JonBenet's Skull Fractures: The Weapon

Discussion in 'Justice for JonBenet Discussion - Public Forum' started by otg, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Elle

    Elle Member

    What about the theory a few of us thought may have happened, Wombat, that JonBenét could have been thrown head first into the toilet or the side of the tub with brute force? Couldn't this action have caused the severe injury to her head as serious as the one she had?
  2. Elle

    Elle Member


    I have always thought Patsy Ramsey threw JonBenét into the tub or toilet in a mad rage at maybe finding her little girl in a messy bed, and with all she had to do that day, she lost it!
  3. BOESP

    BOESP Member

    Elle, what you described would certainly be an example of low velocity-high pressure.

    I agree with what you and Wombat discussed. That sounds very plausible.

    JonBenet's height, the site of her scalp wound, and the height of a doorknob pair up perfectly as well. I once speculated that JonBenet was tossed/pushed/shoved/or thrown in the door going to her bathroom, the knob hitting her near the occipital area. I speculated that Patsy shook her trying to revive JonBenet . The autopsy report described contrecoup injury, which could be explained by either impact or shaking.

    Steve Thomas, iirc from his book, believed something happened in the bathroom. He would know if anyone would.
  4. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Thanks for your detailed explanation, BOESP. I'll have to think about it.

    But first I do want to say, in spite of my deep respect for and admiration of Steve Thomas, he got that "clutching of the turtleneck, causing the bruising" from Dr. Spitz, whom after the Anthony trial I consider one of the biggest azzhat clowns in forensic con artistry available.

    For one thing, the triangular bruise on the child's neck is indicative of very common bruising in that location on other ligature strangulation victims, which you can find photos of in our library under autopsy. I'm not an expert, so it's just my opinion, of course, but I don't think that red turtleneck had one thing to do with that bruise on her neck. JMO, of course.

    As for the rest, very interesting ideas. Now you have me thinking that Boulder LE definitely need to bring in some physics and structural engineers like Wombat who specialize in doing the formulas to determine how much pressure, how much velocity, and how much mass was involved in this skull and brain injury. I'm absolutely convinced it could be done now, if it hasn't been already.

    I doubt, however, that will ever happen. But we have quite wonderful minds here, and I'm thinking OTG has got us off on a very precise problem I'd love to see those of you who have the physics and math skills work through.

    Easy to say, I know...but I can dream, can't I? Now, if I only had Patricia Cornwell's money.... :cloud9:
  5. BOESP

    BOESP Member

    I don't really have an opinion on the red turtleneck and the mark on JonBenet's neck (based on Thomas's book). It was mainly that the head trauma occurred in the bathroom according to him during corporal cleansing.

    Another theory I have concerns whether there was a doorstop in floor or wall in JonBenet's bathroom. I've wondered if she could have been made to lie down for cleansing and in trying to fight against it Patsy pushed JonBenet's head down causing contact with the doorstop.

    I'm open to anything and will gladly eat all my words if something better comes along. :scale:
  6. DeeDee

    DeeDee Member

    My feeling is that Kolar feels the weapon was the flashlight (I agree) and that she was bashed in the kitchen area because that is where the flashlight was found. Put it all together with the pineapple snack/tea glass with BR's prints o both the bowl and glass, and add to it Kolar's BDI theory and you can envision the 2 kids eating the pineapple snack together and something occurring to provoke the bash. The sexual assault is difficult to place in THIS scenario, though. Would he have molested her there at the table? In the kitchen? No, don't think so. Yet, it was PREmortem because there was blood and bruising.
    So the pineapple doesn't fit for ME as the prelude to the head bash because it is impossible for me to fit the molestation in with it. Had she been molested to the point of bleeding and screaming, I doubt she'd have sat down to eat pineapple with ANYONE, let alone her abuser.
    I also feel that as it is proven that the pineapple was eaten approx 2 hours before death, it was eaten not long after they returned home, and the molestation and head bash were much closer to the time she died. The strangulation, in my mind, was what ultimately stopped her heart, so that would have been the last thing that occurred.
  7. Karen

    Karen Member

    Steve Thomas is awesome and I admire him greatly. The problem for me is he left the case so long ago maybe a lot of new evidence has come up and new educated people have been brought in. As much as I'm a Steve Thomas fan I'm afraid I have to go with Kolars theory at this time. Kolar had access to much more recent educated opinions and much more recent evidence than Thomas did. I no longer think Patsy did the deed. I do think she covered it up.

    ETA: During the radio broadcast Steve Thomas said he was blown away by the additional DNA evidence. Did I hear him correctly when I thought he said that additional DNA evidence was withheld from the BPD back when he was still investigating???
  8. heymom

    heymom Member

    All of these scenarios with JBR hitting her head on something in the bathroom *might* have caused a concussion, but NOT split her skull from front to back and left that large hole at the back. No way could Patsy have caused that by pushing her into a door stop. I mean, if such a little contact could cause that kind of fracture, few of us would survive childhood.

    My son hit the asphalt going several miles an hour and only got a minor skull fracture. If he'd fallen backward he probably would have died, but he still wouldn't have had the crack across his skull that JonBenet had.
  9. otg

    otg Member

    I know some of you don’t post on the “other†forum (WS), so I’m going to C&P a portion of something I posted some time ago, because I think it explains the “triangular bruise†that the ________ (fill in with whatever word you want to use here), Dr. Spitz attributed to some kind of twisting of a turtleneck sweater worn by JonBenet. :no:​

    Being the case that this particular type of mark is somewhat common in strangulation victims, I would think that pathologists would have a name for it. But if they do, I haven’t yet found it. But what I have found out is that there Is possibly a simple explanation for it, but it requires a little anatomical knowledge (which I did not have before starting).

    Since I don’t have a medical background, I didn’t understand what all of these marks were, so I didn’t give them a great deal of attention. But I can read and I’m determined to find out what each of these mean. I invite anyone to participate in this discussion, regardless of their slant toward ultimate guilt, because I don’t see it as pointing to “who did it†as much as simply “what caused itâ€. I especially hope that anyone with a medical background, or access to someone who does, will add to this so we can understand what it means, and whether or not my conclusion is correct.

    Here is what was written in the AR by Dr. Meyer:

    “The area of abrasion and petechial hemorrhage of the skin of the anterior neck includes on the lower left neck, just to the left of the midline, a roughly triangular, parchment-like rust colored abrasion which measures 1.5 inches in length with a maximum width of 0.75 inches. This roughly triangular shaped abrasion is obliquely oriented with the apex superior and lateral.â€

    The information that follows is based on about a dozen or so different sources. I made notes as I read and have digested and compiled it (not to mention a lot of copying and pasting) with what I found. (IOW: Don’t think that I use words like this in ordinary conversation.)

    First of all, we all probably think of an abrasion as something caused by a rubbing action which causes some type of visible damage to skin. But if a medical person sees some type of damage and doesn’t know the cause, he might refer to the area as an abrasion because of its definition in dermatology. In other words, he is not addressing its cause, but rather its appearance.

    When we (maybe I should say “Iâ€, as a lay person) think of a cut, a bruise, or an abrasion, we (or, I) think subjectively to the cause of each. When a pathologist uses these terms, he/she is thinking objectively to the appearance until he/she establishes the cause.

    “In dermatology, an abrasion is a wound caused by superficial damage to the skin, no deeper than the epidermis. It is less severe than a laceration, and bleeding, if present, is minimal.â€

    Now we need to understand a few terms that will be used here. It may seem simplistic, but let’s start with an understanding of the words petchiae, purpura, and ecchymoses. All of these are commonly referred to in lay terms as types of bruises (or contusions), and each is more correctly defined by the length of its diameter as either a petechia (< 3 mm), purpura (3 mm to 1 cm), or ecchymosis (1 to 3 cm). While there are different causes of these, including some types of diseases or medical conditions, and they may be present in different areas of the body, they are all manifest as a darker discoloration of the surface of the skin, and they are more pronounced and visible on a lighter-skinned person.

    Since none of the autopsy photos available to us show the area with the scale close enough to see for ourselves, we have to use the only measurements given in the AR as 1.5†by 0.75†(3.8cm by 1.9cm). If you look at the photos showing this area, you see that at what Dr. Meyer refers to as the apex of the triangular area (actually it is more cone shaped because it is rounded at the base), the darkness of the discoloration begins to fade away and is not as pronounced as it is in the center of the rounded area (or the base of the triangle), and it ends at the ligature furrow. Because of its size, let’s look at what an ecchymosis is and what causes it.

    An ecchymosis is a skin discoloration due to hemorrhage (bleeding) under the skin. A small hemorrhagic spot in the skin or a mucous membrane, larger than a petechia, forming a nonelevated, rounded, or irregular purplish patch, caused by the passage of blood (extravasation) from ruptured blood vessels into the interstitial subcutaneous tissue as a result of trauma to the underlying blood vessels.

    An ecchymosis should not to be confused with a hematoma which is a pocket or localized collection of blood usually in liquid form within the tissue. This distinguishes it from an ecchymosis, which is the spread of blood under the skin in a thin layer. Nor should an ecchymosis be confused with internal bleeding which is generally considered to be a spreading of blood within the abdomen or skull, not within muscle tissue.

    Ecchymoses (or bruises) are actually made of little pools of blood, so the blood in one place may flow toward the ground, and the bruise may appear in another location. Bruising present in a different location than the actual site of impact is called ectopic bruising and occurs when the tissue at the site of injury is loose, allowing blood to travel under the skin to another location due to gravity or other forces.

    A bruise forms from seepage of blood in an internal wound. The blood gradually decomposes, changing color from red to blue as hemoglobin loses its oxygen, and then to yellow as the hemoglobin is reabsorbed. Bruises change colors over time in a predictable pattern, so that it is possible to estimate when an injury occurred by the color of the bruise. Initially, a bruise will be reddish, the color of the blood under the skin. After one to two days, the red blood cells begin to break down, and the bruise will darken to a blue or purplish color. This color fades to green at about day six. Around the eighth or ninth day, the skin over the bruised area will have a brown or yellowish appearance, and it will gradually fade back to its normal color.

    After an injury, the color changes that occur are due to the breakdown of hemoglobin from within escaped red blood cells in the extracellular space. More specifically, the striking colors of a bruise are caused by the phagocytosis and sequential degradation of hemoglobin to biliverdin to bilirubin to hemosiderin, with hemoglobin itself producing a red-blue color, biliverdin producing a green color, bilirubin producing a yellow color, and hemosiderin producing a golden-brown color. As these products are cleared from the area, the bruise disappears. Oftentimes the underlying tissue damage has been repaired long before the process is complete.

    (end of aggregate quotes from other sources)

    So, with all of this newly found knowledge (for me at least), let’s consider that the area in question is from the subcutaneous pooling of blood (seems like DeeDee may have told us this before) caused by the trauma to the neck. Then the question becomes why or how did it form in this triangular or cone-shaped pattern?

    To answer that, take a look at what the surface of the neck looks like in relation to what is underneath the skin. Here are two illustrations from Gray’s Anatomy on Wikipedia:

    Here is the subsurface musculature:

    There are four distinct frontal (anterior) triangular areas that are formed and shown in the shaded areas here:,_labeled_trianglesanteriorT.svg.png

    These are better shown in the following illustration:

    Excluding the purple posterior triangle, the four anterior triangles are submental (smen), submandibular or digastric (sm), muscular-visceral (mus), and carotid (car).

    The area we are most interested in is the carotid triangle shown here:

    If you place your thumb and fingers around your own neck and apply a little pressure, you can feel the area this is referring to. You’ll notice also by feeling around a bit that this triangular area has no muscles or structures close to the surface, and it represents somewhat of a voided area in this respect.

    I believe that the reddish triangular (or cone-shaped) area shown in the autopsy photos and described in the autopsy report is caused by the rupture of a blood vessel, or a number of small capillaries, in the area of the base of the triangle (or cone). As these capillaries bled outward from the center of the traumatized area along the subcutaneous layer, the blood would be slightly restricted within the carotid triangle, an eventually work its way upward as it begins to trail off toward the apex and end at where the ligature furrow is.

    The following picture has had the contrast and hue (color) changed. Green cancels out red in skin color, so you can now clearly see the shape of the center of the abrasion. The edges are very well defined and the piece on the top not so well.


    I've extended lines through the two most pronounced sides of the concentrated area, and one more where the third side of the Carotid Triangle would be (which also runs approximately along the same general line as the fainter area of bruising/ecchymosis). And actually, the lines of the Carotid Triangle are not perfectly straight (I posted a drawing for reference at the bottom showing the structures that form its boundaries.):

    Then I adjusted the contrast to make the discoloration stand out a little more:

    In this photo, you should be able to see in the center of the dark trapezoidal shape a much darker, oval-shaped area which is where I believe the initial blood leak occurred. Here is the same photo with the darkest area outlined in an oval shape:

    What I believe caused this is a blood vessel or some capillaries that burst while the initial strangulation occurred. This happened under the surface in the center of the darkest area shown in the photo just above here. From there, it pooled out forming what would have been a circular pattern, were it not somewhat restricted by the boundaries of the neck muscles that form this triangle. With this restriction, the blood continued to extravasate at a diminishing rate leeching into the upper boundaries of the triangle, accounting for the fainter area of redness toward the chin. The following photo shows where the pooling would have occurred in a circular pattern were it not within the Carotid Triangle:

    It is for all of the above reasons that I also don’t feel this mark is from a burn of some sort. The other mark though on her right cheek may very well be from a burn. I’ll have to look into that next, but this one is what always puzzled me the most.

    I should point out that the triangle looks a bit different from the side than it does from the front because of the angle of view. Here is a picture from the front showing where the Carotid Triangle would be (I cropped the photo so it’s not quite as gruesome.):

    BTW, the vagus nerve that everyone likes to talk about runs through this area, just between the carotid artery and the jugular vein. The vagus nerve is so named from the latin word for “wanderingâ€, because of the way it meanders its way through the body from the brain to various organs in the abdominal area. “Vagus†comes from the same root word as vagrant, vagabond, and vague (I just love etymology.).

    Carotid Triangle Boundaries (or sides of the triangle) are referred to as:

    * Posterior (back) line of the triangle is the Sternocleidomastoideus.
    * Superior (upper) line is the Stylohyoideus and the posterior belly of the Digastricus.
    * Inferior (lower) line is the superior belly of the Omohyoideus.

  10. Elle

    Elle Member

    I often thought the mark on JonBenét's neck looked as if a flashlight had been pressed real hard right into her neck, BOESP. Having said this, I also wonder if it was part of the coverup with Patsy and John at the helm (?). Here I am all these years later like everyone else, still trying to find answers?
  11. Elle

    Elle Member

    Depending on how Patsy grabbed JonBenét hm, the top back of her head could have been slammed right into the rim of the toilet. She was just a child not an adult. I could see this happening!
  12. Elle

    Elle Member

    otg, Will I get a signed and sealed certificate sealed by you for replying to this wonderful post? Amazing!

    Looking again at the bruise on the neck, I still think it looks like a hand held torch, or flashlight was pressed right into her neck. I thought this before many years ago. I still think the same today!

    Thank you for the time taken with these wonderful graphics which I will
    need to take my time with to fully understand them.
  13. heymom

    heymom Member

    My son was not an adult either, he was 13. Granted, older than 6, but that slamming scenario is just not realistic.
  14. otg

    otg Member

    Elle, as KK points out in her post #25 above, this triangular type of mark shows up in too many strangulation victims for it to be mere coincidence. That is why I spent more time than I want to have to admit trying to find what was unique about that area of the throat such that a triangular type of mark would be so common in strangulations. I never claim to be an authority or an expert at anything. But I try to take small things about this case that are not understood to find a reasonable explanation.

    And while I'm at it, I should apologize to you and to everyone else if I come across as a blowhard, or if I spend too much time on the small details. I just try to be thorough in my explanations, I try to give links so anyone can check anything I say, and I truly want to understand why a beautiful little girl had to die in a place that should be the safest place on earth -- her own home with no one else there but her family.

    Oh, and here's your certificate, Elle:
  15. BOESP

    BOESP Member

    I'm not saying anyone's hypothesis is wrong because I don't have enough information to come to a conclusion but grabbing a child and repeatedly and forcefully slamming their head against a hard surface certainly can cause damage similar to that seen on JonBenet's skull.

    I see Patsy being capable of doing that.
  16. otg

    otg Member

    I can't dispute that as a possibility. But I do find it hard to believe that the repeated striking of her head against some object while holding her by her blouse would result in a blow delivered to the same exact spot each time causing an almost perfect, oval-shaped depressed fracture with no other depressed fractures anywhere else on her skull.

    But again, I suppose it is within the realm of possibility.
  17. BOESP

    BOESP Member

    Once the depression is there, it's there. Pushing the head against the same object a second or third time, could, but not necessarily would, make a new injury.

    There are all kinds of possible scenarios but without access to all the information there's no way to come to a logical conclusion. I just happen to think the injury is more consistent with her head striking something more so than something striking her head. I could be wrong.
  18. Elle

    Elle Member

    I disagree with you hm. Surely with your work you have seen children badly injured by bad tempered mothers and fathers according to what you have already stated when you were working with children.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2012
  19. Karen

    Karen Member

    I think the theory of Jonbenet being pushed into an object is possible, however I don't see Patsy as being the pusher. It just doesn't seem like something she would do, IMO.

    The thing I have pretty much made up my mind about is that the flashlight is not the weapon that was used. I can't make any sense out of that.
    If it were not turned around and used as a baton then I think it would have broken. In a fit of anger who is going to think that through? Also, keep in mind the flashlight wasn't stored on the kitchen counter where it was found. Someone had to deliberately walk across the room and retrieve it out of the drawer.That's not the definition of someone hitting her on a whim or in a fit of anger. That flashlight wasn't a handy thing to grab at that second.
    Why would they deliberately leave the flashlight sitting out on the counter where it would surely be found when they went to the trouble of getting rid of possibly duct tape, cord, panties...all the things that are missing. Why would they leave the head bash weapon, the thing that could have possibly started the whole ball rolling that night, out in the open sitting on a counter and then get rid of all the other obvious evidence connected to the crime? It doesn't make sense that they may have thought since all the fingerprints were wiped clean it wouldn't trace back to the crime.
    I think the flashlight was retrieved from the drawer during the cover up phase and used at that time only. The fact that it was wiped clean of fingerprints is probably just an anomaly. Not something deliberately done or even known about by the Ramseys.
    That's the only thing that makes sense to me about that flashlight. Unless I'm forgetting something major about it of course.
    I think the object that caused Jonbenets skull fracture has gone the way of the duct tape, cord, and panties.
    I may start a thread to try and figure out what is missing. The blue cloth used to wipe her down with, (if it's not JR's robe) the size 6 panties she was undoubtedly wearing...all the things that are missing that we know of in this crime. I'd like to have it all together because maybe there would be some glaring obvious item that has been overlooked.
    The flashlight is not missing, in fact was sitting right out there in plain view. I don't think it was an element in her actual death because that stuff is long gone and that flashlight's still here.
    Makes me wonder if it wasn't actually set out in the open to mislead police away from what did actually cause the head injury.
  20. Elle

    Elle Member

    Didn't you see Patsy Ramsey losing it when she was being questioned by one of the Detectives, Karen? She was slapping her thigh good style! I, personally see Patsy Ramsey losing it by being tired of cleaning up JonBenét
    day after day, and especially when they were leaving early the next morning. Yes I can see Patsy Ramsey being in an angry rage and throwing JonBenét around. The housekeeper said JB's bedsheets were in the dryer many mornings when she arrived. I think she was exhausted and lost it that morning! jmo, of course.
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