About that paintbrush which was broken at the paint tray in the basement, just outside the cellar room where the body was later found: I've done some mixing and matching, re-sizing and cropping of the photos we have of the ligature paintbrush "handle," around which the cord was tied, and the bristle end of the paintbrush which was found still in the paint tray. This is a crude demonstration--sorry for that, but I wanted to see how that brush end fit on the handle as I've had problems imagining how someone broke it so readily that night. The autopsy report stated it was jagged. Here's an example of a general type of paintbrush with the various parts labeled, though I don't know exactly what kind was used in the murder because I can't see the brush end very well: http://painting.about.com/od/artsupplies/ig/Intro-to-Art-Paint-Brushes/Brush-Parts.htm Looking at the following pictures, I may have found a clue: the paintbrush was broken at the ferrule--the silver part where the wood is attached to the bristles. That would be the weakest part and it does appear that this is exactly where the handle was broken from the brush end. See what you think comparing photos at the bottom of this post. These of the "handle" are not exactly to scale, but the original autopsy photos had a cm rule which I measured to try to enlarge the crops so that they're fairly accurate--a little larger actually, but close enough for my purpose. Using the medical examiner's ruler in the pictures, the broken handle was approx. 13 cm, as best as I could approximate the measure with my ruler. *The top photo is of the paintbrush "handle" with the wrapped cord turned so that the "neatly cut" end of the cord is hidden (see posts above/earlier on this thread to reference the cord end). Notice the jagged end to the right of this section of the handle--that's where it appears the broken end of the brush was snapped. Now look at the center photo of the brush end and imagine turning it over to fit into the shape of the rough break, like a three dimensional puzzle. *The middle photo is of that broken brush end, with the silver ferrule between the bristles and the wood. If I could roll it over, it appears that it would fit onto the jagged end of the "garrote" or ligature handle in the photo above it. Remember the larger diameter on the right end of the handle would have been attached to the ferrule, with the narrowing end on the left tapering off in diameter to a point--the missing end of the handle. *The last photo is of the brush handle flipped on the other side, the one showing the end of the cord cut neatly (see above). If you notice the slight diagonal of the right end, it appears to me to fit the small protrusion of jagged wood right above the ferrule. I'm using a bit of imagination, of course, as I don't have a 3-dimensional computer program to animate this for us. But I'm sure LE was able to do this with the real items of evidence, anyway, so it's not important here except to answer some questions I've long had: it would have been much easier to break the paintbrush where the ferrule meets the wood handle. So now I can see how it was done, even if someone had to use a heel to snap it. Now look at the end on the left--that's rather neatly done, isn't it? That end would have less diameter, as paintbrushes often taper on that end, so it would have been easier to break, as well, though I have to say I'm not sure a 10 year old boy could have done it. Not unless whittling was involved, and it doesn't appear to be quite so splintered as the other end at the ferrule, but so far I can't tell.