What the Crime Scene Photographs Show

Previously, on both Undisclosed and our blogs, Colin, Rabia, and I have discussed the significance of the medical examiner’s findings concerning livor mortis. To recap, Dr. Korell’s autopsy report concluded that Hae’s body had fixed anterior (frontal) lividity, and that she had been buried on her right side. She testified to these same facts at trial:

CG: So that, that would tell you that the body was face down when the livor was fixed.
Dr. Korell: Right.
CG: Would it not?
Dr. Korell: Yes.
CG: Okay. Because that would mean the blood would pool on the front of the body .
Dr. Korell: Correct.
CG: And that wouldn’t happen if the body post-death were on its side.
Dr. Korell: Correct. (2/02/00 Tr. 79-80.)

Of course, there’s a problem here. If the body were buried on its right side sometime during the 7:00pm hour, this would preclude the anterior lividity described by Dr. Korell, which means that Jay’s story is dramatically and provably false with respect to the events of January 13, 1999.

Although the 7:00pm burial story would be disproven if looking solely at the autopsy report, two critical questions remained about the report’s validity.

First, was Dr. Korell correct about the anterior lividity? The autopsy photographs were in black and white, which is far from ideal, but multiple forensic pathologists were able to conclude,  after reviewing the photographs and autopsy report together, that Dr. Korell was correct in finding anterior lividity. All found that the lividity was anterior and even on both sides, meaning that the body was laid out flat, not leaned to one side or the other, at the time lividity fixed.

Second, was Dr. Korell correct that the body had been buried on its right side? The autopsy report concluded that it was, but because the State had never permitted the defense to obtain copies of the crime scene photos, we could not independently confirm this. However, there is no reason to think that this part of the report was in error. The autopsy was performed by two pathologists: Dr. Korell and Dr. Aquino.

1 - Aquino

And, although Dr. Korell had not been present at the crime scene, Dr. Aquino was:

2 - Crime Scene Report

(Progress Report, 6/10/99)

As one of the pathologists conducting the autopsy had personally observed the body at the Leakin Park crime scene, he was able to personally assess and report the positioning of the body. His conclusion that the “[t]he body was on her right side” was based on his own observations, not second-hand information from investigators. But did Dr. Aquino somehow make a huge blunder in his autopsy report, writing that Hae had been found on her right side, when really she had been laid out on her front?

In theory, this question should have been trivial to answer. In theory, there should have been crime scene photographs, body diagrams, and reports by crime scene technicians and the forensic anthropologists who performed the excavation, which would have described in detail the positioning of the body and other key facts about the crime scene. In theory, these basic facts should have been part of the record from Day One of the investigation.

In practice, however, there was nothing. No diagrams, no notes, no photos. Aside from the autopsy report, the position in which Hae’s body was found was a black hole as far as the case files for both the police and the defense were concerned. It was not until nine months after the incongruent findings in the lividity had first been noticed that the crime scene photographs were finally obtained by MSNBC, in connection with The Docket’s latest Serial special.

Before explaining what the photographs show, however, let’s review the failures that resulted in a situation in which the defense was denied access to any evidence concerning how Hae had been positioned at the burial site, and why it has taken so long to get conclusive answers to what should have been some of the most basic facts about the case.

The Investigatory Record

It is notable that not a single document in the police record describes the position in which Hae’s body was found. In fact, not one of the reports provided anything beyond the most generalized descriptions of the crime scene. The following is the entirety of available record that was produced to the defense before trial:

4 - 6-10 Report

(Progress Report, 6/10/99)

5 - 2-09 Report

(Crime Scene Narrative, 2/09/99)

(Progress Report, 2/16/99)

(Progress Report, 2/16/99)

(Police Report, 2/09/99)

(Police Report, 2/09/99)

(Surveyor's Map)

(Surveyor’s Map)

(Evidence Diagram)

(Evidence Diagram)

There’s not a single word in any of them which describes how the body was positioned in relation to the ground. Based on these reports, the only facts discernible at all as to how the body was found at the crime scene are that it was:

  1. Partially buried;
  2. Behind a 40′ log;
  3. Approximately 15′ from the west end of the log;
  4. With the head pointing towards the south, and feet pointing towards the north; and
  5. Located either 127′ or 114′ north of N. Franklintown Road (depending on which map you’re using).

Later, on August 2, 1999, the prosecution produced the following memo to the defense, which was described as the “oral report of Dr. Rodriguez,” the forensic anthropologist who disinterred the body:

Oral report of Dr. Rodriguez

Oral report of Dr. Rodriguez

This brief, triple-hearsay memo was the only report ever provided to the defense concerning the forensic findings at the crime scene. It is a prosecutor’s summary of another prosecutor’s notes of a conversation that she had with the forensic anthropologist five months previously. This document exists because in February 1999, prosecutor Vicki Wash spoke to Dr. Rodriguez, and she took notes of what he said. In July, prosecutor Kathleen Murphy wrote a summary of Wash’s notes, and then gave that to the defense.

So whatever Dr. Rodriguez found in his examination of the crime scene, his analysis was filtered through two different prosecutors before Adnan’s attorneys ever got a chance to see it. There is no way to know if Wash’s note were accurate and included everything of importance, and no way to know what Murphy’s “summary” of those notes left out. As a result, we have no idea if the oddities in this short report are truly things Dr. Rodriguez said, or if they are merely the result of a mistaken transcription by either Wash or Murphy in their various iterations of the report. Green plant material underneath — does plant material remain green if buried underground for a month? Orange fiber found on body, blue fiber found beneath body — but wait, why did the trace analysis unit conclude that there was a red fiber, a colorless fiber, and a pink-orange fiber found on the body? Is Rodriguez’s orange fiber near the shoulder Van Gelder’s red fiber near the head, or was it Van Gelder’s pink-orange fiber from a root? And what about the blue fiber, should we just assume it’s the colorless fiber that testing was done on?

Van Gelder's Trace Analysis Report

Van Gelder’s Trace Analysis Report

Prior to trial, the only other evidence of what the crime scene looked like that was handed over to the defense came from Mr. S’s police interviews. On the night of February 9, 1999, one of the detectives wrote down the following based on what Mr. S had said:

Mr. S's Police Statement

Mr. S’s Police Statement

Mr. S also provided the following sketch:

Mr. S's Sketch

Mr. S’s Sketch

And that’s it. Nothing whatsoever concerning whether the body was on its side, back, or front. Almost nothing concerning how it was buried. And inconsistent information concerning even the location of where the body was found.

Discovery

From the beginning, the prosecution was playing games with what information it turned over concerning the burial site. Although initial discovery was (eventually) handed over by Urick on July 2nd, that discovery was decidedly lacking. Five days later, Gutierrez wrote to Judge Quarles outlining the numerous deficiencies in the State’s production:

  1. Any and all sketches, diagrams, and photographs of the crime scene, to include the victim as welI as any evidence collected.
  1. A legible crime scene log. The log provided was cut-off.

. . .

  1. All police reports, only incomplete reports were provided.
  1. A copy of Det. Bradshaw’s follow-up investigation report. The report in the materials provided is cut-off.

. . .

  1. A copy of any report or documents prepared by Dr. Rodriguez, the forensic scientist at the crime scene.

. . .

  1. Autopsy photographs. The photocopies provided are not legible.

. . .

16. The Medical Examiner’s log with any and all notes made by any personnel concerning the collection of the body.

In addition to the materials that were simply not produced at all, crime scene logs and reports were only partially produced, and the quality of the autopsy photos was so horrible that they showed nothing beyond a rough outline of the body.

The State’s response denied that any further records concerning the crime scene existed:

14 - Amended States Disclosure

In other words, information concerning the burial site had simply never been recorded by anyone. The prosecution’s position was that no one had, at any time, made any diagrams or took any notes of how the body was found at the burial site. Dr. Rodriguez and his team, who had been specially brought in from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C., in order to assist the BPD with the recovery of the body, had failed to document any aspects of the crime scene.

It is worth noting that this is absolutely insane. No investigation should ever, under any circumstances, be conducted this way. There are two possibilities here: either the prosecution falsely represented to the defense (and to the court) that no such documents existed, or else Dr. Rodriguez and his team neglected the most basic aspects of a proper forensic investigation and failed to document any of their activities. See, e.g., Hutchins v. State, 339 Md. 466, 475, 663 A.2d 1281, 1286 (1995) (“The State [ ] ha[s] an obligation to disclose [ ] any written reports or statements and the substance of any oral reports and conclusions of [any ‘experts consulted by the State’] regardless of whether or not the State expected to call [those experts] to the stand to testify.”).

The only further information provided concerning Dr. Rodriguez’s (or Dr. Korell’s) findings consisted of the following disclosure on October 1st:

15 - Amended State's Disclosure

Nothing else was ever produced about the crime scene. No diagrams, no analysis, no notes, no reports. According to the prosecution, Dr. Rodriguez was brought in from Washington to conduct a forensic recovery that BPD was unequipped to handle, but failed to write down a single thing concerning his work.

Obtaining the Crime Scene Photographs

Without any documentation of the crime scene, the only remaining way to determine how the body was positioned is through the crime scene photographs. That catch was that the defense did not have any crime scene photos; Urick had refused to ever provide copies, and instead only permitted the defense to briefly view the photographs prior to trial.

Gutierrez, to her credit, relentlessly and repeatedly sought the photographs, such as in the following letters to Urick:

Defense Letter to the State, 8/5/99

Defense Letter to the State, 8/5/99

Defense Letter to the State, 9/7/99

Defense Letter to the State, 9/7/99

Defense Letter to the State, 1/6/00

Defense Letter to the State, 1/6/00

But it didn’t work. Other than the brief two-hour viewing that Urick permitted prior to trial, and during the trial itself, the defense never had access to these photos.

However, at trial, the prosecution introduced into evidence a series of eight photographs of the burial site, which Dr. Rodriguez described in his testimony. These photographs were acquired from the court last month, and, finally, we were able to definitively confirm what we have known for months: the lividity findings combined with the burial position preclude the possibility of a 7:00pm burial.

These photos were shown to Dr. Hlavaty, who was interviewed in Episode 5 of Undisclosed. After reviewing the newly obtained images, she was able to confirm that the body was positioned on its right side. Because the photos were in color, she was also able to confirm, once and for all, the presence of lividity on the anterior surface of the torso.

In addition to the lividity findings, though, it is worth noting that these findings are also highly significant in terms of what they show about the crime scene. In particular, the body was not at all concealed to the degree that I had expected, based on the trial testimony and police reports that I have been reviewing since Serial ended. The majority of the body is above the level of the forest floor, and is concealed primarily by a pile of loose soil and dead leaves that have been thrown into a pile on top of it. Much more of the body was exposed than I had expected, as well.

My reaction to the photographs was, in fact, much the same as Mr. S’s reaction was to the crime scene. The first thing you notice is that the earth has been disturbed; it is blatant and would be hard to miss. A pile of leaves and dirt have been thrown into a pile, and the forest floor surrounding the pile is bare dirt, as if someone had scooped up all the leaves in arms’ reach to add to the pile. After looking at the dirt and leaf pile, the most striking features are the glossy black hair, and below that the white of Hae’s jacket collar, as well as the completely exposed foot sticking out from the pile of leaves. Large portions of the left knee and hip are also exposed, although the color and texture of the taupe stockings allow those portions to blend in better with the surrounding brown and tan leaves.

The Pressure Marks

The photographs also provide confirmation that Hae’s body was laid out frontally after death because of what they show concerning the pressure marks. Lividity causes discoloration in the areas of the body where the blood has settled due to the effect of gravity, but in addition to the areas of discoloration this process also leaves pressure marks that appear as white patches on the skin. Pressure causes compression of the blood vessels, which results in blood being unable to settle in those areas, and therefore no discoloration occurs, even in a location that is otherwise the lowest area of the body.

In this case, the pressure marks found on Hae’s body provide further evidence that Hae had been buried after lividity had become fixed. First, there are the marks found on Hae’s shoulders: a series of three are similar-sized pressure marks, two on the right and one on the left, at roughly the same level of the body and roughly the same shape. I have made a diagram depicting theses marks’ approximate location:

The areas marked in white are pressure marks with unambiguous and distinct borders. The areas marked in beige are also pressure marks, but their shape is less clear from photos.

The areas marked in white are pressure marks with unambiguous and distinct borders. The areas marked in beige are approximate representations of the pressure marks, but their shape is less clear from photos; the beige should be interpreted to show location and general shape, rather than exact appearance.

The pressure mark on the farthest right of Hae’s shoulders was the most distinct, with clear, straight borders, and its shape is that of a distinct double-diamond pattern:

The dimensions are very precise. Based on the ruler provided for scale, the double diamond mark is:

  • 2 1/2″ inches from top to bottom
  • 1 1/8″ across at widest
  • 5/8″ across at narrowest

The two diamonds on the right shoulder are 2″ apart from point to point, and 1″ apart from the fattest part of the diamonds.

There is also a divot in the center of the rightmost diamond. Its placement makes it appear artificial, as if it were part of the construction of the item. This is especially so when combined with how symmetrical and straight the edges are; whatever it is, I do not think it’s organic.

There is no way to determine if this pressure mark was due to contact with an object in that shape, or if, for example, the object was bar-shaped and the double-diamond pattern is simply a result of greater pressure against the clavicle and shoulder and lesser pressure in-between. The other two marks (one other on the right shoulder, closer to the neck, and a third one on the far left shoulder) do appear roughly similar in shape and size, but their shape is not as distinct as is the one on the far right, as the borders are not as defined and they are not as clearly depicted in available photographs.

Dr. Hlavaty could not identify a possible source based on the marks, but she did confirm that they were pressure points that demonstrated anterior lividity. Although others have suggested that the marks may be caused by bra straps, the pressure marks do not line up with how the bra was on the body, and do not seem to be consistent with pressure marks that would have been caused by that. Whatever their source may be, there was nothing found at the Leakin Park crime scene that could account for the existence of these marks, and the body’s position did not cause these areas to be exposed to any greater pressure than the surrounding areas were subjected to.

The second significant pressure mark is the one found on the far left anterior surface of the torso, starting at a point slightly above the navel and ending at a point slightly below it. Tracing over the pressure mark gives the following zigzag shape:

19 - Pressure Mark

This pressure mark falls at the same level as the waist of Hae’s pantyhose, which had been twisted about; the pressure mark resulted from the constriction of the pantyhose where the waist had bunched due to twisting.

The location of this mark is significant in that it confirms that, when lividity fixed, the lower left side of the body’s abdomen was flat against whatever surface the body was resting on, causing blood to pool there. If lividity had fixed while the body was in the position in which it was found, no lividity could have developed in the lower left anterior of the torso.

What the Newly Obtained Crime Scene Photographs Show

For obvious reasons, we will not make copies of the photographs available to the public, and it is my very deep hope that no one else takes it upon themselves to publish them. Hae’s family doesn’t deserve that, and there is no excuse for such an action. However, the information contained in the photographs is important for Adnan’s case, and a subject of legitimate interest. In order to provide access to this information, while not making sensitive and potentially upsetting photographs available to the public, I have created a model to show the positioning of Hae’s body at the crime scene, as well as the portions of the body that were exposed when it was discovered by Mr. S.

I have taken every effort to make the model as faithful to the photographs as possible, so that when viewed from the same angle the model’s position matches the positioning shown in the photographs. A few caveats are in order, however: (1) In order to show the visible collar, the area of the neck has been obscured; (2) the positioning of the left hand is not shown in the photographs, and could either be palm up or palm down; it is depicted here as palm down; and (3) although all of the hair is depicted in the model, only the top portion of it was actually exposed as the crime scene was initially found; the lower portions were not visible until later stages of excavation. Also note that currently displayed images have been updated slightly from their original depiction when this was first posted.Model 2

Areas of the model marked in blue show the portions of the body that were exposed to the air, and which were visible in photographs prior to any recovery work had been done: the right foot, the left knee, the left hip, a portion of the right wrist and hand, the collar of Hae’s jacket, and the back of her hair.

Orange has been used to mark two of the more prominent pressure marks that would be visible based on the positioning of the model: one on the left shoulder, and one on the left lower torso. The marks on the right shoulder would have been obscured.

Model 5Model 6Model 14Model 4Model 10Model 9Model 13 Model 12 Model 11

Not all of the body was placed below ground; some portions of the body rested on soil at the same level as all of the surrounding forest floor. However, a portion of the body — primarily the torso — rested in a recessed area. In order to depict these conditions, I have used wires to hold the clay up, although in the photographs, these limbs are supported by the soil at the edges of the recessed areas, or by the forest floor itself.

According to Detective MacGillivary, there was a “natural depression” near the log, which is what the body had been placed in.  Although Dr. Rodriguez’s triple-hearsay oral report describes the area as being “dug out,” he never makes this claim in his trial testimony, and simply describes that where she was placed was “very shallow.”

This shallow depression was longer than it was wide, and only large enough to fit parts of the torso. The right knee is resting directly on the forest floor; the exposed areas, mark in blue, show where dirt and leaves had fallen off the sides of her leg, exposing all of it to air except for the lowest inch or so, which is obscured by leaf litter. The left hip is similarly exposed, with the sides uncovered by dirt and leaves due to the effects of gravity, although debris often remained directly on top of the body part. The right foot was entirely exposed and jutted at an angle into the air. The left arm was covered in leaves and not visible; although it was the highest part of the body, the leaves and soil were piled deepest over that area. The right elbow was the lowest part of the body, but is bent sharply so that the hand reaches upwards towards the surface. There was only a single rock placed on any part of the body, and that is the rock referenced in Dr. Rodriguez’s report that was placed on top of the hand. The positioning of the right hand, which indicates that it may have been in rigor at the time of the burial, makes me suspect that the rock was placed in order to hold the hand down, as otherwise rigor would have caused it to stick up well above the forest floor. With the rock on it, only a sliver of the back of the hand, where it meets the wrist, is exposed.

Additionally, it should be noted that the body was not “against” the log as it has sometimes been described. These photos show the model’s position with reference to the log and the rock:
Crime Scene - With Log - Rear View
Crime Scene - With Log - Westward View

Based on the crime scene photographs, there is no possibility that Hae was buried in Leakin Park prior to the fixation of lividity. This puts the earliest estimates of her burial at no sooner than 8-12 hours after death, and quite possibly longer. This means that, if Hae was killed shortly after leaving school, the burial could not have taken place before approximately 10pm.

-Susan

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338 thoughts on “What the Crime Scene Photographs Show

  1. What about the videotape of the crime scene that’s mentioned in the 2/9/99 crime scene narrative? Was that disclosed? Was it just a walk around video of the undisturbed crime scene, or did it show the investigation/excavation process?

      • Please can you provide a link. Thanks. The only video I’ve seem that looks at all like this is a video of Gutierrez, Buddemeyer and someone else. If it does exist, I’d really like to see it.

    • What about the videotape of the crime scene that’s mentioned in the 2/9/99 crime scene narrative?

      What about it indeed. Obviously Crime Tech Thomas was simply mistaken when he included that in his crime scene report, because according to the prosecution no such videotape exists.

  2. Mahalo Susan for taking the time, to make this model. It really helps to understand the autopsy report and the juxtaposition of the body to log. Have I told you lately hoe fantastic you are? Well you are!
    Aloha and Mahalo

  3. Wait, what? Green plants under the body? Lots exposed to elements? Leaf-less dirt all around? It sounds kinda like Hae had only been recently placed there. Can a body even last that long exposed that much? Wouldn’t the disturbed dirt start to blend in more after a month of wind and storms etc?

    • It was January/February, so I’m not sure how relevant it is that the dirt around her was still bare. I don’t think new leaves would have fallen, and perhaps there wasn’t enough wind to cover up the bare areas.

      I have no idea what to make of the supposed green plants under the body, though. That is either something that got garbled during the game of expert report telephone, or it is the mother of all smoking guns.

  4. What the heck did Jay and Adnan need shovels for? sounds like to me that poor Hae was dumped and covered with dirt and leaves. Also, They took plaster casts of tire tracks in the area? Did it match Hae’s Car tires? How about a rape kit? I’m going to assume that one was not done. (or they say they did one and they didn’t) I think at this point we can all conclude that any and all there findings are either wrong or made up! Disgusting that a boy has to spend his life in jail because of bad detectives!
    Susan, GREAT work!:-)

  5. Thank you. I appreciate the release of information and the clear statement that you will not make these photos public. I am grateful on behalf of Hae’s family, although I in no way speak for them.

  6. I believe there is a small but significant typo here: “The right hip is similarly exposed, with the sides uncovered by dirt and leaves due to the effects of gravity, although debris often remained directly on top of the body part.”

    Wouldn’t this be the LEFT hip?

  7. hi Susan
    Just a heads up. I think you mistakenly typed right hip instead of left.

    As always a clear and concise post. So sad for Hae and Adnan 😦

  8. Hi Susan, another super post but why oh why do you insist on the ‘hardly buried at all’ story? Its not as if Jay and Jen and/or their shovel story needs that much discrediting and your version just isn’t born out by the facts:
    Mr S says only that he could make out part of a foot and hair, not the many areas ypu outline in your models. You know very well that the disturbed ground section of his statement that you quote and make much of was due to small animal predation reunvovering partial arras of the body not some inadequate leafmould burial, the Forensic Anthrologist Dr Rodriguez was very clear and specific about that. Indeed all of the areas that you mention as being exposed he determines were exposed by animal activity. The hair,that you acknowledge is inaccurately represented in your mock ups, was described by him as a portion of hair that had been teased out from under the soil, again by animals digging down under the soil and leaves that had covered Haes grave. You know this, you’re more familiar with the testimony than anyone else and it does you no credit to ignore it.
    You know thatRodriguez descibes the grave site as being ‘well camoflaged’ , you know he says that any average person could have walked over it and seen nothing. You know Buddemeyer, the County Surveyor, nearly did walk over the gravesite and he noticed nothing. You remember, we all do, Sarah Koenig viewing pre exvavation photos and being amazed thst anyone could tell that there was a body buried there.
    Dr Rodriguez examined the site meticulously and he had it documented, as you know, with over 30 photographs. He describes all of the areas of the body that were exposed before the excavation, the partially exposed, hair, foot, hip and knee and he explains how they had come to be exposed, which you have ignored and replaced with your own frankly fairy tale version of weird gravity vortexes removing random clusters of leaves
    Dr Rofriguez definitely does not describe the now infamous ‘right hand’ as being exposed. This supposedly exposed hand that two days ago was described as being ‘very VERY’ clear and which today is a hardly glimpsed ‘sliver of the back of the hand’ does make me wonder if you are confusing post with pre- excavation photos. Only 3 of those were put into evidence and none are recorded as identifying the right hand at all. Of course you know that, which is why you call in as evidence ASA Walsh’s memo which mentions a hand, after dismissing the same memo earlier as ‘thrice hearsay’ because you didn’t like it said that the grave are had been ‘dug out’. I expected and do stillexpect better of you.
    You know the autopsy report describes poor Hae’s ears,mouth, and nostrils being full of soil, her breasts being covered in wet soil yet you persist in this ridiculous ‘dumped in a natural hollow with a few leaves tossed over’ her story. Not good enough.

    Well what about lividity, I think that I was one of the first people to point to the potential importance of lividity evidence many months ago on this very blog. I haven’t seen the photos and I’m no expert, so I’ll shut up for now except to say that it does all rely on body position, and trust.

    • Excellent questions. This is why I spoke to a forensic anthropologist about the photos. The parts that are shown as exposed in my model are exposed in the photos. I’m not sure why you think they are not, but again, I was very careful in matching the areas marked in blue with the areas that were visibly exposed in the photos. These photos were exhibits are trial, and Dr. Rodriguez testified that they were taken before they “began [their] initial examination of the remains and began to excavate them” (1/28/00 Tr. 163-64).

      as a portion of hair that had been teased out from under the soil,

      The entire back of her head is showing, down to just above the level of her ears.

      You know Buddemeyer, the County Surveyor, nearly did walk over the gravesite and he noticed nothing. You remember, we all do, Sarah Koenig viewing pre exvavation photos and being amazed thst anyone could tell that there was a body buried there.

      And having seen the photos, I can now see just how much of the body is exposed. As has everyone else who has seen the photos. It is largely covered in leaves and soil, but significant portions are exposed. Again, this has been confirmed by the forensic anthropologist I spoke to. Of course the body is camouflaged — it’s covered in leaves and dirt, with only various isolated points shown. But that is not the same as saying that someone looking at it would not be able to tell that there was a body buried there, because they very much could.

      You can choose to believe they were exposed by animal activity, but I don’t see how that fits in with the claim that they weren’t exposed at all. However, I do not think Dr. Rodriguez was correct in that assessment; there is no evidence of scratch marks, and the leaves appear to have fallen off due to the effects of gravity, not something pawing.

      This supposedly exposed hand that two days ago was described as being ‘very VERY’ clear and which today is a hardly glimpsed ‘sliver of the back of the hand’ does make me wonder if you are confusing post with pre- excavation photos.

      No, I am not. It is unquestionably a pre-excavation photo, and a strip of skin just above the wrist is visible. The word “sliver” is used to convey that it is an elongated strip up the side of the back of the hand that is shown, but it is plainly visible.

      which is why you call in as evidence ASA Walsh’s memo which mentions a hand, after dismissing the same memo earlier as ‘thrice hearsay’ because you didn’t like it said that the grave are had been ‘dug out’. I expected and do stillexpect better of you.

      I call it into question because no report that was made in such a convoluted matter can be accepted uncritically. The report states that there are “rocks” on body, but this visibly is not true. However, the part about a rock being on the hand matches exactly with what I am seeing.

      If Dr. Rodriguez had taken written notes and created a diagram to accurately record the position of the body, none of this debate would ever have been necessary. However, he didn’t. Or he did and the prosecution lied about it. Either way, his statements a year later that do not directly acknowledge aspects of the crime scene is not evidence that those things did not exist.

      • How do you square “The entire back of her head is showing, down to just above the level of her ears” with your model showing the head tilted? Or did you mean to say “ear”?

        • I agree I worded that confusingly; you cannot see her ears, that’s just an estimate on my part. What you can see the entire back of her head — about as much as you’d expect to possibly be visible without some skin (i.e., an ear) showing.

      • I wonder if the marks on her upper chest aren’t something she was wearing not found. They are quite symmetric with one on the left lifted higher and maybe the other moved during lividity. Could she have been wearing a backpack or some other shoulder supported item? To have these be configured as they are from laying on something not on her seems odd when that is no a place where pressure on the body would normally occur laying face down. Ones chest would elevate those areas off of a flat surface unless they protruded from the surface.

        • I think the marks on her shoulders came from something used to pull her body..like s moving belt..makes it eaiser for a single person to relocate a body…hmm?? Thoughts?

  9. What do you mean by “artificial”? Is its second use in this section a typo? If not, why do you think the mark was made by something that was not artificial (i.e. natural?)? “There is also a divot in the center. Its placement makes it appear artificial, as if it were part of the construction o the item. This is especially so when combined with how symmetrical and straight the edges are; whatever it is, I do not think it’s artificial.”

      • Susan – Have you explored the diamond shapes coming from a motel key ring? I google image searched “motel key tag” and see many options that are the correct dimensions, have a small hole in the top/center, though I didn’t see any right away that have such pointy ends in my quick search. But, could have been two tags on one key ring or simply a motel key left on a bed (key tucked under the plastic tag).

  10. And if you rotate the top half of the body just a smidgeon more toward the ground, you actually pretty much have it correct, finally. It is clear Hae was laid down on her right side but she stuck up too much to cover her so Adnan turned her upper body until it was flat so he could cover her with dirt and leaves and she would not stick out.

    I am glad you have come to the point where you have given up on the complete right side burial and you are starting to admit the top half of her was pretty much face down and flat.

    • Are you saying that Hae’s body was lying flat across her right arm? If so then her right arm would be lower than her chest and thus should show a lividity pattern. If her chest is lying across her arm then that would constrict the blood vessels and cause a pressure mark as described in the Susan’s blog.

      And of course your post begs the whole question of when Hae was pretzelled up in the boot (less than two hours under your paradigm because there is no mixed lividity).

      Good analysis from Susan and more importantly from Dr Hlavaty (which does not contradict Dr Korell’s testimony either). I’d want another expert to come in and dispute Dr Hlavaty’s observations, who was very clear that the lividity pattern did not fit the ultimate burial pattern, before I take the say so of an anonymous someone on a blog with anything except a huge pinch of salt.

    • This is a body positioned on its right side, which cannot account for anterior lividity. The top half of her body is at an angle that would result in right-side lividity, as has been stated since we received the photos.

      • Susan. Your posts and analysis are always detailed and thought-provoking. I am still a little confused about how this all affects the timeline. If Hae was face down for 8-12 hours before the Leakin Park burial why would the murder position her in the twisted fashion show in the burial photos and models? IE: Why would her hand have needed to be pinned down by a rock? Would rigor have set in by that point in the face down position? Your model does kind of look like she could have been wedged into the trunk of car. Love to get your thougths!

        • “Why would her hand have needed to be pinned down by a rock? Would rigor have set in by that point in the face down position?”

          Yes. By the time of burial, the arm+hand was likely stiffened from rigor Mortis so that it was sticking straight up, likely resulting from some facet of where she was lying face down.

          It’s also possible to break rigor in individual places on the body. Only that portion will be broken. So it’s possible that for some reason her entire arm (shoulder to hand) was fixed in rigor straight. If, during the later dump, this became a problem, the killer could have used brute strength to break the rigor in the shoulder joint and upper arm, forcing it to lay down flat.

          However after doing this, the rigor in the elbow and hand would still be in tact and rigid. It seems for whatever reason, the killer didn’t bother breaking the rigor there, and simply tried to cover the jutting-out hand with a rock. After all, compared to an entire arm length sticking out, just the length of the forearm and hand might have been hastily judged “good enough” by someone trying to quickly dump/hide the body and get out of there.

          • Really good observations… You know the body’s in rigor, but I never thought about the fact that the killer might have to break rigor, to get her in that position… Is this a possibility Susan?

          • I am confused. If Hae’s body had to be laid out flat on stomach for the lividity to make sense, then wouldn’t her body already be in a perfect flat position for burial due to rigor? Or did the killer have to break rigor in order to transport the body to the grave site? The rigor in her legs would have had to be broken to account for their position in your model? The legs appear to be in a very naturally bent position…how hard is to break rigor?

  11. Susan, excellent post and timing. I sincerely hope that the actual photos will not be published. My question to you is twofold: are you aware of the existence of any additional photos from the crime scene taken on the day that Hae was discovered? Secondly it has been suggested that anyone can file a MPIA request, and with “expenses involved” consequently obtain more than 8 photos.
    I do not intend to file one, I am simply interested the veracity of that statement as I am skeptical of the claim.
    Thanks,

  12. Just curious why Mr. S is still referred to as Mr. S when his real name is revealed in several areas? It is even shown in this blog post? The guy is a total creep and lives in a house right behind Woodlawn’s campus. He has been arrested so many times for indecent exposure it’s ridiculous to think he stopped at that spot to “take a leak”. He can Sellers that story to someone else……..

    • I still think Mr. S is a key to what happened in this case. The fact that he flunk the first lie detector test and that the second lie detector test was a joke tells me that he at least has some connection to this that was not followed up on by the dectetives.

  13. Do you folks suppose the prosecutor’s unwillingess to disclose materials regarding the body’s positioning was just typical discovery BS, or was Urick aware that the lividity contradicted the 7PM burial that the state intended to argue? Urick knew how dependent the case was on those 7PM “Leakin Park calls.” Changing the burial time wasn’t an option the way changing the “come and get me call” to 2:36 was. It was critical that Jay’s account of the burial time match the cell pings.

  14. A few people raised this issue with Rabia when she was in Texas a few weeks ago, but the lack of animal activity on the actual body itself seems very strange and unusual.. One defense attorney, in particular, noted that, given that the body had (supposedly) been buried shallowly for 6 weeks, it defied explanation that there was still skin on it. He seemed to believe that animals would have consumed much of it over that time period. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s certainly worth following up with experts. More in depth examination of the animal issues may reveal that Hae’s body was buried weeks
    than the State’s timeline would suggest.

    • I am puzzled by this too but I wonder if it being winter had any bearing on it. Also I believe there was an ice storm that night which may have left the exposed parts of her body covered in ice. Someone with actual crime scene experience would have to say one way or another though, if snow and ice cover can keep animals at bay. I am not sure what the temperatures were like between Jan and Feb in Baltimore either, if they were consistently below freezing or not.

  15. Thanks for your reply Susan, clear and informative as ever, I just have a couple of points, in cross, well 3 actually!

    1) If you read the testimony of Det. MacGilvray it is correct that he does not actually say that the body was just placed in the natural depression, is it not?

    2) You berate Dr Rodriguez for failing to document the burial position but you have been able to rely on two of his photos and one close up to produce your detailed and impressive 3D model, have you not?

    3) While you dismiss Dr Rodriguez’s detailed testimony on how the exposed body areas were exposed as a result of attempted animal predation, you do acknowledge that he was a nationally and indeed internationally, recognized expert in Forensic Anthropology do you not?

    I think I’ve spent too long reading transcripts, have I not! ? :=\

    • 1. Nowhere does Susan categorically state that the body was “just” placed in a natural depression. In fact, she mentions that Dr. Rodriguez had said the area may have been “dug out”; quotes the 2/16/99 Progress Report that the body was “partially buried”; notes that “[n]ot all of the body was placed below ground”, which clearly indicates that some of it certainly was; writes that a portion of the body, including the torso, was in a “recessed area”; and, she generally describes a scene where Hae’s body is mostly buried in some sort of shallow earthen cavity, beneath a large pile of dirt and leaves that are deeper in some places than others, and which is fairly well-camouflaged, as it is only the top of the hair, a portion of the jacket collar, and a foot that really betray the fact there is a body underneath.

      2. Susan is “berating” Dr. Rodriguez? Just, NO. That’s not at all what she’s doing here. The prosecution are the ones who claimed that Dr. Rodriguez failed to document the crime scene. Susan is only stating that that is the State’s justification for not turning over such evidence to the defense. She doesn’t suggest that it’s a valid justification at all. In fact, she does the exact opposite — she argues that an expert of his caliber is unlikely to ever fail to document a crime scene, so it’s not very believable that Dr. Rodriguez failed to make any records of this case. Her argument relies entirely on the presumption that Dr. Rodriguez was BETTER at his job than the prosecution claimed.

      3. Susan disagrees with Dr. Rodriguez on whether there was animal predation, so what? You seem to be building an “appeal to authority” fallacy here. Experts can be mistaken and their speculation can be wrong. Susan says that, in the photos, there don’t appear to be any marks in the earth around Hae that would indicate scratching by animals. That’s obviously her opinion of what she’s seeing — again, so what? I’m not sure what difference it makes. No matter how they came to be that way, portions of Hae’s body were exposed enough that they could be seen beneath all of the dirt and leaves piled on her at the crime scene. Dr. Rodriguez does not disagree with that anywhere in his testimony.

      I’m not sure why you’re so openly hostile to everything Susan has to say. It’s almost as if you interpret every statement as a personal attack. It’s kinda bizarre.

      • I agree with you Jessica… Attacking Susan only shows us ( ppl reading this blog) that you Lizzy are not who you pretend to be. I honestly hope you are on the side of the prosecution… Pop some popcorn, get comfortable and prepare for the takedown… Because it’s comin… It’s already begun.
        Lizzy you should watch what you say… It only shows your true colors!
        Love you Susan!

    • 1) If you read the testimony of Det. MacGilvray it is correct that he does not actually say that the body was just placed in the natural depression, is it not?

      Yes, it does:

      2) You berate Dr Rodriguez for failing to document the burial position but you have been able to rely on two of his photos and one close up to produce your detailed and impressive 3D model, have you not?

      No, he didn’t take any photos. The photos were all taken by a BPD crime tech. I have 8 such photos, four from before any excavation and 4 during.

      3) While you dismiss Dr Rodriguez’s detailed testimony on how the exposed body areas were exposed as a result of attempted animal predation, you do acknowledge that he was a nationally and indeed internationally, recognized expert in Forensic Anthropology do you not?

      Of course. And if he had recorded any basis for this conclusion, and I’d be inclined to respect it. However, as it is, the photos and autopsy show no scratch marks whatsoever, and in fact her entirely exposed foot had no evidence of animal scavenging activity. So what was the evidence that was the basis of Dr. Rodriguez’s conclusion? No idea, because it hasn’t been recorded anywhere for us to evaluate.

  16. Susan, do you know how much pressure would need to be applied to make those marks? In other words, does it mean the body had to have been lying on a hard surface, such as a tile floor, or could it have been on a softer surface, such as a bed or mattress? If it could have been a bed or mattress, I’m wondering whether the diamond pattern reflects a pattern on the bedspread, with the divot being the place where it is gathered at a stitch, like a quilt. Or even the pattern on some mattresses where the thread forms a diamond pattern.

    • I’m wondering if it could have been a necklace that was funky (think 90’s fashion?) and could have been broken and when the body was moved the broken necklace got left behind?

  17. I wonder if the diamond shape could have been a repeating pattern on a belt with a small stud in the center. Is it certain the strangulation was manual and not with a belt?

  18. Susan,
    It seems like the location of the pressure marks (on the shoulders) would indicate that the body was face down but also tilted/angled downwards some instead of flat, no? That could be consistent with being face down in the trunk with the legs tucked underneath. Jay’s term “pretzeled up” does not necessarily mean on her side.

    What do you think of that idea? Was there lividity evidence on the legs or lower torso that made it clear that the body was laying flat/prone? Also, is there any evidence list of what was in the trunk when it was found? Maybe something diamond shaped?

    • I wonder if there was anything that shape in the trunk of either HML’s or AS’s car? Tools? Battery terminal cover? Junk?

    • Doug, you didn’t ask me but I believe that in one of the posts about lividity they do mention that there was more pooling in her chest than her legs, and so, yes, she was possibly placed on an incline.

      So, wherever she was, there for hours on an incline, and her killer had no concern about her body being noticed until he could bury her 8 hrs later, plus there was something that looked like a diamond naturally present.

    • 2nd attempt.

      A previous lividity post mentions that there was less pooling in her legs. So, yes, likely that she was on an incline.

      If she were face flat, legs bent, pretzeled on the flat surface in the trunk you would see lividity in the front of her thighs and in the *back*of her calves. Can’t recall but I don’t think she had that pattern.

  19. I was wondering how long the pressure would have to have been applied for, for the pressure marks to have been made? For the whole duration of the lividity setting in, or could it have been caused by a short pressure once the lividity had set / started setting?

    • That’s a good question, but it’s worth noting that the prosecution’s theory is that Adnan dumped the body only 4 hours after death, which is *well* before the time when lividity would’ve been fixed. So regardless of the answer to your question, the prosecution’s theory does not fit the lividity evidence.

      • And that, to me, is the most important conclusion. It proves the whole story of Jay to be a lie. Which means ‘reasonable doubt’, at least. Together with alibi witnesses it means Adnan spent 17years in prison, being innocent.

  20. Great job Susan. Though I’ve felt bad the entire time, this is the first thing I’ve seen/heard that made me feel truly sad about Hae. She deserves justice, and Adnan in jail is not it. Keep up the good work.

  21. I am curious if you might show in a drawing where livity is visible in Hae’s body. That way is can be compared to your great model of how her body was positioned.

  22. Diamond and double diamond shapes are common in non-slip designs, with and without ‘nibs’ to prevent slippage. Might be worth considering vehicle (van?) flooring and cargo liners/mats/trays.

  23. Thanks for coming back, Susan. I check your blog everyday for a new post, even though its been almost 6 months since the last. Thank you for the great work you do on behalf of ALL wrongly convicted individuals who are incarcerated. #FreeAdnan!

    • A backpack sounds very plausible and might account for both the shoulder markings and the waist-level marking (some backpacks have a waist belt too) but is there any evidence of one being found or being missing?

      • I’m probably answering my own question here, but is there a possibility that Hae’s body could have come in contact with the front of her car? I see a diamond pattern on the grid, however I’m having a hard time understanding why the killer would have placed her up front.

    • Ding ding ding! Good find. I’m looking at it as if she’s face down with her body lying across mattress except for the top of her shoulders and head. The body would then slump over just the very top portion of the side of the mattress.

      If she was near edge of bed, her arm could have also been hanging off the side of the bed outstretched–causing it to fix in rigor outstretched straight.

      • but then why werent there more marks? all over her body? my thinking is it was an unfinished concrete flooring with some diamond shape fixings.. the kind that you screw or bolt to the ground in the middle.

  24. Wow! You made models to help us visualize. That’s impressive.
    Looking at the zig zag pattern on her abdomen, it looks very much like a spring/coil to me. Someone mentioned the area on her shoulders being from an ice scraper, I think that is what it would remind me of as well. (Although initially, I had thought it could be from a backpack).

    One thing that has always bothered me about the “body could not have been buried in Leakin Park at 7” theory, why couldn’t the body have been put there at that time, face down, then moved later?
    Thanks for sharing all your findings with us. I very much enjoy reading your blog and listening to Undisclosed.

    • Well, although very unlikely ( why would the killer take the risk to come back and get caught ? ), it may be theoretically possible. But same conclusion => Jay’s story would be a lie. In the meantime we are already sure it’s a lie ofc coz he changed it over and over again.

    • Definitely not a spring or a coil.
      That zigzag mark was completely baffling to me until Susan mentioned the pantyhose and I realized I’ve had the exact same type of mark on my own body numerous times – as I’m sure any woman who has worn a pair of control-top hosiery has as well! It’s caused by the bulk of the center seam against the soft flesh of the abdomen, made worse if the skirt worn over it is tight in that area. The zigzag of the shape happens with bunching caused by body movements like bending over, and especially when the pantyhose are a bit too large and there’s too much fabric there. It scrunches down into a zigzag shape because the seam can’t relax itself the way the rest of the fabric can. (Look at a pair of pantyhose straight out of the package to see what I mean.) Obviously it works differently on a living body, but I can tell you definitely, that is the center seam of her pantyhose, no question. Susan mentions them being twisted, which is why the mark would be further to the side. I wonder if this might indicate that her pantyhose had been removed, at least partially, at some point?
      Sadly, the diamond patterns did not suggest anything to me. Those are really bugging me.

  25. I’m also shocked about the fact that there were tire marks and a plaster cast made of them, but this was apparently never mentioned at trial. The first request in the July letter asks for sketches and diagrams, which would include the plaster cast. After receiving the State’s response that “all available sketches” had been provided, did Gutierrez not press harder for the plaster cast of the tire marks? Is there any other mention of them ever again?

    • I think whoever dumped the body did so after first driving into the park. This makes Mr. A’s story concerning the suspicious looking guy trying to get his car around the cement blocks all the more interesting…

  26. Ok I can’t figure out why ppl are suggesting that the diamond pattern is made by a mattress ? The preasure marks are on top of her shoulders toward the crook of her neck. I think more on the lines of some type of straps. Don’t think bad of me, but I’m looking at bondage straps. I know this sounds bad, but if you were to hog tie someone, it could pull at the shoulder area. Also once passed out or deceased it could also put pressure on the shoulder area. I truly believe that the sick individual who perpetrated this crime was just sick enough to do that. I agree with you Susan on the Zig Zag lines possibly being from he pantyhose.
    IMO those diamond shapes are not from any loose debris in a trunk or a mattress, those were deliberately made from something strapped to Poor Hae.
    One question, not sure what police report I’m referring to, or if I even have it right… But didn’t they claim that her body was placed in a natural indentation near the log? Then wouldn’t that be another false statement by Jay, that he helped to dig a hole? Why did they even need shovels?
    Oops one more, because of the climate that time of year it would slow the decomposition and therefore would explain the lack of animal activity?
    Susan did a great job with this model… Mahalo! You, Rabia and Colin are a fantastic team… I like the fact that you’re not only going to Exonerate Adnan, but your tireless efforts to find Justice for Hae!
    Aloha

  27. What about the pattern on her chest area being from a thick quilt (i.e. A hotel/motel bed cover)? This would explain the detectives harassing Debbie about ‘being sure Hae and Adnan never had sex at a hotel/motel’….

    • Just wanted to say, when it comes to the pressure marks and livor mortis, the object would be pressed against the skin (therefore constricting the blood vessels) while the lividity was fixing. Once lividity is fixed, moving the body would not make the white pressure marks.

    • See my comment above: the pressure marks develop in the hours after death. Once lividity is fixed, moving the body wouldn’t create the marks.

  28. I really have not been an active participant in the comments thus far, and usually would prefer to leave all of this up to the experts. However, I’d like to politely disagree with the mattress theory for the double diamond pattern. Firstly, the dimensions of the shape seem too small to match the quilted pattern on most mattresses. And secondly, I can’t imagine that soft upholstery would create a shape with such clearly defined, sharp edges. To me, this appears to be something with a hard flat raised surface and sharp edges made of plastic or metal. And that dot in the middle makes me think of something that was injection molded. The cargo liner theory or the back pack strap hardware theory jibe more with what i see described. I hope one of the millions of people following this case will recognize this from something more specific.

  29. I had some issues logging in to post my comment. I don’t see it, so I’m posting again – but if 2 comments show up, I apologize!!

    Susan – I commend you and your tireless efforts in proving that Adnan was falsely accused and shamelessly railroaded. Sadly, I fear that now that the state is aware of all the attention their wrong-doing is getting – they’ll just drag their feet on Adnan’s cases out of spite.

    One quick question, and forgive me if I missed this in Serial or Undisclosed, but was Hae’s trunk ever searched for forensic evidence? Or, since it was her car (her trunk), was it likely that there her DNA would be in the trunk anyway – so it’s moot? I’m not a detective, but I just feel like there would be some obvious evidence of a body being in a trunk versus just normal use of a trunk.

    Keep of the great work!!! #FreeAdnan

    • No, they never tested anything in Hae’s trunk. They did seize the trunk liner from Adnan’s car, as if they intended to test it, but there is no record of any tests being carried out. There is no evidence that Hae was ever in her trunk, aside from Jay, and the cops apparently didn’t want to try and prove that he was correct about that.

      • Why if Hae has her bra off, and possibly has her whole upper body unclothed while the lividity was setting, why does it seem no one has considered a possible sexual element to the crime? Rabia’s post following up on your post indicates that the bra (and can i infer other clothing?) would have left clear marks if she had been wearing them during the time lividity was fixing. Am I missing something obvious?

        Can i also ask about two things another of Rabia’s posts (Dec. 22nd, 2014) made me wonder? These are from an evidence review document she posted from 11/3/99.

        1) do you know if anyone followed up and looked into the ex-boyfriend of whom a picture was found in Hae’s car? He was a guy in military clothing named Jake – the notes on the evidence description say April 4th “appears to be their one year anniversary if they would have been together,” based on info from her planner.

        2)It looked as though the two blockbuster video cases had plenty of identifying info – did i miss an account of the result of follow-up on that by someone way back then? If not, what about now? Apologies if i missed it.

        • Sorry, had forgotten or missed the posts about the don in a hotel room theory… even so, this is more reason to focus on that aspect of the evidence.

  30. Susan, were the marks on the body solid or an outline? There are universal car mats out there that are very similar but the diamonds are an open outline. And beyond that, it would seem like an awkward position to get an angled imprint on the one shoulder and not the other — and especially on a raised area like the clavicle vs a flat area like the stomach or back. So odd. I can’t believe the forensics investigator did not even try to match this to anything belonging to Hae, Adnan or Jay. Then again, perhaps they couldn’t and so therefore they never brought it up again… Shocker there. My other guess would be some kind of tool perhaps. Mr. S said he went home to get some tools he needed back at the college the day he found her. If he’s like a lot of other handy people out there he might store tools in his truck bed, perhaps covered by a tarp or cover until he could bury her. Just a thought. This is a great clue.

    Nice work again!

  31. I’m a late-comer to these comments but I have been mulling over something. As to the people who say the burial photos confirm that she was mostly face-down in the burial spot and therefore the lividity pattern is consistent with the 7pm story: the objects that caused the pressure marks would have been seen as the body was excavated. Speaking from experience, when cops find a body sitting in a chair, or laying on the floor with their hand under their chest, for example, the pressure marks show (in white marks) the chair, the hand, etc. What, in her burial spot, could have made the marks? A stick? (don’t think so). A bottle? (Well what was underneath her right shoulder when they lifted her up?)

    • The takeaway from all this evidence is that the lucidity fixed before she was buried, since the lividity pattern does not match her burial position. The pressure marks were made while the lividity was fixing, so the source of the marks would not be in the burial site.

  32. What about an opened upside-down jewelry gift box shaped similar to this…
    http://www.amazon.com/Cultured-Button-Earrings-Diamond-13-14mm/dp/B00AI9IQKO

    The dot could be the gap between 2 small hinges. The other 2 impressions could be the top & bottom of a paper box it came in. Parts of the paper box could have been crushed.

    There was an empty gift box in Hae’s glove compartment as well as a heart charm.

    A theory…Don invited Hae to hotel room. As she is partially undressing, he presents her with the jewelry gift box. As she opens it on the bed, he gets behind her and strangles her. After death, her resting position is on top of the boxes.

  33. Hae had something to do before picking up her cousin after school, she was madly in love, may have had her top off when she was killed, was left lying flat on her front for hours after death, body probably wrapped in a blanket and the police were asking about a hotel/motel…..does it all point to a rendezvous vous with her new boyfriend??

    • Yes to me it could be a possibility. I mean the 12 AM. Burial would explain why he didn’t call police until after 1 AM. Or are you suggesting it might be another love interest, beside the current boyfriend?

  34. Hi Susan you’re doing a fantastic job. The diamond marks look like they could be from tire tread to me. Don’t the police have a catalogue of such things? But, how she was placed in the correct position for them to mark her I’m unsure. Head on tire wall, shoulders just off? Keep up the good work.

  35. Susan, are you able to definitely rule out the bra strap theory (at least for the very clear diamond shaped mark) via photographic evidence? i.e. have you seen a photo of the bra/straps? Are they a completely different shape? Do the autopsy photos display where the straps lie on Hae?

  36. Feeling the need to explain a little about lividity based on some comments/questions above.

    Think of it like a sunburn. If you fall asleep under direct sun for a few hours, your skin will be red wherever it wasn’t covered. Where it was covered, it will be white. If your clothes don’t move at all during the time your skin is getting its sunburn, it will be perfectly obvious what you were wearing. The strap of your bathing suit top will show as bright, clear stretch of white skin surrounded by redness.

    It’s the same with lividity, except in this case the white marks will be the places where your skin was being pressed by gravity against something underneath it, not where it was being covered by something above it. If a body is left in one position for between 8 and 12 hours, the white/red pattern can show BOTH what that position was AND whether or not there was any unusually shaped item lying underneath the body.

    In this case, the white/red pattern shows that Hae was lying flat on her stomach for several hours, and there was (a) something with that double-diamond shape under her shoulder and (b) no clothing on her upper body in places where her chest was in contact with whatever surface she was lying on.

    If I understand it correctly, that double-diamond thing must have been a discrete object — meaning not connected to anything else — that was hard-edged and nearly flat. So, not a hunk of mattress or a part of a truck bed, because neither is discrete and the mattress is too soft.

    • Mahalo for the explanation on lividity and pressure marks, very helpful.
      Another blogger mentions and I agree. Is there anyway Susan that you could provide us with a drawing, that would illiterate where exactly the lividity is on located throughout the body?
      It would greatly be appreciated!
      Mahalo Nui Loa!

    • Thank you. This is helpful.

      Perhaps I missed it, but why would a mark like that mean she had no shirt over that location? Why could a hard object pressing through a light shirt against the body not have a similar effect?

      • No expert here, but my understanding is that bunched-up clothing underneath a body creates enough of a pressure differential that it becomes “visible” on the skin when the body is turned over. We know that Hae’s bra was pushed up above her chest area when her body was discovered, so it seems unlikely that it was in place during the hours when lividity was fixing. There would have been markings from the material itself.

        • Good point. That is exactly what produced the zigzag at the waist band of her tights.

          No bra or shirt… but both replaced before burial. The plot thickens.

  37. Ok so an old friend of mine whom is a mechanic on cars and boats, he’s also a machinist. The first two things that caramel to his mind : 1) a School Boat Anchor (s) and (2) Mooring Cleats ( they are what you tie a boat to the docks)
    I’m not sure I agree 100% with him, but I’m trying to find something online that looks like the pattern. He is also going to keep thinking of what else it might be.
    I’ll keep y’all posted if I find something. Until then Tons of Aloha… We’re gonna get it Team Free Adnan!

  38. I take back my jewelry case thought. I printed out a proportionate sample of the shape and it is VERY SMALL. Smaller than what I had visualized the 2.5″ x 1 1/8″ size being.

    Things that come to mind in looking at the printed shape:
    1) A reversible utility knife replacement blade. However, I can’t find any online examples with that shape.
    2) A battery compartment cover. Screw hole is the dot. Maybe for two AA batteries that are positioned vertically. Possibly a flashlight. I can’t find any online examples that match. And why would there be at least 3 covers?
    3) The bottom of a contact lens case (the plastic mold making the dot). Maybe one that is lipped shape. The 2nd shape could be the top. But what would make the 3rd shape?

    Dang it.

  39. Perhaps it could be some sort of laundry token or marketing item found in a hotel room? For placing on a clothes hanger perhaps – the hook would go through the hole.

    Or some sort of key fob – for a wardrobe perhaps.

    The item on the left of the diagram looks as though it should be folded in two with something passing through the hole – maybe a chain or a cord. Maybe or a key holder for a wardrobe or cupboard.

    However the repetition of the shape suggests that the three impressions are part of one wide (?hinged) object – like the three hinges on a case … maybe a shallow briefcase? Something with a lid that is a little wider than the distance between the outside points of the outer impressions.

    Just thinking out loud….

  40. Thanks, Susan, for all your hard work.
    The diamond shape impressions made me think of something that was a part of a car or vehicle. My car’s back seats can fold down, and perhaps the head-rest hardware, seatbelts, or something along the line of that could be something that made the impression. She could have been laid out pretty flat and faced down if in a vehicle that had fold-down seats. My initial intuition for a non-Jay or non-Adnan killer was that someone who had a van snatched her–a van that would have totally concealed her from view.
    Could the outside temperature have caused her to “freeze” and thus not decompose as quickly? That still wouldn’t explain why animals did not scavenge—though perhaps animals in that area would have been hibernating (this is a city park, after all)? Lack of animal activity suggests that maybe she was left there a week or so before she was discovered, yet then she would have had to be kept in a really cold place prior to slow down decomposition (perhaps a shed or some sort).

  41. Aloha and good morning,
    Can anyone explain how I can post photos? I found some mooring cleats, that look similar or o lot like the daimond patterns. Help 😊
    Mahalo

    • That’s the best option I’ve seen so far. I had been wondering how someone could have moved Hae’s body if it were possibly in full rigor and considered that she may have been wrapped in something to drag her. My boyfriend points out those straps with clips like that don’t even need to be attached to anything like a sleeping. Luggage straps!!!! They have the same type of clamps. Luggage straps are not rare and could have been used to secure a blanket or something else around her which would have also made it easier to move her body. So a sleeping bag could make even more sense.

  42. What about shower curtain rings? The ones with chunky designs on the front were popular back then. One directly against her skin with the other two slightly askew. In a bathtub would also provide the incline.

  43. Thank you for the incredible amount of work went into this post and analysis.

    The ubiquity of the double diamond pattern is MADDENING! An Eastpak backpack was recovered from her car, and I’ve found some images of eastpaks with similar (though not exact) patterning. There were a pair of black “high light” high heels also recovered from the car, and I’ve found a few photos of black high lights with a single double-diamond strap in the front. My head immediately went to lacrosse netting, although I doubt the dimensions would be right, and I would think it would leave more of a repeating pattern. It just could be so many things … And despite the clear evidentiary value of determining what the marks are from, the whole affair is so sad to think about to this degree of detail.

    Regardless, thank you for the hard work.

  44. Susan,

    Thank you for another clear, concise and informative post. I am no expert, but her body being out there for so long with no animal activity is, to me, a little preposterous. Personally, I am leaning more towards the theory that her body was elsewhere until shortly before she was found in Leakin Park. Especially since it is very similar to how her car was most likely moved to the location in which it was “found” shortly before.

    I’m wondering if she was elsewhere before being placed in Leakin Park, do you have any theories as to where that may have been?

    Also, this is a theory that has been gnawing at me for some time, but do you think this may have been the killer may have been someone on the police force, or related to the force? Obviously I don’t have any hard evidence, call it a gut feeling plus all of the inconsistencies, the fact that the state is still fighting so hard, the refusal of anyone remotely connected to the state, such as the PI and the crime lab that was asked to test the Brandy bottle to get involved, the leading questions, etc. Any thoughts on this?

    -Penny

    • On second thought, probably not since if Hae had been lying flat on a berber carpet the same pattern would have been seen elsewhere on her body.

  45. Susan,

    Do you know why a forensic anthropologist (Dr. R) from the Armed Forces OME responded? How would this fall under his jurisdiction?

  46. My mother, Dr Barenfanger, is a pathologist and microbiologist and has been doing forensic autopsies for 30 plus years. I have read her the autopsy report and told her about Hae’s death and she states there is NO WAY that her death could be pinpointed down to the DAY much less the HOUR (like the state says in their timeline). Have you guys looked into other days? Maybe you guys are so focused about this little aspect, and missing a WAY bigger picture. Or get a better medical examiner

    • I don’t think that anyone outside the prosecution has suggested that we know for sure the time she died. I think the team here is working along the fact that Hae having died that day is far and away the most plausible scenario. After all, there are no signs that she was kept restrained somewhere and the relative lack of defensive wounds suggests that there weren’t hours and days during which she presumably would have struggled and attempted to escape. I don’t know what they found as far as stomach contents, but that would be something that could give you an idea of the day. (ie school lunch food or something.) We know since she didn’t pick up her cousin that she was very very likely abducted/attacked before 3:15, and it seems most likely that she was killed shorty thereafter.

  47. When bodies are laid flat their shoulders are off the ground, so, it seems to me the only way pressure could be exerted is if the objects were attached to the body somehow or on a raised object like a pillow or something like this bicycle tyre. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a match so far. Gave me real pause for thought.
    Bike Corp Flat Fighter Tyre at aconda stores.
    http://www.anacondastores.com/medias/BP90013444-black.jpg-SPOTWF-zoom?context=bWFzdGVyfGltYWdlc3w2NzczMDV8aW1hZ2UvanBlZ3xpbWFnZXMvaDRkL2g2Zi84OTAyODE5OTcxMTAyLmpwZ3wxYjVhNDMyZDhkOWNkMGU0NjUwZTI2ZjRjZmEyM2I5MTA1MGVhYTM4YmI2YzcwMzkzZGFkN2VmMDk4M2IwYzM1

    • Good thinking about the physiology of a body lying face down, but the shapes on those tires are big enough. Going back to physiology, the things which made those shapes on the body may not have been that shape themselves, because that part of one’s body doesn’t lay flat, with even pressure.

  48. What about a car mat or utility may like in a garage. google
    Furry Diamond Chanel Universal Automotive Carpet Car Floor Mats Leather 5pcs Sets
    Imagine it gets bunched up.

    Or maybe tire tread of a spare.

    Other thought was a quilted purse.

  49. Based on the idea of green plants under her body, I am doubly convinced that Mr. S did not just happen upon Hae within a short amount of time after she was buried. She clearly was not buried the day she went missing or even the day after she went missing. Has anyone reached out to Mr. S recently?

  50. The problem with all these things that have continuous patterns is that these are three distinct marks. She could not have been laying on something with an overall diamond pattern or it would be all over her. It has to be 3 separate, single objects that are alike or I’ve been wondering if it could have been one object and perhaps her body was shifted a couple of times while lividity was setting. Is that possible, Susan? Also to make the distinct impression, the object couldn’t have been rigid. The pattern extends onto the top of the shoulders and a flat, rigid object would have only left an impression below the curve onto the shoulder. Please correct me if I’m wrong. It will narrow down the possibilities. Great work Susan! I know your team will get Adnan out and hopefully also find the real killer!

  51. I’m bothered by lack of animal activity. if she’d been there for 6 weeks, with variable temperatures thruout (as in it’s definitely possible the thicker areas of her body were frozen, but the thinner/smaller areas would likely have thawed a bit) it seems very unlikely to me that there would not be visible bites on the exposed areas of her body. did Dr. Hlavaty have any input on lack of animal activity? yes, she was sheltered and partly buried, but in the winter, animals are particularly hungry and there are many different scavengers attuned to the slightest odor of decomp – vultures, raccoons, crows, weasels, foxes, rats, coyote – all of which I assume are native to Leakin Park. I am an environmental educator and vet tech and work on a nature preserve, I have seen first hand what scavengers do to a body (though not a human, thank God.) the only time I have seen this type of delayed scavenger response to a corpse was a dead coyote who was found under an Osage orange tree during late fall/early winter, and I assume it was because Osage oranges had fallen all around the body and the odor of those (strong orange smell) and the cold temps were obscuring decomp and decomp odor. However, by 6 weeks out, the scavengers had definitely begun to do their work. and this was an animal with fur (I’m thinking about equal to a human wearing clothes, though smaller).

    anyone know if Don perhaps had a cabin, storage locker or boat shed? somewhere a body could have been stored for a couple of weeks?

    this case keeps getting weirder and weirder.

    • I don’t doubt what you are saying about animal scavengers at all Sasha and if this is an your area of expertise you should shout out more about it. (It is something I hadn’t thought about until I read your post) It has always been my opinion that the body was kept in her car which was stored in a garage somewhere for anything up to 26 days before being dumped at night. The only question in my mind is just how many days? In your estimation what would be the maximum time a body (already starting to decompose) could lie partly exposed in Leakin Park before being interfered with by wild animals? My only experience in this area is the guinea pig I buried about a foot down in our backyard the day he died and the neighbour’s dog was onto it in a flash (within hours). With this in mind I’d be tempted to say Hae’s body was dumped on the night of the 8th the day before she was found. Does anyone know if it was raining that night? I think Jay said it was raining the night they buried the body (just looking here for something that Jay has said that might gel with actual evidence)

      • it really depends on temperature conditions, and the variety of wildlife, I would have to do a little more research, but I highly doubt that she was out there the entire 6 weeks. burial does make things happen more slowly (as Dr. Hlvaty stated) however, it does not seem as though she was buried very deeply, and being covered but with parts sticking out would not be sufficient to delay predation, at least in the areas exposed. she was clothed, but again, the animals that are scavengers are particularly attuned to the slightest odors of decomp… vultures in particular. I just find it very difficult to believe that she did not have a single mark of predation having been out there for 6 weeks. most scavengers will not eat something that’s fully decomposing, but from the remarks in the autopsy report (and this is a terrible thing to say) it seems that she would have been at just the right stage for scavengers to begin their jobs. I live in NY, so we’re not all that different from Maryland in terms of native wildlife, and MD winters tend to be milder. the hand under the rock bothers me in particular- again, excuse this terrible thought, but fingers would be a perfect size (and likely to defrost faster) for a fox, a coyote, a weasel, rats, feral cats (of which I’m sure Baltimore has a population) and feral dogs. I’m of the opinion that she was kept somewhere cold, but unexposed to the elements for at least 4 of those 6 weeks, depending on the Temps for those last 2 weeks. in my experience with animal deaths throughout our property I would think that’s the absolute longest a body could be out in winter without animal activity. especially because by late winter (again, dependent on how harsh a winter it was) the animals that do not hibernate and do not migrate are reaching the end of their winter fat stores and are usually actively seeking food.

        I keep think

      • sorry, hit post too soon! I was going to say that I keep thinking of the Body Farm, the place at the University of Tennessee that does experiments in how bodies decompose. I’m sure they would have some insight into the limits of time before animals would start working on a body in conditions like Hae was left in.

        it’s so tragic, this poor girl.

        ok, just found a great link on Google to a study: search “the search for human remains in the search and rescue environment” and you’ll get the PDF. the author states that in months of winter, when insect activity is almost zero, animal predation will begin within 5-7 days.

        • ok, last thing. that article is all around an excellent article in the possible effects of environment on a human body… though I misspoke a bit… predation may occur between 5 and 14 days in uncovered areas of a body by scavengers, particularly dogs. in any event, she should have had some signs of animal predation after 6 weeks. even if frozen, many animals such as foxes will bury caches in snow and eat from their cache. and I don’t know many foxes with microwaves! the only thing freezing would do would be to delay the decomp rate, but according to the autopsy report, she had begun to show signs of decomp such as skin slippage. During the 6 weeks between 1/13 and 2/9, temperatures fluctuated, but there were periods of time where the temp was up into the high 60’s with lows into the 30’s. Mean temps in that period was approx 47 degrees. this suggests to me that predation was very likely if she had been there for the entire time.

          • I had the idea of “six weeks” between Hae’s disappearance and the finding of her body in my head, too. However, actually seeing the dates written out today I realized that 1/13 – 2/9 is actually only 27 days – not even 4 weeks. Still quite a bit longer than the 5 – 14 day window you mentioned, but now I’m questioning why I had six weeks in my mind.

          • ture, silverlock, it wasn’t actually 6 weeks… I noticed that too, too late to change my post. however, I still find it very difficult to believe that no animals got to her even in 27 days. decomposition begins immediately after death, and while slowed down by burying and cold temperatures, the temperatures weren’t really that cold in MD in that time period… pretty much the average temp of a refrigerator. now, if I leave a steak in my fridge (even in a Tupperware) for 27 days, it’s going to be rotten at the end of that time, and if i throw it in the garbage outside in January, I guarantee that the neighborhood feral cat will be in there in a heartbeat, along with his buddy the skunk. it just doesn’t seem likely.

          • Hi Sasha, I pretty much agree with everything you have said and after reading around a bit more am inclined to think the body might not even have been buried until a day or two before it was found! Just long enough beforehand to leak word out to Mr S to go looking around in the place where he went to urinate.

  52. How thick would the double diamond thingy have to be to make the impression seen? Could it be something relatively thin but stiff enough to make a very precise impression? Or is there a depth to the impression?

  53. Thank you again Susan for the excellent and most valuable information you provide.

    Seeing those diamond shaped pressure marks on the shoulders makes me even more convinced of my theory that the body was left in the front passenger seat of the car for the 12 hours needed to achieve fixed lividity in a position in which the buttocks and legs were up on the seat and the head, shoulders, arms and torso were pushed downwards over the edge of the front seat towards the floor with the face and shoulders actually touching the floor.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/serialdiscussion/comments/2xynue/speculation_of_a_possible_position_that_haes_body/

    I think it possible that the pressure marks on the shoulders could be where they touched the floor of the car. If this is the case though, I think there would have been pressure marks on the face too, where it would have touched the floor.

    As for the pressure mark on her abdomen, surely that has to be from a length of cord that was discarded in a zigzag fashion on the front seat after it had been used to garrotte Hae, which I put forward some reasoning as to why I think she was garrotted and not manually strangled:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/serialdiscussion/comments/2xmlre/ligature_strangulation_rather_than_manual/

    If, as I have suggested, there was a cord on the front seat and if Hae’s body was left in the front seat with her abdomen over the area of the front seat where the cord lay as I have also suggested, then this is an almost perfect explanation as to the cause of pressure mark on her abdomen, is it not?

    While I am here I would like to ask you, Susan – would it be possible for you to provide a diagrammatic sketch of a body with all the areas of lividity and all the pressure marks that were found on Hae’s body? We still have very little idea of the extent of lividity on her upper legs, which should have had at least some lividity somewhere.

    • I would like to delete the last 3 paragraphs of my previous reply as I have since re-read Susan’s blog and realise she has given an explanation for the zigzag pressure mark on the abdomen. I was wrong about it being due to a garrotte, apologies folks, I got carried away again.

    • I thought I had read (on splitthemoon, I think) a more explicitly worded description of the extent of the frontal lividity–that indeed the lividity was even and fully frontal all the way down the legs and feet. That she was clearly laid down flat on her stomach, somewhere where there was enough room that the lividity didn’t settle unevenly due to the body being scrunched up.

      This to me always suggested that the car just isn’t a possibility. I could be wrong though.

      • thanks for the reply laced decal, I haven’t seen that description on splitthemoon, mind you, I have been absent for a couple of months so I could easily have missed it wherever it was. I’ll go looking

  54. The stated dimensions of the double diamond are not consistent with the picture. One of them has to be wrong. Susan writes:

    2 1/2″ inches from top to bottom
    1 1/8″ across at widest
    5/8″ across at narrowest

    But the picture is almost three times as high as it is wide. So if it is 1 1/8 inches wide, it has to be over 3 inches high.

  55. The marks on Hae. How many people suggest that it’s the net on a Lecrosse stick. At the right angle it’s a diamond and some are double netted so that center dot could be the knot of the underneath layer.

  56. The the marks on Hae’s body to me look like marks left from some of those fancy metal tiles some people put in a garage. On the floor. This would make sense: the murderer takes her body and puts it face down in his garage while he figures out what to do. Perhaps she is wrapped in a blanket, which would explain why those marks aren’t all over her body. Perhaps the blanket padded most of her body from contact with the tiles. So, in 1999 did Don have a garage where he could have stored both of the body and the car?

  57. Maybe this? It is a pattern/template used by quilters. Called a diamond ruler and would be made out of a hard plastic. (Think plastic ruler.) Comes in a variety of sizes — 1″ and up. Cannot find a double shape online but there is a quilt pattern called double diamond. A clever quilter could easily put two together by matching up small holes and gluing.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fons-and-Porter-Diamond-Ruler-/171750782162?hash=item27fd24f4d2:g:OTEAAOSwBLlVNuz6

  58. I am still sticking with my theory of the position of the body after the murder https://www.reddit.com/r/serialdiscussion/comments/2xynue/speculation_of_a_possible_position_that_haes_body/

    https://www.reddit.com/r/serialdiscussion/comments/32inoh/what_we_can_theorise_about_the_time_of_burial/

    And would like to incorporate the new evidence of the pressure marks within the lividity.

    I am trying to think of a solid item measuring at least about 15 inches long and about 3 inches wide that might have been lying on the floor on Hae’s car in front of the passenger seat. It could have even been the item that I think the murderer hit her on the head with before strangling her. If this item had two ridges that were approx 1 and 1/4 inches apart and triangular in cross section running lengthwise and Hae’s chest was lying across it, the ridges could have pressed into the skin on her chest and caused those compression patterns where he shoulders touched it within the lividity. The item would also have needed to be quite thick through so that it held her chest slightly elevated off the floor as there were no pressure marks from the floor on her chest. Maybe the item was a piece of carpentry timber.

    • I can’t quite visualise such an item from your description. I mean, I can, but it mustn’t be right, because I’m seeing a long, bar shape with two raised edges running lengthwise. If that was the case the livor mortis pattern would be in lines (from the top of the ridges). Do you have a pic, or diagram, of the concept you’re talking about?

      Also, WRT the overall pattern, if she’d been sat on the passenger seat, bwnt double at the waist, she’d have some posterior staining (mostly in the buttocks and thighs). There would also, most likely, be voids where her chest was pressed against her knees.

      If her head was pointing downward then the lividity wouldnt be anterior, blood pools at the lowest point, and if her arms were hanging down into the foot well, then the blood would have settled in a glove patter and, last but not least, if her shoulders and back were wedged under the dashboard, there would be pressure marks on her upper back. That is contrary to this statement:

      “She had, again, full anterior lividity, according to the medical examiner at the time, according to the autopsy report, according to trial testimony, and according to every expert we have since asked to review the photographs and reports. The lividity ran from her face, down her torso, and to her legs. It was symmetrical.

      The car would have had fluid in the relevant foot well.

      • Thanks for taking my post seriously Squatch. Sorry I don’t have a pic and i agree it is very difficult to talk about this when we only have verbal descriptions of what was observed as well as trying to describe what we visuals in words.

        As far as my imagined item, what you say about the pattern you would expect (the livor mortis pattern would be in lines) yes, that would be the case if the body was touching the item all the way along its length. But from what I understand of freshly dead bodies is that they are very compressible and I envisage that her shoulders could have been squashed forwards leaving the centre of her chest bending in backwards. If this was the case then only those three small patches of skin at her outer shoulders would have been touching the item while the central chest area itself would not.

        As far as there being no lividity in the arms I do not think her arms were dangling over the edge of the seat, I think that only her head and shoulders were down below the level of the seat. Also I am not saying her back was wedged or . touching the dashboard, the only reason the body was ‘stuck’ there was because it became rigid and unbendable while in rigor and therefore could not be removed until the rigor passed.

        I’m not sure where that quote you cited came from but I suspect it was from Rabia and that was just her take on reports from people who saw either the body or the photographs and it was stated in the context of the argument where people are claiming that the lying on her side position that Hae’s body had been found buried in was consistent with the lividity. Rabin was basically arguing that there was no sideways lividity, only frontal lividity, which of course is totally correct.

        A clearer report regarding the lividity is from the coroner who said the “livor mortis was prominently seen on the anterior-upper chest and face”. That suggests to me that any livor mortis observed on the abdomen or thighs was less prominent, which one would certainly not expect if she was lain fully stretched out face down on a level surface or even a slightly sloping surface. To get prominent livor mortis, i.e. more prominent than on abdomen or thighs there has to be a considerable height difference between the level of the head/shoulders and the abdomen/thighs. The abdomen and thighs hold a very high volume of blood, much higher than the volume of blood in the shoulders and much much higher than in the head. So if a body is laid out flat the abdomen and thighs would have livor mortis at least equal to the shoulder area and far greater than the face area. This was not the case with Hae’s body.

        I might be wrong about what caused the pattern in the shoulder lividity but I feel sure that her head and shoulders were at a much lower level than her abdomen and thighs during the time the lividity was forming (for up to 12 hours immediately after death) To me the most logical place to assume where this took place was in the front passenger seat of the car. So that leaves me to theorise – what was on the floor in front of the passenger seat of the car?

        Your last comment was that there would have been fluid in the relevant footwell If the body was left in the position I have suggested. I disagree. I don’t think decomposition fluids begin leaking from a dead body for maybe up to a week if the body is kept reasonably cold. As long as the body was removed from the car within that time there would have been no fluid. Even so, as I understand it, the car had been thoroughly cleaned hadn’t it?

        • Just got time for a quick response WRT fluid – obviously I don’t mean any liquefaction due to decomposition. I was referring to the alleged oedematous fluid found on the white(?) T-shirt.

          If something was causing blood-tinged sputum to be produced in Hae’s respiratory tract prior to death, and (per your theory) she’s in a position where she is folded in such a manner that her upper body is above the head, it’s going to continue to drain postmortem.

          Also, WRT to livor, the positioning needed to cause anterior lividity prominent in the head/chest/abdomen/thighs could be caused due to a fairly slight gradient. I’ve witnessed a similar pattern in someone who’d collapsed, then died, on the path in their garden. It was banked at no more than 15°, with the head pointed downward. The demarcation between livid/non-livid tissue, when the body was lying flat for examination, reflected the incline.

          Ultimately though, in this case, Hae could not have been buried in Leakin Park at 19:00-20:00 and placed on her side in the tree hollow. If she has been, then the livor would reflect that. I actually believe that the park may have been a secondary bur{ial site, due to the complete lack of evidence of predation.

          Wooded parkland hosts many kinds of creatures, and winter is difficult for carnivorous (and herbivorous) animals. If you’re a fox, for example, and someone plonks a giant (and only partially covered) “meal” on your doorstep, you’re going to go for it ASAP, before the whole forest descends onto the fresh meal. A complete lack of any evidence of predation by wildlife is a huge indication that something else is being concealed.

          • Hi again Squelch, found this in Ev Prof’s blog of April 2
            “experts I consulted told me the following:

            1. They had never seen a pulmonary edema resulting from strangulation, and such a result was exceedingly unlikely.
            2. Even in cases of pulmonary edema, sputum coming out of the nose and mouth is pretty rare.
            3. Even if strangulation somehow caused a pulmonary edema and sputum, the sputum would not come out of the victim’s nose and/or mouth until hours later.”

            So whatever that blood on the T shirt was it seems it is unlikely it came from Hae’s mouth or nose and therefore none would be expected on the floor of the car.

            About your experience of witnessing a similar pattern in someone who’d collapsed, then died, on the path in a garden that was banked at no more than 15°, just how much of a difference in the intensity of the lividity between the upper and lower body? Was it kind of a gradual change or sudden as seems to have been the case with Hae’s body? I keep coming back to the coroner’s statement, “Lividity was present and fixed on the anterior surface of the body, except in areas exposed to pressure” and then “livor mortis was prominently seen on the anterior-upper chest and face” without mentioning any other areas of the body. We do know however from Susan’s latest information that there was slight lividity on the abdomen, with the panty hose impression, but apparently there was none on any of the limbs. (REF: Susan Simpson in a reply to a query of mine said “The photos don’t show below the knees, but they show the rest of the extremities. None of the MEs/other docs that have seen the photos have mentioned any lividity on the limbs”)

            Yes I agree with you about hungry animal activity and what should have been observed had she been buried 4 weeks before discovery. Actually, I see no reason to think she was buried any earlier than the night before Mr S “accidentally” discovered her body.

  59. The crime scene is very difficult to visualize based on verbal descriptions, and posting actual crime scene photos would be incredibly disrespectful. The models constructed here must have taken a lot of effort to create and photograph, but it really helps cement understanding of the scene.

    Such a great post — thanks!

  60. I’m almost positive I know the answer to this question, know the caliber with which the investigation was carried out. It seems to me that the rock placed on Hae’s hand would provide fingerprints, and possibly some other evidence that would help lead to the identity of the killer. Susan-do you happen to know what happened with the rock & possibly other foliage found near her body? Was it just thrown into the woods and ignored?

  61. Do we know what type of car Don drove at the time of the murder?

    The diamonds look slightly like the aluminum lining of pick up trucks.

  62. We know that the Police timeline was wrong. What if Adnan killed Hae in the car around 3:00, and dragged her body and put it in the trunk – folded up basically the way the body was found. I know she had a necklace on when found, but have no idea of what it looked like – it could have caused the diamond shaped pattern on her shoulders, or her backpack, which was found in the trunk, could have caused it. The mark on her abdomen, I believe, was caused by her pantyhose bunching up. I think Adnan and Jay just drove around Leakin Park around 7 after leaving (Cathy’s) house, looking for a spot to bury Hae, validating those cell tower pings. Adnan then dropped Jay off at Jay’s house, and went to attend prayers at the Mosque. After this was over, around 10:30, Adnan then went and picked up Jay and the shovels and Hae’s car, and went back to Leakin Park to bury Hae. This would explain the lividity and the rigor in the body. Body was in the trunk for that long – about 8 hours. They ditched the car and drove to the mall to dump the shovels, and Adnan drove Jay home. Jay calls Jenn who picks him up, takes him back to the mall to wipe the shovels and get rid of Jay’s clothes and then they go to see Stephanie for her birthday, who says that Jay and Jenn showed up after 11. This meshes with the timeline for Adnan being at the Mosque, the cell tower pings in the Leakin Park area around 7, Stephanie’s interview, Jenn’s interview, and Jay’s second interview for late in the evening on the day of the murder.

    • Are you serious? Did you read the article, or the comments, or anything?

      Maybe your giant promotional ‘Adnan did it’ blinkers are obscuring your vision, or you fell into a coma the day Serial ended and haven’t read or listened to anything related to it, so let’s do this.

      . What if Adnan killed Hae in the car around 3:00, and dragged her body and put it in the trunk

      So her murders her in a mall car park in broad daylight, then singlehandedly carries her from the front of the car to the back, opens the boot/trunk, and puts her body in there at 15:00 and, again, in broad daylight?

      folded up basically the way the body was found

      No. She had fixed anterior lividity. It doesn’t matter what kind of mental gymnastics you perform, she had to have been left somewhere, prone, for many hours in order to produce fixed livor mortis.

      I know she had a necklace on when found, but have no idea of what it looked like – it could have caused the diamond shaped pattern on her shoulders, or her backpack, which was found in the trunk, could have caused it.

      Don’t you think that items in her possession have already been ruled out?

      The mark on her abdomen, I believe, was caused by her pantyhose bunching up.

      Umm, well done? Susan mentioned that in this post.

      I think Adnan and Jay just drove around Leakin Park around 7 after leaving (Cathy’s) house,

      They weren’t at her house that night.

      looking for a spot to bury Hae, validating those cell tower pings.

      Those pings can never be validated, because incoming calls cannot be used to determine location. Also, the ATT RF Engineer Abe Waranowitz, who gave evidence at the trial, has stated that his testimony was entirely invalid.. Other RF experts have debunked the idea that movement in such a small local area can be tracked by tower pings.

      Adnan then dropped Jay off at Jay’s house, and went to attend prayers at the Mosque. After this was over, around 10:30, Adnan then went and picked up Jay and the shovels and Hae’s car, and went back to Leakin Park to bury Hae.

      She wasn’t buried in a dug out grave though. So no shovels were needed. No picks were needed either. The implements vary according to which of Jay’s 9 statements you believe.

      This would explain the lividity

      Fixed. Anterior. Lividity. Ahe was lying face down, not “pretzelled up”. Her Sentra was not big enough to allow for that

      and the rigor in the body.

      What rigor? There was no rigor mortis when she was found, as rigor disappears within hours, not weeks.

      As for the rest of it… Which of Stephanie’s statements? Which of Jenn’s? Which of Jay’s? Jay and Jenn very likely knew bugger all, and were caught up in Charm City’s corrupt policing culture.

      Urick said the pings alone didn’t prove Adnan was guilty, and neither did Jay’s testimony, but together they proves the case
      However, the pings should never have been introduced as evidence because they’re junk science, and Jay’s testimony has more holes in it than a tea strainer.

      So now what? Where’s the evidence? No DNA, no sightings of Hae and Adnan together, no blood evidence, no fingerprints, no hairs or fibres. We know that evidence that could have been vital was “lost”, destroyed, or not tested. Chain of custody was broken on key items, specimens were tampered with, certain items were never catalogued, others were manufactured.

      Witnesses for Adnan were intimidated, threatened and lied to, ordinary civilians were tasked as moles within the school (so atrociously unethical) exculpatory evidence was withheld, Urick flat out lied in court, Wash deliberately spread incorrect and bigoted “information” about Adnan, and Muslims in general

      They didn’t interview someone who should have been a prime suspect, and allowed his mother and stepmother to provide “evidence” of his “alibi”. An alibi he created before anyone realised Hae was missing. Psychic maybe?

      So there’s no physical evidence, to unimpeachable prosecution witnesses, and the State told so many lies in 1999 that it fooled itself in 2015. But Adnan’s the liar, he’s the devious one, he’s the one in the wrong? Really now?

        • Bravo Squatch, you wrote everything that I was thinking as I was reading what Ralfi wrote. it continues to boggle the mind how people are willing to make every possible effort to make the “evidence” fit that Adnan is actually guilty. it kind of gives one a peek at what the conference room at the prosecutors office must have been like when they were trying Adnan, working around every avenue and leaving out whatever didn’t fit.

          • Squatch,
            I will try to explain my reasoning:

            “So her murders her in a mall car park in broad daylight, then singlehandedly carries her from the front of the car to the back, opens the boot/trunk, and puts her body in there at 15:00 and, again, in broad daylight?”

            Didn’t Hae and Adnan have sex in the parking lot at Best Buy at some point in their relationship? Wasn’t that brought up? Didn’t Adnan and a friend also go to that lot to smoke weed? Then I think it would be reasonable to think that there is a spot in that lot where it is relatively secluded. And at 3:00, I am sure that is not the busiest time for any retail business where the lot would be full of potential witnesses. I do, however, think it is possible that Adnan did not put the body in the trunk at all, but left it in the interior of the car until he moved it later with Jay’s help.

            “No. She had fixed anterior lividity. It doesn’t matter what kind of mental gymnastics you perform, she had to have been left somewhere, prone, for many hours in order to produce fixed livor mortis.”

            Yes, I agree that she had fixed anterior lividity, but according to the coroner’s report, ‘Lividity was present and fixed on the anterior surface of the body except in areas exposed to pressure.’ It does not say that it was equal on all anterior parts of the body – as a matter of fact it also states, ‘Livor mortis was preminently seen on the anterior upper chest and face.’ So why do you think her body was totally lying flat?

            “Don’t you think that items in her possession have already been ruled out?”

            Nothing in the trunk was photographed as far as I know, so my answer is “No.”
            Besides, I do agree that the police work was shoddy, at best.

            “They weren’t at her (Cathy’s) house that night.”

            You are right. I forgot that she was mistaken about the date.

            “Those pings can never be validated, because incoming calls cannot be used to determine location.”

            You are right in that AT&T said that incoming calls were not reliable. It does not mean that they are definitely wrong, however.

            “She wasn’t buried in a dug out grave though. So no shovels were needed. No picks were needed either. The implements vary according to which of Jay’s 9 statements you believe.”

            They had no idea that they couldn’t use the shovels or pick. But if their intention is to bury a body, they got the tools they though they would need. I assume the ground was just to hard to dig into, though they may have tried and given up. Her body was covered with some dirt and leaves, so they may have used to shovels to do that.

            “There was no rigor mortis when she was found, as rigor disappears within hours, not weeks.”

            I don’t understand what you are referring to. The autopsy said that the “rigor was broken” and I took this to mean that she had rigor mortis, but that it was broken when the body was moved, i.e. the body was stiff when found, but due to the decomposition, it was easy to “break” it out of this position. You will have to explain to me how rigor disappears with hours, because that is not my understanding of how rigor mortis works.

            “Which of Stephanie’s statements? Which of Jenn’s? Which of Jay’s?”

            Specifically, Stephanie said that Jenn and Jay showed up at her house after 11 that night, in her interview, Jenn’s interview and Jay’s second interview for what he said about late in the evening on the day of the murder.

            I know that Jay was coached by the police to change his story to fit the timeline the police had in their minds as to what happened, but I do think the essence of his story is valid. If Adnan wanted to prove to the world that he was innocent of this crime, all he had to do was to testify on his own behalf at trial. The fact that he was trying to get his conviction overturned because his attorney did not offer him a plea deal, again, just points to his guilt. I have a hard time ignoring those two facts. As for the rest of it – all the pieces of evidence are just parts of a puzzle, that everyone has their own theory as to how to put it together.

          • So you are saying Adnan seems guilty, because he didn’t testify on his own behalf? You are talking about a 17 year old child… Yes child, because most psychiatrists will tell you, that a young male’s brain isn’t fully developed until age 25. And don’t forget Adnan was being advised not to testify by CG I’m sure. Also Adnan’s parents being from Pakistan , they might not have understood the laws in the USA, so they also put their trust in the woman, that they were paying to defend their son and she came highly recommended!
            I’m not sure if you listen to Truth and Justice podcast ( in addition to Undisclosed) but I highly recommend that you do.
            Mahalo and Aloha

          • You can’t cherry pick which of Jay/Jenn/Stephanie’s statements to use. My “Which [statement]?” was purely rhetorical, because all three “witnesses” not only made contradictory statements WET each other, they also contradicted themselves.

            There are at least eight wildly disparate statements from Jay alone. Stephanie gave a statement, then she completely changed it after speaking with Jay, and as for Jenn Pusateri… Ever listened to her “evidence”? She’s incoherent, has thoroughly inappropriate affect, and actually invents certain events out of whole cloth.

            WRT rigor, unless Hae died within 48 hours before she was found, there was no rigor mortis. That particular ME had been taken to taak in prior cases, because she was apparently prone to making grave errors.

            The onset of rigor mortis occurs (usually)within 2-3 hours post mortem. The lack of oxygen disrupts the enzymes involved in muscle function, and the muscles go into spasm. The muscle fibres contract, and the body becomes rigid, although rigor can be broken locally by manipulating areas of the body.

            Once decomposition begins, the enzymes and transmitters, that caused the muscles to contract, break down, and the body becomes flaccid again. You can see this happen in morgues, when corpses move as their muscles relax. You can give a rough estimation of time of death judging by the presence or absence of rigor, but it’s a pretty crude method as there are many variables which affect it.

            It fades away in reverse order of the onset, and usually within 24 hours it’s typically fully dissipated. Extreme cold can prolong this to a couple of days, but no longer. There is no way, based on the state of decomposition, that rigor mortis was present in Hae’s body 28 days post mortem. Think about it, if rigor lasted that long, every cut of meat you bought would be rigid. Her body had been in the freezing ground of a wooded park so any stiffness was down to freezing, nor rigor mortis

          • Squatch again, another excellent, well stated anylasis. Everything you have been explaining / debating with Raffi…. Is all there if he/she would just read and listen more. Well Done 😊

            Mahalo and Aloha

          • Thanks!

            Oh, and a correction of my above comment, that “WET” should be “QRT”, but autocorrect is being cantankerous!

      • Ralfi,

        How would his testimony have convinced the world of his innocence? We know his story and yet doubts linger.

        A murder conviction should be based on evidence not suspicions based on preconceptions about What an innocent person would do. It has already been demonstrated here or elsewhere that it is not uncommon for lawyers to keep innocent clients off the stand, particularly when they have nothing useful to add to the defence. Adnan’s foggy story would have been useless.

        You seem to be fair minded. I would encourage you to abandon conceptions one way or the other and look at the evidence with fresh eyes. See what you think after that.

  63. AlohaMade,
    I know Adnan was only 17, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t/shouldn’t have testified on his own behalf. And he could have asked to testify even if it was against his attorney’s advice. The argument that the brain isn’t fully developed until 25 can also be used to explain why a 17 year old thought it was okay to murder someone.
    I am sure he was advised not to testify by his attorney, but did you ever ask yourself, why his attorney wouldn’t let the jury hear his side of the story? Being charged with murder is pretty serious – what could he have said that might have made his case worse?

    Lurker,
    The fact he didn’t defend himself in his own words to the jury makes a big difference in the perception of guilt or innocence, in spite of everything. But as you said, Adnan has stated that his memory of that day is foggy. If I had been accused of murder, believe me, I would have done everything to piece together that day in my mind so that it was clear. If he had been on the stand, the jury would have heard about Asia, and Asia would have been there to back him up. He could have said he was at track practice right after school and his track buddies and coach would have been there to back him up. But that didn’t happen. As far as I could tell, his track friends and coach couldn’t be certain at the time that he was there. And did you consider the fact that Asia was the one who said Adnan was at the library first? Adnan didn’t say he was there until Asia told him he was there that day.
    I truly am trying to be fair-minded. I admit I haven’t heard all the various podcasts or read all the blogs, and what I have heard and read have opinions that are all over the map, with side notes that have nothing to do with this particular case but rather points of law. My mind is still open as to what really occurred on Jan. 13, 1999, and I do appreciate others interpretation of the evidence to help me understand what happened that day.

    • Aloha Ralfi,

      Mahalo for your response and opinions.
      So far with everything that I have read and mostly what Susan, Rabia, Colin and Bob have come up with… Adnan had a pretty normal day. This could explain why Sarah ( from serial) made it a point to say, that Adnan’s day was foggy, due to the fact that nothing out of the ordinary happened to make that day different from any other day. This could be why a person, not just Adnan, would have trouble remembering what happened that day…. Because it was just a normal day and normal days blend together. This would also explain why dates and times can get confused.
      Adnan has Alibis… Jay has about 8 versions of his day and then there’s Don… Who didn’t return MDPD’s call until 1:30 am ( about 7 hours from the time his father (?) told him that they wanted to speak to him) and by the time Don was interviewed he and his Mother and already created false employment records for 1/13/99, prior to his interview with MDPD.

      I still recommend that you listen to all of the Undisclosed episodes and read the documents on that site. Also listen to Truth and Justice on Audioboom podcast with Bob Ruff. He has interviewed Friends of Hae, Adnan and Jay. More importantly he interviews a lot of forensic and police specialist.

      Mahalo Nui Loa
      Have a great day!

    • Ralfi – I think that if I were guilty of murder, I would be more likely to have my story straightened away and rehearsed before the cops showed up. I would have my alibi signed, sealed and delivered. The fact that he was foggy about events suggests that he had no reason to think repeatedly about what he did on that day (ie: suggests he did not expect to be questioned and had no sense of fear or guilt) and that he did not feel a need to make up an alibi. Rather than pointing at his guilt, the fogginess that Adnan displays just as easily point at his innocence.

      This is why the law is supposed to work objectively, by weighing facts. Not everyone responds the same way in a given situation and so drawing conclusions about guilt based on someone’s reaction is like saying that they must be guilty because they do not think like you do. Or like you think you would in a situation you have never been in.

      If you sincerely want to know whether Adnan is guilty or innocent, review the posts presented by Susan, as well as some of the primary documents online and attempt a rebuttal. Many of the questions you are asking were already addressed in both the podcast and in the blogs by Susan and others.

  64. Squatch,
    So many people’s testimony has changed during this whole investigation, it boggles the mind. Let us not forget Debbie said that Adnan was in the guidance counselor’s office after school, when Adnan himself said that he went there before Psych. class and that was why he was late, not after school. What about Inez who said Hae bought a drink and hot fries after school, but there was no evidence of fries in her car nor had she eaten any fries at autopsy. What about Adnan, himself, who first told the police that he had asked Hae for a ride after school but that he was detained and didn’t go with her, and then stated that he never asked her for a ride that day? Summer said that Hae told her she would be back to catch the bus to score a wrestling match on that day, but there was not wrestling match that day. How about those who said Hae was filming that day around 10:30, oops, it was a different day. Don was working that day – oh, maybe not, it looks like his stepmother may have falsified his timecard.
    Thank you for the information about rigor. That part makes better sense to me, so thank you for explaining it further. (Love the “grave error” comment, too) Question – so if a body was put in a certain position right after death, and left there and not moved, rigor mortis would set in 2-3 hours later and the body would be “fixed” in that position until about 8 hours after death, when decomposition would start and the process would begin to reverse and the body become flaccid at about 24 hours, correct? So if you bury the body after rigor has set in, say 8 hours after death, then you would have to bury it in that “fixed” position, right? Just checking.
    And again, thanks for rigor information.

  65. So, I have tried lying down on my front to consider the possibilities and ramifications of this evidence. The following things come to mind:

    1) If the lividity on the face was even then she was laying with her face down, not turned to either side. In that case, there should be a pressure mark on her chin, and one on her nose. If there is not, then her face wasn’t pressing against anything, but if she was lying face down, with her face not turned to either side (which would have created lividity on one side of the face and not the other) then her head was hanging. So, laying face down, head hanging and not pressing on anything. I suppose perhaps if the face was on something VERY soft the pressure might be spread enough to not leave a mark on the chin and nose, but it is hard to imagine. Try laying down with your face down, it’s apparent what happens.

    2) That her face wasn’t pressing on anything makes sense, because if you lay face down with your face against something your shoulders and collarbones are elevated slightly, and therefore you wouldn’t get pressure marks on the shoulders unless something large was present there…something large enough to take the pressure off of your face.

    3) Susan made this point in her post, and I think a few other people have made it as well, but I think it bears repeating. The shapes of the pressure marks do not necessarily conform tot he shapes of the objects which made them, because our bodies are not smooth but boney and muscly. In fact, that part of the body is particularly irregular, and it is, in fact, hard to imagine a way for an object of that shape to result in precisely that shape of pressure mark on that part of the body.

    4) This one I am less sure of, because I am an engineer and not a forensic pathologist, but if there were no other pressure marks it seems likely that the body was laying on something padded, carpeted or otherwise soft, because laying on a hard surface could result in pressure marks where bonier parts of the body contact the surface; i.e. knees, tops of feet, hips and ribcage, depending on how slender the person is, and of course the face.

    For the person above suggesting she could have been curled up with her knees beneath her and head down in the trunk, and anyone who still thinks that the lividity could occur in the position she was found, you’re not thinking about this from a physics/biology standpoint. Go lie down in that position and feel what parts of you touch the ground, where your blood would pool, and you will see it isn’t possible for this lividity pattern to occur from the position in which she was found or with her knees tucked up beneath her.

    So, to sum up, from this information it seems that the body was left laying on its front, with the head hanging off the edge of whatever the body was on, legs outstretched, and three objects pressing against the shoulders. The surface was possibly soft. The body stayed in this position for 8 to 12 hours at least, but it could have been longer. At some point after 8 hours the body was moved to Lincoln Park, probably before rigour mortis had dissipated based on the need to hold the hand down and therefore within a day or two of her death, and hastily and somewhat poorly concealed.

    Surely a huge part of determining who killed her is figuring out where the body was kept before ‘burial’. How many high school students, or for that matter just-out-of-high-school people without decent money coming in to rent their own place, could have kept a body for 8 to 12 hours without it being discovered? Where could that have happened?

    • Exactly! That people are so invested in “Adnan murdered Hae in a jealous rage,” that they’re willing to ignore the laws of physics and biology, is just bizarre. They’re pretzelling themselves in knots trying to find any way to make the State’s ludicrous case fit.

      I’d thought about her facial lividity too, and my first thought was of her body lying on a bed (or just a mattress) with her head over the edge. It’s pretty easy to recreate, and once rigor kicked in then the stiffness would’ve held her in that position

      Vicky Wash (sp?) and the police seemed very interested in hotels, so much so that Bilal was questioned about them in his grand jury testimony.

      • Yeah, the hear hanging off the edge of a bed was the first thing I thought of, as well. It made me very sad, to imagine it. This whole case makes me very sad. I really hope that the truth comes out. If that truth is that Adnan killed Hae then fine, but it certainly didn’t happen the way the state claimed it did and I can’t come up with a logical narrative for him committing this murder. Which means that a likely innocent person has spent his entire adult life in prison and a guilty person is likely enjoying his freedom.

    • Hi ziptag,
      Fantastic that someone has finally stated that “The shapes of the pressure marks do not necessarily conform tot he shapes of the objects which made them”. (Sorry but I haven’t read where Susan said that already). Yes I am getting very bored with all the diamond shaped objects people keep suggesting as being the possible culprit. As you correctly say “that part of the body is particularly irregular” so it is obvious that body shape plays into the development of the lividity pressure marks as well as the object shape. I hope people will wake up to this fact soon. The shoulders are bony and could have been squashed forwards so that only the most forward areas of them were pressing on the object, In an earlier reply to squatch I theorised a length of ridged carpentry wood, possible used to hit Hae on the head to stun her prior to the strangulation was located on the floor of the car where I theorised her shoulders had been pushed down.

      Another point you have mentioned about likely pressure marks on the face – I agree with you that unless the face was somehow dangling free, that pressure marks in that area would be expected. I have not read any mention of such pressure marks so far and I am inclined to to view (at the moment) that this is out of respect for Hae and not because there were not any. I could be wrong about this though, and I would like to know whether or not I am as it is quite an important issue, since the presence or absence of pressure marks on her face would go a long way towards explaining exactly how her body was placed in the first 24 hours after death

      Your last point about determining who killed her is figuring out where the body was kept before ‘burial’. For what it’s worth I happen think it is possible there was a just-out-of-high-school person with decent money coming in and renting his own place with a garage, that kept the body for up to 4 weeks

    • I imagine that there are a lot of us hanging around with our heads over the edge of the bed or other surfaces this week, including me, and this is what I noticed:

      1) For only my shoulders to be touching the bed, my neck and head had to be unsupported which meant that my head dropped down. The pooling of blood would therefore be toward the top-front of the head and less in the face.

      2) When I tried to adjust my position such that the face would be straight out over the edge, the bed rested against my throat and cut off my air. Presumably we would have seen marks on her throat if this were the case, but maybe they were obstructed by the bruising around her throat.

  66. Pingback: 5 Things To Keep In Mind About The Adnan Syed Case. | global barbarian

  67. Hi,

    I am just getting caught up on this case. I want to congratulate you on the great analysis. As to the impression marks you noted. I have seen this pattern before in two places with approximately the measurements you note. One was my grandmother’s bathroom (long ago). Her tile trim looked exactly like that polydedron (double diamond) with a raised bump the middle of the pattern with an about 2 inch repeat. What is interesting is she got it from a hotel that was being torn down. The next place I have seen it was in double straps made for heavy load carry. The straps I currently have (about 10 years old) are double straps that sit about 2 inches apart. The clasps would leave a pattern such as this.

  68. Another observation. Carrying a dead body is extremely difficult even for a strong young man either in rigor or after. According to evidence Hae wasn’t a tiny woman. There is no mention at least yet of any forensics that would indicate dragging. With so few fibers documented, the data appears to point at either two parties (the carry method) or the use of a tarp. Perhaps nylon given the blue fiber found. However, given the reported state of her clothing, did anyone bother to analyze her clothing for hair and fiber? If not, is that clothing still available?

      • NavyMom I think you might mean the hair that did not come from Hae, Adnan or Jay. Beyond establishing this fact the police never tried to find who the hair DID belong to, the next thing that should have done in a properly conducted investigation, one would have thought. I don’t think one needs to be a detective to realise this. But the police didn’t bother to do this. It is difficult to conclude anything other than that they were either incompetent or corrupt

        • At some point, WE have to take responsibility for the failings in our justice system. First: We don’t pay enough attention. Adnan is NOT the only inmate with a claim to a wrongful conviction. Second: We put unreasonable pressure on investigators to solve a case quickly. Third: We vote for politicians based on their being “tough” on crime. When we do all the above, we play a part in cases like Adnan’s. WE have to take some responsibility in all this and take responsibility in changing the system.

  69. Was stomach content ever looked at? If Hae ate the hot fries right after school maybe that could be telling even if the empty bag was never found. Also, were toxology tests ever performed?

    • OK. I just watched the Docket special on this, and I see that there were minimal toxicology tests made–but no mention of stomach content.

      From the Docket special I watched “The Science of Serial, Part 2” it sounds very possible that someone could have jumped into Hae’s vehicle, forced her to drive somewhere, then knocked her out when they arrived.

      Given the rigor evidence, it’s hard to imagine she wasn’t kept someplace indoors. Maybe she was kept alive for a while, maybe days, captive in someone’s home. Why wasn’t there more evidence of decomp?

      It’s hard to know who did this based on what little hard evidence exists, but my bet would be on a crime of opportunity. Someone who lay in wait–either specifically for Hae (someone who knew her schedule) or it was a wrong place, wrong time type of murder.

      The only thing I feel pretty certain of is that Adnan had nothing to do with this. Adnan knew that Hae was expected at her cousin’s school by 3:15. Why would he risk killing her just before that time when no secret had been made of his getting a ride with her.

      He could easily have lured her someplace else at a better time. There is no indication that she was either avoiding him or feared him.

  70. Given how much of the testimony at trial seems to be unreliable given police influence, maybe the only way to accurately revisit this case is to begin at the bare bones of it—with what was known about Hae rather than what we know about Adnan.

    Hae was reliable and punctual. Her family was immediately freaked when she failed to p/u her cousin at 3:15pm. She usually left school at 3 to do so.

    I think there’s a good chance she followed habit that day o Jan. 13. Left school at 3 and then was abducted, by someone who had been observing her habits from afar and moved in to act on that day OR it was freak event—car jacking that sort of thing. Other than questionable police driven interviews there is nothing to indicate that Hae did anything out of the ordinary that day.

    • Hae was a young pretty girl. There could have been a lurker in her life. I remember High School and I remember there were older men, janitors, those who worked odd jobs near school that stayed back, but occasionally made their presence known.

      Being young and pretty, alone in a car can make you a target.

  71. Susan, what kind of jacket did Hae have on when she was found in Leakin Park? Given the distinct pattern made on Hae’s right shoulder, one with “unambiguous and distinct borders,” do you think it likely that she had her jacket on when the patterns were created? Do you think she was wearing her jacket when she was killed?

  72. Please forgive my ramblings everyone. I just concluded listening twice to both SERIAL and Undisclosed. And then, junky that I have become, I discovered THE DOCKET and the Rabia Chaudry speaking engagements at various institutions of higher learning.

    My brain runneth over. I need to purge just a little. Sorry. Some of this may be completely useless, but I haven’t seen it addressed, so I’ll plow forward.

    (By the way, Susan, this blog really helps fill in some of the gaps and your investigation on it’s own is brilliant. Excellent work.)

    My belief at this point: Adnan, at the very least, deserves a new trial. I hope he is exonerated. Though I understand the Alford plea may be what he has to do to get out of jail, I’m praying that he will be found innocent, both for his sake and for the sake of Hae Min Lee’s family.

    Whoever killed this young girl does need to be held accountable and I fear that may not happen if the case remains closed. And, as you probably guessed, I don’t think Adnan had anything to do with the murder of his ex. I have a feeling Jay may be more of a victim in all this than he appears to be at first blush, as well. I believe he may be a young man who was simply given a very tough choice: him or me…

    I actually have to wonder if anyone who knew Hae at all well could have been involved. All those close to Hae appeared to know that at 3:15, every school day, she picked up her cousin. Why would you kill someone knowing that within moments of killing them their absence would be instantly noted? And it was immediately known by her parents that something was terribly wrong. If I’m remembering correctly, they phone the police by that afternoon.

    So that someone who knew Hae killed her, defies logic. And it also pretty much excludes Don as well.

    My sense is that the answers to who-did-this, lie in the route Hae took that day from school and at the burial location itself. Though the site appears haphazard there was a lot of stuff there—bullet casings, the empty of a moderately priced cognac, condom. If those items aren’t directly related to the crime itself, perhaps they are indicative of who frequented that spot. Did Mr. S really just happen on it, or did he know ahead of time that this would be a good spot for whatever he was actually going to do there? Could there have been a gang-related component to this? An initiation of sorts? Or is this a spot known for both it’s privacy and ease of access?

    Would you really just happen on it?

    • Kat – you make good points, but if the murder was unplanned and done in a fit of anger it is quite possible that she was killed by someone she knows. Or even someone she was acquainted with but who did not know about her family obligations. So, the timing of her death does not necessarily point to a stranger.

      • Lurker,
        Hae picked up her cousin every day at the same time. She was known to leave school at around 3pm to do so. How, under those circumstances, could someone who knew her, not know that she had this obligation?

        What possible “fit of anger” could have occurred in such a short period of time to where someone who knew Hae well, could gain access to her (she’s in a car at this point) and then kill her, knowing full well that if they were seen with her, they would be immediately suspect?

        Whereas someone who was looking for a victim, and happened on her, either somewhere she stopped (for gas or to deposit a check) would only know that she looked like an easy victim. They’d have no idea when she would be missed.

        I just don’t see this crime being committed by someone who knew Hae well. Makes no sense.

        • Kat – a fit of anger makes as much sense as a stranger abducting her in mid-day and killing her in her own car within 30 minutes of her departure from school for no reason. There were no signs of robbery, no signs of forced entry in her car, no sign of rape and no signs of a struggle.

          In the end neither scenario is perfect and I can’t say I know which one it is myself. But I don’t think the evidence excludes people around her.

          • Lurker,

            You wrote:

            (“Kat – a fit of anger makes as much sense as a stranger abducting her in mid-day and killing her in her own car within 30 minutes of her departure from school for no reason. There were no signs of robbery, no signs of forced entry in her car, no sign of rape and no signs of a struggle.

            In the end neither scenario is perfect and I can’t say I know which one it is myself. But I don’t think the evidence excludes people around her.”)

            HAVE you listened to UNDISCLOSED # 5 and the addendum to it?

            We don’t know if Hae was raped. The tests that were performed in 1999 were inconclusive–per UNDISCLOSED #5.

            I don’t understand why people keep saying that Hae wasn’t robbed. Yes, she was. The only items of value on her that day were taken: The Nissan, her pager, and her wallet. (I doubt her jewelry was worth all that much)

            NISSAN: As far as I can tell no one investigating the murder checked the mileage on Hae’s Nissan. They also didn’t check to see how much gas had been used. Or what the usual gas usage was. It’a possible that the Nissan was stolen and used in some way before being parked. And it’s also possible that in the attempt to extricate Hae from the vehicle the turn signal was broken rendering the car useless. So this may have been a failed car-jacking.

            PAGER: I owned a pager in the ’90s. They are easily transferred to a new account. It’s not like cell phones where you have to unlock them. For all we know someone did put that pager into their own account. The question is, did investigators even check to see if this might have occurred? I doubt it, given that this information would not have helped in the case they were clearly fabricating against Adnan.

            WALLET: Did investigators check for attempted use of the cards in Hae’s wallet. We know she didn’t have much money in her bank account ($8.00). And we know there were no successful withdrawals, etc. But do we know that no attempts were made? We don’t.

            Just because a criminal fails doesn’t mean they didn’t try.

            And we also DO NOT KNOW when Hae actually left school on Jan. 13 1999. There are about 5 different versions of this. (Again, listen to Undisclosed and read this blog carefully—-all this info is there).

            I don’t think any of us is going to solve this crime. It is going to take investigators on the ground in Baltimore to do this–if it can even be done at this time.

            But if we believe the initial reports on Hae’s disappearance and if we believe Adnan when he states on SERIAL that he would never have asked Hae for a ride—that she left at around 3 pm, and was likely the victim of a random act of violence, starts to look more likely–then being killed by someone she knew well.

            And by the way, who says a woman wasn’t involved in these murders?

            We just don’t know.

          • Aloha Kat,
            Actually there was a gold pendant with the price tag on it, that was still in her car. But to pick specific items… Tell me that this person knew that the items taken would have led the MDPD back to them. I would have to go back an read the list of items recoverd from her car, but the items to me, don’t say robbery, they say cover up the identity of the killer. Again just my opinion and I always value yours😊
            Have a great day!
            Mahalo Nui Loa

          • Aloha,

            Can you point to the episode where the Gold Pendant is mentioned?

            I’m not sure what you mean by items that would “lead back” to the perp. A stolen vehicle would lead back to the perp if he was found in it–and cars are stolen ALL the time. I have lived in crime-ridden areas most of my life. Cell phones, pagers (back in the day) all of these are common items to be stolen. Maybe the perp didn’t see the pendant. Petty thieves are usually desperate–they do take risks. Not uncommon at all. (What they probably wouldn’t do though, is drive around for long in a stolen car where the turn signal was broken. Even your dumbest mug knows that’s a sure way to get pulled over.)

            Again, just because a crime wasn’t successful, doesn’t mean it wasn’t attempted.

            The truth is though, we just can’t know if theft was a motive. This theory wasn’t investigated enough to be ruled out. Necessary tests simply weren’t performed.

            One thing to consider in all this is victimology—was Hae the type of person to incite violence from someone close to her? I think not.

            If you believe Adnan innocent, then his feelings about Hae are relevant. And he was with her for 10 months and they’d broken up a number of times, and yet he had no rage regarding her. That is telling.

            So why then would Don, who had only been seriously involved with Hae, suddenly have developed this insane rage that could overtake him in a matter of mere moments?

            Don and Hae were still in the honeymoon phase. Don wasn’t married. He didn’t have disapproving parents to his relationship. Hae wasn’t pregnant with his child. What possible motive could he have for harming her? Is there any evidence that this guy was psycho enough to meet his new crush in the middle of the day, and within half and hour slam her head with his fist and strangle her?

            Think about it? Hae does not seem like someone who would incite this kind of rage in someone who knew her well. She was a sweetheart. Why would anyone who knew her want to harm her that way.

            And jealous students don’t count. Everyone in High School talks trash about each other.

          • The only way to believe that Hae was killed by someone she knew well, is to also embrace Baltimore DA Urich’s and the investigator’s underlying theory of this crime.

            But if you have read this blog carefully and really listened to all the Undisclosed podcasts it is easy to see that the theory on which Urich relied was built on fabrication and manipulation.

            Not one aspect of their case stands firm. We don’t know if the timeline is right. How can we? There were at least 5 versions.

            We don’t know if Hae was raped. It would seem she was robbed (Nissan; wallet; pager–unless someone just lost those in evidence)

            All we actually know is that we can’t rely on state’s evidence. The rest will have to be reinvestigated. Unless DNA bears witness, or there is a confession or someone comes forward with new information.

          • Aloha Kat,
            IMO, I don’t feel that, this was a sex crime. I’m pretty sure and correct me anyone, if I am wrong, but Hae still had her panty hose on. Why would someone take the time to try and put those hose back on her body? Unless it was defiantly someone who knew Hae and redressed her, to give her some dig dignity. A stranger, a rapist or serial killer wouldn’t do that!
            Again it’s only my opinion.
            Have a great day!
            Mahalo Nui Loa

          • Kat – no, I have not listened to all the podcasts, just like you have not accessed all the content related to this case, which you admitted below. I don’t always have time and the important information usually finds its way into the blogs, which I do keep up with.

            In missing person’s cases, one of the first things the police do is to contact banks to obtain information about authorized and failed transactions. I know this from personal experience. Given that they handled the missing person case promptly and thoroughly contacted all her friends, it seems likely that they did that too. If the police had had information about failed transactions it would probably have found its way into Jay’s coached story.

            The idea of a possible carjacking is not a new one either. The problem that has to be accounted for is why a stranger would bother to risk storing her body for hours on end, moving and hiding it and then leaving the car around before moving it again (rather than, say, stripping it and getting rid of the parts) all of which increases their risk of being caught exponentially. The profiler suggested that the act of trying to hide her body was an indication that it might have been someone she knew because a person with no connection to her would attempt to put distance between them and the body quickly. The only way I can see that action making sense for a stranger is if she was killed in or near a place that was linked to them which seems unlikely.

            It has been suggested that the pager might have been taken to hide calls/pages that could point to the killer. This seems plausible. Given that the other high value items that were taken after her death were never used/monetized, it seems plausible that moving the car and taking the wallet were taken and hidden for a similar purpose.

            Finally, a carjacking also does not have to be a stranger. She had a new model vehicle. Maybe she was followed by someone who knew her routine or lured somewhere by an acquaintance who had set someone up to stage a robbery and they wound up killing her.

            Finally, you may also wish to refrain from using pointed all-caps as it is poor etiquette and it comes across as aggressive and somewhat arrogant in light of the admitted gaps in your own knowledge.

          • Aloha Lurker,
            I agree with you and Jim Clemente 100%. And his last episode about Ronald Lee Miller was excellent. Interesting how his story was concocted . I wonder if that’s why we haven’t heard from the innocents project!
            I’m sorry, but o still believe that DC is somehow involved. In my book he has the most motive out of all the suspects IMO of course.
            Your post was excellent!
            Have a great day!
            Mahalo Nui Loa

          • Thanks for your reply, AlohaMade. The LensCrafter’s finding was quite good and Don certainly became more interesting after that finding.

            I am not sure what I believe about this case anymore, except that Adnan is innocent and that her killer was in her primary and secondary social world. Frankly I find it sad that all these threads were not tied up back then as Hae’s real killer could likely have been caught had they not prematurely closed the case on Adnan. I feel like the radar is limited now simply because it was narrowed too quickly then and I do wonder if there were actors who have escaped scrutiny. But I have stopped trying to figure it all out. I hope that Rabia et al. finally solve the case.

          • The manner in which Hae is killed also seems to “clean” to be a rage-kill. Where’s the rage? She’s hit in the head twice, then strangled. This seems very pragmatic as in, the killer wanted to disable her, and then needed to just get rid of her.

            Someone filled with rage would probably have delivered a few more blows. It’s almost as if the person who killed her had done this before and knew the most efficient manner of killing someone without using a weapon.

            It’s a very efficient, clean kill. (Horrible to say it that way, but it was.)

          • Lurker,

            It’s really important to argue the point not the person. Be careful of ad hominem arguments. No reason to be insulting. I didn’t insult you. Only suggested you read relevant posts and listen to those podcasts that cover this subject matter.

            Susan and Collin have done an amazing job of dismantling the State of Maryland’s case. It’s stunning work.

            We are all just trying to figure stuff out. And I actually have listened to every podcast of Undisclosed–a number of times. And though I haven’t read every bit of the evidence, I’ve read most of it. So I am doing my best to be well informed.

            Certainly doesn’t mean I’m right. But I’m working hard to know. Nothing to get mad at.

            I capitalize because there is no other way to emphasize on wordpress. Sorry if it offended.

          • Lurker hasn’t used ad homs, nor any other fallacious reasoning through. They simply stated that you can’t claim to have the answers without even listening to all of the information*, and a reminder of basic netiquette. They are not ad hominem attacks.

            If they’d said “Kat – you’re an ignorant fool, so I can’t take [theory] seriously” then that would be an ad hom., but they didn’t.

            *cf. your repeated insistence that Don could not have killed Hae, that there’s no good reason to believe that his timesheets were falsified, and that they’d only been seeing each other for a fortnight, so he had no motive. However, if you’d listened to Truth & Justice’s episodes about those very issues, or even read the transcriptions, you’d see why people have no patience with the special pleading for Don, and your dismissal of Jim Clemente’s initial observations, when nobody has heard his full report yet

          • BTW – HTML works across WordPress, as you can see from my first comment tonight. No need for caps lock.

          • I thought that those posting here were fully up on Undisclosed and LL2 and Collin’s blog: Evidence Prof (as well as MSNBC Docket). The information presented on these forums is comprehensive, verifiable and very well presented. It’s worth the time. I’m so impressed with the work that Collin, Susan and Rabia have done. They are my heroes.

            I just hope everyone commenting on these forums will keep in mind these are real people being discussed. The court of public opinion can impact lives profoundly as the court of law can.

            Please be careful who you accuse because it could impact their life adversely–in a real way, even if that is not your intention. And especially with this case, caution seems in order, as there are still so many unknowns. The potential for a wrongful claim against someone is huge.

  73. Does anyone know what route Hae usually took from Woodlawn to her cousin’s school?

    I looked up directions on Google maps and there are three different routes she could have taken.

  74. One thing I noticed looking at the Google maps and the satellite pics, is that one route Hae might have taken goes right through a moderate-income residential area. Someone she kind of, sort of knew could have hailed to her, and if she stopped for a moment to say hi she might have been swooped up into someone’s home in no time.

    The other route was more bucolic. And H-695, I’m not sure about.

          • Aloha Kat,
            As you’ve probably noticed by now I’m a fan of Bob Ruff (truth and justice), so find all of his episodes compelling. But if you don’t like his type of investigating, that’s your prerogative and I’m not here to force you to believe in him either. You have every right to your theories and opinions.
            However if there was one episode that would explain a lot of your questions, or what I believe to be significant to your writings here would be Ep # 25 with Jim Clemente. Very interesting, it actually could bring Don into the scenario , but listen carefully maybe even twice, because Jim is very detailed and goes through his anylasis pretty quickly.
            Have a great day
            Mahalo Nui Loa

          • Mahalo,

            Thank you for pointing out episode 25 on Serial Dynasty. I will listen to the others having listened to that one. Thank you for directing me to it.

            It was far superior to the Don episode. And it was fascinating. But Jim Clemente makes the strong stipulation that he didn’t examine the case all that closely, and there were lots of details missing from his analysis. What I got from it was a general understanding of the method of profiling, not really any new info. about the Hae Min Lee case.

            But unfortunately, Jim Clemente was in complete keeping with the State of Baltimore’s theory of the case, almost word for word. What the Don accusers are doing is just substituting Don for Adan, into the exact same theory of the case, with equally, if not more flimsy evidence than that which Urich presented.

            Here’s a thought. Why don’t we throw the State of Baltimore’s case against Adan into the trash where it clearly belongs–every last word of it, and start completely from scratch?

            Maybe we should listen to Adnan for a change.

            In Serial, Adnan states that he never asked Hae for a ride. I believe Adnan. Not only because he has the air of authenticity and has been consistent in his story, but also because his version of events makes the most sense of any version I’ve heard.

            If Adnan didn’t ask Hae for a ride, then the witnesses who said Hae mentioned having something to do that afternoon before picking up her cousin, are probably mistaken. It then seems very likely that Hae left at 3 pm as she always did—and was actually thought to have done when she first went missing, and before Baltimore investigators zeroed in on Adnan. (There were no hot fries in her car or evidence of them, so that sighting of Hae buying hot fries that day may also be mistaken).

            Then the window for her abduction was very small. It’s possible someone hid in her car (the school parking lot faced a busy street), and it’s also possible that someone planned this. But the greater possibility, given the time frame, is that she was jacked.

            Just for a lark, maybe try this theory on for size—she takes the Essex street route or another route that allows for the possibility of someone seizing her at a light or stop sign, didn’t lock her car doors, someone jumps into the passenger seat and forces her to another location. She refuses to leave her car, the individual hits her hard then attempts to pull her from the car. At that point, she breaks the signal shift not because she is being strangled, but because she is trying to prevent being pulled from her vehicle.

            She is either placed in another vehicle or in someone’s home. At this point, she is drugged or killed immediately. But now the car-jacker has a car that won’t signal. And just like Hae’s brother who didn’t want to drive a car that won’t signal for fear of being pulled over, the car-jacker or jackers have done all this in vain. But now they have this girl to deal with. And the rest is history. They dump Hae’s car somewhere know for crime–that puts the focus on that neighborhood. Dump Hae in a park known for dead bodies.

            Maybe this person or persons did know Hae a little. Maybe they graduated sometime before (not pointing at Jay here). Or maybe they had a relative who worked at Woodlawn High and when this person visited their relative there, had seen Hae and fancied her.

            Hae had to have been somewhere laid out fully prone for at least 10 hours. This would have to have been either in a vehicle that could accommodate this or a home. How does some kid how lives at home have either of these things?

            Guess who, of the POIs owned a truck? Mr. S.

            Why Mr. S was not looked at more closely is remarkable to me. Hello? He found the body under very strange circumstances–as in he was doing something odd. He apparently can leave work and drink without raising alarms.

            I don’t know that he had anything to do with Hae’s killing, but he’s much higher on my list of suspects than Don.

          • Aloha Kat ,
            Mahalo for your analysis. But I still feel you are basing your theories primarily to Serial. Yes Serial brought this case into the limelight , but truly a lot of what you are saying has been proven by Susan, Rabia, Colin and Bob… To be u factual and more than likely never to have happened.
            About Jim Clemente, he was perfectly clear in stating, that this was a preliminary profile. He could only give us info on the little info that he has. But he positively feel, that this was most definately Not a Random person who did this. In his assessment this was done my someone who knew Hae. And if you listen very closely, you can tell where it fits more of Don’s timeline, than Adnan’s. The good thing is, that Me. Clemente will be doing another profile… With more information soon!
            And another good thing about this, is that it proves, that the state didn’t do a proper investigation.
            Have you listened to the episode where bob goes through Hae’s diary? Very, very interesting!
            Have a great day
            Mahalo Nui Loa

          • The diary excerpts were very interesting, especially the “miss[ing] my baby” snippet.

            I’m really looking forward to part two of Jim Clemente’s analysis. I was really happy to hear he was getting involved, and the same goes for Jim Trainum. They are both experts in their respective fields, and Bob has done astoundingly well to get both of them involved.

            WRT Serial, I think of it as a preview of Undisclosed and Truth and Justice. Undisclosed, especially, has eclipsed Serial on virtually every level. I’m glad that they’ll be taking on other wrongful convictions too, there the potential for so much good to be one.

          • Aloha Squatch,
            I’m glad to see, that great minds think alike😊 I agree with you 100%

            Have a great day!
            Mahalo Nui Loa

          • Kat
            I would never be able to point out which episode after all I have listened too and read. some days I am lucky to remember where I park my car.
            He is every through and really is a great followup from Colin and Susan.
            navyMom

      • Mahalo,

        Jim Clemente makes the exact same case Urich and the State of Maryland made as to who killed Hae Min Lee. Jim just doesn’t name anyone in particular.

        Jim stated in his cursory review that Hae had to have been killed by someone she knew. Someone with a grudge or resentment toward Hae–someone who possibly killed out of revenge (that’s the state’s case). Someone young. A first time offender. Someone wishing to hide the crime because he knew the victim. Someone Hae willingly let into her vehicle (Jim even mentions honor killings at one point–though he appears to reference Hae’s family on this–which seems odd. I haven’t really read about any honor killings in the Korean community–and from what I read Hae lived with her mother and brother–the father wasn’t living there with them).

        Well, all the above that describes how Adnan was seen by the State of Maryland, by Urich and his investigators. You might be able to replace Adnan with Don, but with what evidence?

        There is no record of Don saying he was going to meet Hae. There is no indication of conflict between the two. In the past 17 years, has Don been arrested or cited for any type of domestic abuse?

        Other than the chance that Don might possibly have falsified his time-card, there is actually nothing but very minute hearsay from a couple of people who are on record with their statements–as in the info was taken from some off-hand remark made.

        Can you point to where there was a thorough investigation ever done of a random kill theory?

        Isn’t random kill or serial killer the theory what the Innocence Project is investigating?

        It is fascinating to me how even those who claim they don’t believe the State of Maryland’s case against Adnan, can embrace this theory of the case in full, as long as someone other than Adnan is the target.

        There was so much altering of evidence, fabrication, perhaps evidence that wasn’t even gathered–how can we trust anything that the State of Maryland put forward on this case? Any of what they put forward?

        You and Squatch are 100% in support of the State’s case–you just want another guy in the hotseat.

        • Aloha Kat,
          I still feel you’re putting too much into “Serial” and not paying attention to Undisclosed or Truth and Justice.
          I realize there is a lot of hersay and circumstantial evidence on this case! But that’s because there isn’t a case… Against Adnan. If something would have caused the police to look into Don further, you would clearly see that there is more concise evidence against Don than Adnan. Is there a lot of circumstantial evidence and hersay, for Don… Yes! But I’m willing to bet, that most cases start out as hersay and go to trial with loads of circumstantial evidence. That’s the legal game, but it’s also good leverage, to get to the truth.
          Jim Clemente only had the Autopsy Report and crimescene photos I believe, so he was very clear that this was only a pelimenary and he didn’t know anything about the Victim or and Suspects. He has gotten more information now and I believe he will be looking at Adnan, Jay and Don’s pre and post behavior. He is going to do another episode with Jim maybe on the 6th of December… I’ll keep you posted.
          Until then T&J podcast 27 is really worth listening to. It gives you a better picture of Hae, Adnan and Don and this ” Love Triangle,” there is something says referring to Don, that really got me thinking more about him. If you listed, tell me if you picked up on it. This is Hae’s own words, so it’s not hersay IMO.
          Anyway take care and Have a great day!
          Mahalo Nui Loa

          • AlohaMade,

            I’ve listened to Undisclosed 3 times, all the way through all 15 podcasts, plus the addendums. I’ve read this post (Susan’s) three times. And just listened again to Undisclosed #5 and the adendum to it. As well as reading Colin’s blog and I also just watched the Docket presentation on the livor mortis on MSNBC.

            I’m not following Serial all that closely, actually. Although I did like that podcast.

            Jim Clemente basically repeated word for word what could be considered the spine of the state of Maryland’s case against Adnan.

            Jim Clemente stated it was likely that someone close to Hae killed her, with vengeance as the motive. The offender was young and tried to hide the crime because he was known to her and known to others in their circle of friends.

            THAT is the state’s case.

            Urich just decided, for reasons that make no sense, that the perp was Adnan. You’ve decided for reasons equally unsubstantiated, that it is Don.

            But in fact, that profile of Hae’s killer really doesn’t make much sense, anyway. Or can’t make sense until ALL the evidence is properly gathered and processed. We don’t even know if Hae was raped. And given the botched investigation we may never know who did this.

            If we are going to demand that prosecutors and investigators hold themselves to high standards of evidence and substantiation when going after a defendant, shouldn’t we hold ourselves to the same high standards of proof we wish to see practiced?

          • So what is YOUR theory? Do tell. It is easy to sit and criticize every other theory.

            What is your theory?
            What is your agenda?

          • Aloha Kir,

            Kat feels like it was more of a “Stranger” abduction. More of a ransoms act?
            I once thought that could be possible, but the more I hear, I feel it was someone close to her… Or at the very least, someone who knew her and her routines … Just my opinion.

            Have a great day
            Mahalo Nui Loa

          • Kir,

            My theory is that this crime was likely random or committed by someone who knew Hae from a distance, and targeted her for robbery, rape or both (it’s important to remember that we still don’t know if Hae was raped. There were no conclusive tests done to determine this). And my theory of this crime being one of theft–possibly rape, as opposed to “passion” or “revenge” is based on the few facts available to us, at this time, that can be relied on.

            Just to reiterate: The validity of the State of Maryland’s case against Adnan is in question to such an extent that I don’t think we can trust any aspect of it. Not the evidence, not the witness testimony, not even the timeline of Hae or anyone on Jan 13 1999. Nothing that DA Urich and others presented at Adnan’s trial can be relied on in any way. I’m not saying that there may not be some scant bits of truth there, but it would all have to be reexamined in full for us to even begin to piece together a picture of what might actually have occurred on the 13th–and what eventually happened to Hae.

            But if the initial suppositions put forward at the time of Hae’s disappearance are to be believed, she likely left school close to 3 pm. If this is true, then there is little time for any event, but one that was somewhat hap chance. As in, someone was looking for a victim, and Hae, unfortunately, was in the wrong place, wrong time.

            My agenda? I believe we need an overhaul of our judicial process. There need to be a great deal more checks and balances in trials and yet even more in the appeals process so innocent persons, like Adnan, are not forced to spend over a decade in prison before a wrong is righted. abut hopefully there will be measures put in place that will prevent someone like Adnan from ever being convicted in the first place.

            And I believe the time is right for these kinds of changes. The popularity of franchises like Serial and Undisclosed bring a lot of hope for this kind of change.

            Sentencing reform is also crucial. There is a bill right now The Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 S. 2123–not perfect, but a great bi-partisan effort in the right direction

            There you go. My theory and my agenda.

        • was there ever any issues between Hae and Jess or Stephanie? Jay is the link. but it seems like there could be another motive yet to be uncovered from someone just out side the main characters.

    • Read the other comments

      It can’t be a net, or a loop of wire, because that would leave lines or outlines.

      It can’t be stitching or quilting on fabric, because that’s soft and, again, would leave an outline or pattern .

      It has to be a solid item, three-dimensional, and firm enough that it’s capable of exerting the pressure sufficient to leave a void in the lividity.

        • You’ve misunderstood my comment.

          If you’d read the comments here, you’d see that I’m referring to people who have been claiming that the voids in the livor mortis could be from wire aerials, lacrosse nets, bedding, etc None of those items are possible causes. I’m not disputing that Hae Min Lee was ever on a blanket (why would I? That’s weird) but that blankets/sheets/counterpanes etc could not have produced those voids.

          WRT Don – he has no credible alibi, his mother and stepmother produced falsified timesheets, and on the night of January the thirteenth he didn’t call the police until 01:30. He didn’t call Hae to find out where she was at 22:00, and never attempted to make contact with her again. Unlike Adnan, who was in the thick of what was going on and has access to her BFFs to get updates, whereas Don was out on a limb, but didn’t seem worried.

          He also told police that Hae had almost certainly gone to California, and implied that her disappearance probably wasn’t a cause for concern. Also, theo police kept bringing up the up the issue of hotels. They asked if Bilal booked rooms for Adnan and Hae, they asked Debbie if Adnan and Hae went to hotels to have sex.

          There’s a lot about Don that doesn’t add up, and people aren’t dragging it all into the open so as to prove Don is guilty, but to show that Adnan was convicted without any material evidence, yet Don, on the face of it, has just as much to account for on the 13th, if not more.

          • Squatch,

            There is no proof presented on any of these forums that Don’s timesheet was falsified. None. We are being asked by Bob Ruff and even Rabia Chaudry (on the most recent addendum to Undisclosed) to simply assume that the timesheet had to have been falsified, because Bob spoke to some people who said this had to have been the case.

            We’ve actually been presented with zero proof of the falsification. And not one of the persons purported to have been spoken to has gone on public record. We have no recorded interviews or affidavits. So as much as I believe Rabia Chaudry to be a person of integrity, she is asking that we believe her on faith and has not provided hard evidence of falsification–only the possibility of it.

            There is no hard evidence that Don falsified anything.

            And even if he did, this does not point to murder. Not by a long shot.

            Regarding Don not calling the police, this was a very new relationship he was in. He would have known Hae hadn’t shown up for work, and he may not have known her family well enough to get involved. It’s not like they were engaged to be married. He really may have thought that it wasn’t his place to call anyone.

            It’s an awkward position to be in. This girl you just started seeing goes AWOL–he knew she had issues with her mom, so he may have thought she really had just exited the scene to clear her head.

            I do think that Don’s alibi should have been vetted more carefully, if for no other reason than to properly clear him. But I have seen nothing in all the podcasts and blogging on this matter that in any way shows real cause to believe he may have been involved.

            Regarding the blanket and the indentations on Hae, I was simply giving my theory. That’s all. I do believe that given the consistency of the shapes that imprinted with livor, that she was likely placed on a soft blanket that was on top of a patterened surface, and that her shoulders were off the blanket.

          • I’m tapped out. I actually thought you were sincerely engaging. You fooled me, well done!

            I can’t be bothered with the cohort of redditors (and their ilk) who’ve invested so much in the State’s version of events that even videos of the murder wouldn’t sway them from their disingenuous JAQing, wild theories, and ludicrous conspiracies.

            When people are so determined to prove the State’s case for them (why, I don’t know, but I suspect that it’s for the usual reasons) that they would rather invent answers than say “I don’t know”, then I’m done entertaining them. It would be a more productive use of my time to try and teach my fish how to speak Greek.

            You’re not fooling anyone when you say anything remotely like “I’m not saying. X can’t be trusted, but .”

            I’ll take the word of Rabia, Susan, Colin, and Bob Ruff over that of known liars such as Kevin Urich, detectives Ritz and McGillivray, or any of their associates. I’ll take the affidavits of Asia McClain and Abraham Waranowitz over the testimony of Jay “Couldn’t lie straight in bed” Wilds.

          • Squatch,

            I think the States case is 100% wrong. I am not on Reddit. The Serial and Undisclosed franchises are incredibly important, that’s why I don’t want to see them diminished by unsubstantiated accusations. Unsubstantiated accusations are a very large part of why we have so many innocent people behind bars.

  75. Not sure that this comment will even be read as it’s so late. I had come up with the idea that Don must be the killer based on Hae’s hurried departure to see him (per Debbie) at the end of the day. She normally had plenty of time to get to her cousin’s day care place if she left at 3:00, but she was rushing to leave earlier. She said she had to see “Don at the mall.” Okay. Bob Ruff wants to say that she did indeed do that, and that Don was angry b/c she was still friendly with Adnan, but, with all due respect to Bob, who has just come out of nowhere and dug up huge stuff, that motive makes no sense. What DOES make a great deal of sense is that Hae was pressuring Don to make some sort of commitment and he balked. Remember, the French teacher said that Hae wanted to move in with him. (Why didn’t that teacher tell Hae to get a grip?) Don didn’t want to go through with their “date” that night at his mom’s house–probably felt it would just be more pestering, so he paged her, asked her to meet him at the mall right after school, planning to break up with her. She’s flattered, thinks he can’t wait until 10:00 that night to see her, rushes off. She could make it to Owings Mills, have a brief encounter with him, and still get to the learning center if she really hurried, but she’d need to leave school ASAP. (Look it up on googlemaps.) Maybe they had some secluded spot at the mall parking lot where they could have makeout sessions in his cool Camaro during breaks at work. (I don’t want to sound heartless about this; I just think that’s what happened.) If you look at the diagram for the mall (soon to be torn down, apparently) you can see a couple of places where there’s a kind of inlet in the building that might have worked for a rendezvous spot. Everyone agrees that Hae had a very strong personality, didn’t stand for nonsense. She loses her temper, maybe even slaps him, etc., when he tells her he wants to call it quits He hits back. Remember, she had blunt-force trauma to her head. However it happens, she’s dead. Now what? Don’s Camaro has fold-down back seats and a fairly big flat space in the back when that’s done. I know this b/c my husband used to have a 1989 Firebird and the cars are very similar. I think she could easily have been put flat in the back of his car for the time being, and several people have suggested that the marks on her shoulders are from something in a car. See https://readinaflash.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/the-trouble-with-don/ for a post that gives a very similar scenario–I had already come up with this theory when I read her post. She has also somehow come up with Don’s high school yearbook picture–what a revelation! He looks NOTHING like Hae’s rapturous description of him in her diary. His weird fake timecard not only includes times for Thursday but also for Saturday morning, when I would be willing to bet is the real burial time. By then the roads would be passable after the ice storm. Ho-kay. Better quit. Hope Susan reads this!

    • Hi debisimons, I have had a completely different favorited theory for a while now but I did happen to listen to the Bob episode on Don yesterday and it certainly got me wondering. So I’m with you on all your ponderings. I sure would like to know more about Don and whether he gets more or less suspicious with further digging. There was that other business about Hae’s paycheques going somewhere that I seem to remember Don was somehow involved with but stupidly can’t remember exact details now.

    • There is not one piece of hard evidence against Don. And no motive. He’s going to see Hae at 10 pm that night, why kill her in the middle of the afternoon, moments before she is scheduled to pick up her cousin?

      If Don’s timecards are so suspicious, why haven’t any of the people who have supposedly been interviewed around this issue signed affidavits to this effect, or gone on Serial Dynasty for an interview? If there is no one willing to go on the record regarding this discrepancy, I think that indicates it may not have been all that carefully vetted.

      The issue here is that Adnan was convicted on scant evidence. It that’s wrong, then it’s equally wrong to accuse another person with even less evidence supporting the accusation.

  76. Rubber mats used in the back of vans, trucks, SUVs and even inside larger vehicles have symetrical patterns that might match the diamond shapes. Hae had to have been lying prone, so wherever she was kept, the space had to allow a 5ft 6inch woman to lie prone that way.

    • I don’t really know how objects imprint in lividity. But that could be possible.

      It’s just that where the markings are on Hae’s body seem very consistent across the full width of her shoulders, so a patterned surface comes to mind. I’ll admit I’m biased because I believe Hae was probably kept in the bed of a truck or in the back of a Van or SUV, and I keep thinking it has to be a pattern found in one of those types of locations. But who knows?

      • Kat,

        The issue is the pattern is not consistent with any type of mat or repeat. Had it been a mat or other large repeating pattern, that pattern would have potentially been seen on her breasts, arms, belly, legs and face as well.

        Let’s assume just her very upper body was laying on this pattern. The pattern would have appeared at minimum on her face and possibly side of the neck as well had it been a large repeating pattern. Any part of the body that was “flat” against it would show the markings. It is specifically 4 marks in a double pattern from shoulder (Acromion area) across the clavicle on each side approximately 2 inches apart. There are no corresponding marks (at least from this article) that indicates any reference to this pattern existing on her face, center of upper chest or neck.

        However, admittedly I do not know what side of the face the livor mortis (post mortem hypostasis) was most predominant. Generally, it is one side or the other as in death (assuming she is placed face down) the body is in full relaxation and will not stay nose down but rather the head will turn to one side or the other.

        It appears that it was a specific object that her upper body was against rather than a large item with a repeating pattern. A blanket would potentially be too soft to cause the lividity impression as it requires significant constant pressure to disrupt the process of livor mortis and leave an impression. The item would need to be rigid in order to maintain the constant pressure required. It appears in this case, the pattern did not repeat across the width of the body, but rather is isolated to the shoulder areas only.

        • Kate or Kir,

          If someone is dead their face can be flat to the ground–there’s no reason for a dead person to turn their head to the side. They don’t need to breathe–which is why someone alive would turn their head–to breathe.

          Go on Google and type in “livor moritis” “indentations”—choose “images”. Not pretty, but you’ll see why I’m looking at the type of patterns I’m looking at.

          I really have no idea what made those marks. But the marks are consistent across her shoulders to the extent that whatever it was, it would seem, had to be somewhat consistent as well–in terms of patterns. It is a mystery!

          • Kat, The head turns due to weight and gravity unless there is an obstruction blocking the turn such as object contour. As I noted in my previous post, I have not seen or reviewed the autopsy information and thus do not know which side of the face the livor was most pronounced. I also don’t need to google it, this is what I do for a living.

          • You could look at the photos I mention not to enlighten yourself, but to help others better understand. You would then see why others who are less informed or who have less actual experience, are coming to the conclusions that they are arriving at.

            Or not.

            It all depends on if you are actually trying to educate.

            I did see photos where the person had not turned their head to the side during the setting of livor mortis. And the blood pooled in an interesting pattern over the face.

            Many of the pictures I saw on-line, there was the imprint of the deceased’s clothing visible as well.

            I’m not sure what any of it means, other than Hae had to have been someplace, prone, and the surface had to have been uniform and perhaps soft enough not to have left excessive marks on her body.

            The diamond shapes are intriguing.

            Other than that, don’t know. Just throwing out ideas and seeing if any of them work.

  77. http://www.salon.com/2015/07/05/and_everybody_cried_the_callous_murder_of_the_harvey_family_and_the_song_it_inspired/

    The Harvey Family was killed in Virgina by two ex-cons, one only recently released. At first investigators believed the killer to be a family friend.

    http://www.innocenceproject.org/cases-false-imprisonment/kevin-green

    Kevin Green was convicted of the brutal attack on his wife, it turned out to be a random crime, even though there were many indicators that Kevin did this. DNA exonerated him.

    http://www.innocenceproject.org/cases-false-imprisonment/michael-morton

    Michael Morton spent 25 years in jail for the brutal murder of his wife, because investigators ignored evidence pointing to a random kill.

    Stranger on stranger crimes are the hardest to solve. But they happen. If Hae left school at 3, and no one was in her vehicle at that time, then the chances that she was killed by someone she knew seem slim.

    Someone who wanted a car may have targeted her. But she resisted. Once the turn signal was broken the car was useless to them. And perhaps the killer had ties to the area and chose the most efficient means of dumping both the body and the car.

    The state of Maryland clearly got this wrong. Their entire theory of the case needs to be reexamined.

    • so if she lays on that mat ^ why are the imprints so spread out and only around the shoulder? is she was laying on a rug but the shoulders were exposed the the pattern would still be more frequent albeit just across the exposed area.

      • Good question. Don’t know. My thought was that Hae might have been partially on a soft surface and only her shoulders touched the pattern. Honestly, a bra makes the most sense. It is a mystery.

        • A bra would make no sense.

          A bra couldn’t have made the marks:

          1) Bras don’t tend to have three straps.
          2) Where’s the rest of the bra? Where’s the back band? The bands of the cups? The fasteners? The adjusters?
          3) Textiles don’t tend to leave perfectly geometric shapes. (cf. The central seam of her tights)

          A bra couldn’t have shielded the covered areas from impressions made by three dimensional objects:

          1) Hard objects > Textiles. Always.

          I don’t know what you identify as, but bra pressure marks don’t look like that. Either look in the mirror after you take yours off (if you wear Bras), or ask someone else to show you/describe it (if you don’t)

          The only thing I’ve been familiar with, with those shapes and spacing (it looks like two pairs, but one half of one pair wasn’t against her) were my instrument cases, my brother’s DJ gear box, and weirdly enough, a folding step stool I have upstairs. If I could get it, I’d snap a pic.

          • Actually Squatch,

            I was looking on-line at pictures of corpses post-livor and bra marks can leave those types of marks. It would be a particular type of bra, though. Whatever those marks are it would appear that other parts of her body were on something soft. And what the marks really show is that it was unlikely that she lay on the bed of a forest–where twigs, etc. would have left an entirely different type of indentation.

            I don’t know what they are. I gave it a shot.

            All we can be somewhat certain of is that Hae was somewhere prone for at least 8 hours after she was killed.

            So where was she for all that time? That’s the important question.

          • A “particular type of bra”, in this case, would have to be a bra with three straps, two of which are in positions at odds with their purpose. Could you show me which particular bras you have in mind? Google image links will do.

            Where’s the back band impression though? The adjusters? The cups? The clasps? The connectors?

            I’m going to have to guess that you’re either a bloke (probably single if you can’t spot the obvious) or a woman who has never worn a bra. Only a man would insist that he knows what patterns a bra leaves on the skin.

            Pro tip: wearing a bra for an entire day leaves a 1:1 impression after removal, like the photo negative version of post-mortem staining. Or, let’s use a visually similari situation, like sunburn. Go and put a bra on, then lie on a tanning bed. The skin will darken or redden, and there will be paler voids where the bra was.

            Bras are structured, engineered, pressure garments. That’s how they work. If those marks are from a bra, then where is the rest of it?

            We’ll probably never know any of the answers, but I hope her murderer is eventually punished. He has escaped the grasp of the law thanks to bigotry, corruption, and laziness. He is what is important, not where she was, or what left the marks. They’re only important if they lead

          • I don’t think we know what those marks are or are not. I have my own theories, you have yours. I guess we’ll have to leave it at that.

          • We do know that it wasn’t her bra though. This is why your mansplanations are so bloody annoying. As you keep missing the obvious, I’ll lend you a hand, because the hole you’re digging is liable to collapse on you. So, here it is:

            “Although others have suggested that the marks may be caused by bra straps, the pressure marks do not line up with how the bra was on the body, and do not seem to be consistent with pressure marks that would have been caused by that”

            Do you recognise that quote?

          • Bless your little heart. One of those guys who believe that a Y chromosome makes them infallible, huh? You’re wrong. It is not from a bra. Not Hae’s bra, your imaginary magical mystery cupless, triple-strapped, bandless, claspless bra, or any bra.

            Remember yesterday, when I asked you if you could determine the source of the following quote?:

            “Although others have suggested that the marks may be caused by bra straps, the pressure marks do not line up with how the bra was on the body, and do not seem to be consistent with pressure marks that would have been caused by that”

            Clearly you had no luck finding the quote. You can’t have looked very hard though. You’re given the statement “It isn’t a bra”yet you insist, despite apparently having zero boob/bra experience, that it is.

            That quote, BTW? Was made by Susan Simpson. She made that statement in THIS post. Scroll up and check for yourself. Susan and Dr Hlavarty have said ” Not a bra”. They have much more combined experience with boobs, Bras, and bodies (dead and alive) than you appear to. Kindly don’t be so arrogant as to assume that you know better than people whose lived experiences and professional qualifications have determined otherwise.

          • Aloha Squatch,
            You know I love your anylasis and the way that you say things. I agree with you 100%!! I have seen many things on the Internet that could be possible, but a Bra Strap? No Way!
            It’s usless to keep telling Kat what you think… He/She has their theory and won’t budge. 😊
            Have a great Holiday!
            Mahalo Nui Loa

          • Thanks Lurker! Been wrangling my boobs in and out of those torture devices since I was eight years old, so if anyone knows about the pressure marks they leave behind – that’s me!

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