood, with the prefix "ex" being well known. It simply means the draining of blood from a corpse as a natural process of decay and not by any external cause (embalming or injury).
    Blood clotting, or thrombosis, is a process aided by blood proteins and calcium, among other things. In a corpse, it is called non-pulsile or agonal thrombosis (meaning there is no pulse/circulation present and the heart is not pumping). As you know if you are familiar with the process of rigor mortis, calcium ions become trapped at the cellular level when lack of oxygen prevents them from passing in and out of the cell walls in the muscle fibers, which then become "locked" and the muscles stiffen and are unable to be relaxed. When calcium cannot move freely in the cells, clotting would also be affected, and many experts feel that there can be NO clotting occurring after death. This would mean that semi-fluid blood found there indicates that death occurred as the blood clotting was in process, and was halted by death before it was complete.
    As for how long it takes- that varies somewhat as do all such processes, by individual. People with clotting disorders of course, have clotting times different from normal people. When bleeding is interrupted by death, how long it took the person to die may account for the semi-fluid state of the blood. Of course, clotting is the body's automatic response to rupture of a blood vessel. And in death, the body no longer responds to anything. Although the death process takes the body through physiological changes, these are the result of the cessation of oxygen, and are different than the body's response to injury.
    I think we can all deduce what many of us feel (including the forensic experts who have commented on the case) that she died within a relatively short time of the head bash. Unfortunately we will never know the exact interval that elapsed between head bash, physical death, and where the garrote fits in, other then having been applied while she was still alive.
    Did I make sense?
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  18. Elle

    Elle Member


    I have never read anything like this before, and you have explained it so clearly. Truthfully, dying is not the happiest subject to read about, and I feel I have learned a lot from being involved in this case. A sad way to find out.

    I'm glad rashomon asked you What is exsanguination? I didn't know either! I'm sure there are many others here who will appreciate the time you have taken to explain it. Thank you!

    Quite a few of us don't think Patsy Ramsey ever went to bed on Christmas night, and this was why she was still in her Christmas outfit. With all the staging the Ramseys had to do on this fateful night, I'm thinking they were scurrying around like rats for most of the night and into the morning before picking up the phone. I'm thinking the description of rats suits the Ramseys just fine.
  19. DeeDee

    DeeDee Member

    I don't think Natasha Richardson's autopsy will reveal a hole and crack like the ones in JBR's skull. Her impact did, of course, cause bleeding and swelling, and had she had medical intervention right away, they may have saved her, though there may have been brain damage.
    Swelling also requires that the person be still alive. Swelling is simply the injured area becoming engorged with blood in a response to the injury. As we've read, this response is not universal in everyone, and I would think that if JBR was comatose (which would slow down the body's metabolism, breathing, etc.) that might account for the lack of swelling in her injury.
    My daughter had a friend who was beaten with a baseball bat. He walked home, went to bed. Later his parents heard him banging on the wall, in excruciating pain. An ambulance took him to the hospital, where he was put in a medically induced coma. The doctors told his family that the coma would help reduce the brain swelling by slowing the body's functions. Sadly, weeks later, he passed away.
    I would think the coroner would be able to tell if the brain had previously been swollen, and in this case I don't think there was evidence of that. The gyri and sulci show only mild swelling/flattening. Unfortunately, while we have seen poor JBR's skull, we haven't seen photos of the brain.
    I think JBR's skull injury was such that she collapsed immediately, rendered unconscious or comatose till her death. For her, the head injury was a point of no return.
  20. Elle

    Elle Member

    Oh this is sad to hear, DeeDee, about Natasha Richardson. The skiing resort may well end up being sued for not having beginners using helmets.

    Sorry to hear about your daughter's friend. He should have been in the emergency sooner than he was. Tragic!

    Whatever came in contact with JonBenét's skull almost finishd her off shortly after it happened DeeDee. I can't help but see her little body being thrown around by Patsy Ramsey in a rage, and I also get the feeling that Patsy could lose it big time in spite of John Ramsey's denial about that side of her nature.

    The Ramseys were too much in a hurry to whisk JonBenét's body away from Boulder. What a big mistake D.A. Hunter made allowing the Ramseys to do this. Her body should have been kept in Boulder until it was examined again and again. I wonder if this time around, someone with authority will allow exhumation of JonBenét's body in Atlanta and allow a closer look at JonBenét's brain(?).
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