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.


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.


357 thoughts on “What the Crime Scene Photographs Show

  1. One question I have regarding lividity. In looking at pictures of bodies where indentation occurs with lividity, it’s clear that the thinner the person is, the more defined these indentations are. So the markings on Hae’s shoulders do appear as if they would have been exact to what Hae was lying on top of. So the car mat theory that I loved has to be thrown out.

    But in many of the pictures I examined, those wearing clothes who were lying prone when lividity set, also had very clear indentations from their clothing. On one woman the outline of her bra was visible. Were there other vibices beyond that of the bunched pantyhose?

    “Vibices look like strips or bands and are caused by pressure, usually left by tight-fitting clothing such as socks, belts and bras.”

    (The above is from an article on-line on Livor Mortis and how it sets. http://thepostmortempost.com/tag/prone-position/)

    And again, on a thin person it seems like any pressure leaves a mark. I saw one picture of a man who was on an egg-crate foam mattress cover, and the markings were as clear as if they’d been drawn on. And that foam is somewhat soft.

    What would explain why there aren’t more markings on Hae?

    Is it possible that when Hae was laid out during this time, she was nude from the waist up? I ask only because there aren’t indications of pressure from any other clothing but the stockings at her waist:

  2. Aloha Ms Susan,
    Can you direct me to the list of items recovered from Hae’s car… I can’t seem to find it and “Kat,” another blogger here has asked me to prove that, there was a gold charm with the price tag of $119.00 still on it. And was it hidden or pretty much out in the open?
    Hope your having a great Holiday!
    Mahalo Nui Loa

      • Aloha Lurker,
        I really appreciate you looking that up for me. I read and listen to so much about this case, but I forgot where I had seen it.
        About Hae’s Father… I believe he was out of the country. However don’t quote me on that. I don’t think there was any written proof, mostly hearsay, unfortunately!
        Hope you are having a great holiday season!
        Mahalo Nui Loa

    • Mahalo,

      I can answer this for you actually. It wasn’t the necklace that was found but the empty box that had held the necklace and the price tag was there as well.

      It was listed on Rabia’s blog.

      • Actually now that I read it again, it’s a little unclear if the “heart charm”was found, of if the box was identified as having held the charm. Something to clarify.

      • Aloha Kat,
        I guess it is vague. Unless the tag stated what the item was, for $119.95. Know that I look at the list again, it doesn’t mention all of the things that were recovered unless that is just the part about the jewelry. I also noticed something confusing… How could her registration be Febuary of 1999?
        Mahalo Nui Loa Kat!
        Have a great day!

        • Mahalo,

          I think the list on Split the Moon were items that Rabia or someone had questions about. I have to look again.

          There was likely more stuff in the vehicle.

          My belief is that there is no part of the State of Maryland’s case against Adnan that can be relied on–perhaps not even what was found or not found in Hae’s car (the car was located AFTER Adnan became the target of the investigation).

          Perhaps it is best to wait and see what evidence surfaces now that there is real progress in Adnan’s release.

          And maybe the DNA tests will reveal something. Maybe not. So much evidence may have been lost.

          This case simply cannot be solved until reliable evidence surfaces.

          Hopes and prayers for Adnan’s total exoneration and that Hae Min Lee’s family will see the real killer brought to justice.

        • Mahalo,

          I think the Feb 28, 1999, date is the date the items from Hae’s vehicle were inventoried. Hae’s body was found on Feb 9, but I don’t think Hae’s vehicle was found until the 28th.

          The way it’s written is confusing.

          • Aloha Kat,
            I know it’s a wonder Susan, Rabia and Colin could make heads or tails from any of the evidence. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s prett F’d up! However it clearly states “2/28/99 vehicle registration ”

            Shoutout to my Hero Ms. Susan!
            I’m sure we’ve coverd this, but could you explain that again? Or anyone else, that remembers.
            Hope your having a nice Holiday Season Kat!
            Mahalo Nui Loa😊

          • Mahalo,

            Feb. 28, 1999, is the day that Hae’s car was found. I think the punctuation is off, and that’s why it reads that way. It states “Papers from glove compartment dated 2/28/99,—–and then there is a whole list of stuff following. Not just the registration. So if that date was referring to the items following, then they technically would all be dated 2/28/99.

            I think it’s a safe bet that the 2/28/99 date is the day Hae’s car was inventoried.

          • Aloha Kat,
            Yep! I went back and read the entire post on “Split the Moon,” I love Rabia’s posts…. She is such a beautiful and Strong woman… A true Hero and Inspiration!

            I hope you’re havei g a great day, Kat!
            Mahalo Nui Loa = (TYVM)

          • Mahalo,

            From Collin Miller’s blog”
            “-February 28, 1999: At approximately 1:30 A.M., Jay gives his first recorded police interview. At approximately 2:10 A.M., just after Detective William Ritz turns the tape over from side A to side B, Jay starts talking about the actual murder. Specifically, Jay says that Adnan told him that Hae kicked at him while he was strangling her in her Sentra, breaking the windshield wiper lever in the process.
            At approximately 2:45 A.M., Jay leads Detectives Kevin Forrester, Scott Serio, and Gregory MacGillivary to Lee’s 1998 Nissan Sentra (page 59). According to Forrester, the windshield wiper lever was “in a downward angle with a hole approximately that size in the side of the steering column.” (page 60). A member of the Crime Lab comes to take still photographs of the windshield wiper lever. (page 203).”


          • Also I, it could be on Undisclosed or Split the Moon… That shows the police video of a quick once over of the car and the broken lever. The whole video is asini , if you ask me… Watch it and tell me what you think? I’d like your opinion.
            Mahalo Nui Loa

          • This video? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f41Dz7Q5dro

            It’s an odd video. What I did get from the video is how nice the car Hae was driving was. It was a 1998 Nissan. Nice car.

            But yes, I think most of the evidence is so tainted as to be rendered somewhat useless.

            I’m sure you have seen this next, but it is interesting to read what Hae’s brother’s memory was:

            “If you google map it, you kinda get the idea what Hae had to drive everyday right after school. I believe Campfield let out at 3pm. So she didn’t have alot of time to mess around. Since our grandparents were expecting our cousin few mins after school. It was Hae’s first time failing to pick her cousin up from school…”

          • Yes That’s it!
            I did go back on Split the Moon and read all of the lists, so originally it did say that the stuff in Hae’s glove box was inventoried on 2/28/99 including the registration. Not that the car was registered on 2/28/99… So good job Kat! Mahalo.
            Have a great day!
            Mahalo Nui Loa

  3. To Susan or anyone else who can answer the question,

    Has there been any discussion of where Hae’s father was during all this? I recently saw the Enehey memo which included a statement by Don claiming that Hae said she wanted to go live with him in California. At first I thought this was a suspicious statement from Don since her maternal family members said that, to the best of their knowledge, her father was no longer in the USA. But they also suggested that it was possible he may have snuck back in illegally and contacted Hae (but not her brother?). This struck me as kind of an odd scenario for a grown man with adolescent children and odder that people who knew him thought this was a realistic possibility.

    A meeting with her father would also fit with one of the earlier suggestions that Hae was quiet and upset during lunch and may have gotten a page that she needed to meet someone (and that the person was therefore not a classmate). Picking her cousin up a bit late might have been justifiable if she were planning to meet her father whom she had not seen in awhile or if she planned to bring her father alone to pick up her cousin.

    So, that leaves me with the question of where he was during all this, whether he might have contacted her and what his relationship was to the family. I do not know if I have missed a discussion of her father at some point, or if it even has relevance at all, so if anyone has details, please do direct me appropriately or share your thoughts.

  4. where on the map is the mall in relation to where hae was going to pick up her cousin? if she left early to see don but still planned on getting her cousin. she would have had to have a plan well timed out…heres a theory

    don meant to see her after work…
    don pages hae telling her he has the day off and to come and see him early…
    this is also why her pager is missing. to keep evidence of dons contact with her before the attack.
    maybe the mall dosent come into play. maybe she his car is broken down and she comes to pick him up? or drop him off somewhere?

  5. Aloha Navymom,
    I agree with everything you just said 100%!
    I have listen and read so much, it’s hard to remember where I got done of the info.
    And Bob Ruff is awesome too! I love that Susan, Rabia and Colin look at everything from a Legal standpoint and Bob from a more scientific stand point.
    Either way , They are all Awedome in my book!
    Have a great day,
    Mahalo Nui Loa!

  6. Can’t wait to get mine off at the end of the day and yes, there are indentations at various places along the torso…
    I have been reading the comments and I must say, as far as I knew there was no indication that Hae was raped. There was no spermatazoa, there was no vaginal tears or bruising as you would expect to find in a rape (nothing reported on the autopsy). They did not test from vaginal swabs (as they should have) since there was no viable material to obtain DNA from (per my son who is a molecular bio scientist). Under the high EM scan at the autopsy suite they saw nothing to submit and will not do so if not specifically ordered by police after inital findings. the police chose not to for obvious reasons.
    As far as Don is concerned, I truly have my concerns. I believe the time cards were created falsely which is a huge red flag. I wonder how Don faired with his “low self-esteem issues” from his past girlfriends cheating habits. I wonder how he did with two lesbian mothers. In 1999, that had to be very difficult on a young man. So, if Hae had second thoughts and wanted to go back to Adnan (I believe she was waffling according to her diary), it could be feasible that they met, she expressed her desire to break up and he got angry and lashed out unexpectedly.
    This is only my thoughts and I would like to learn more about Don and his behaviors these past 16 years.

    • Aloha Navymom,
      Great minds think alike… Again I agree with you100%. I have been saying this to Kat all along, everything you just said, however, I must not have articulated it as well as you.
      Save your breath Kat strongly believes that it was a stranger abduction, rather than someone who knew Hae.
      But like you said Don Warents More investigation if possible. He as well as, one or two others are in the top of My suspect list. I agree, I think Hae was maybe thinking of going back to Adnan.
      Remember in her diary, she said something to the effect, that there was something about Don, but that she was still going to see him… Because he was sweet.
      That something… I’ve felt many times before! That feeling you get about someone, but can’t put your finger on it.
      I am a survivor of a violent rape and incest , and abuse. I know have PTSD and I pick up on those instincts now at 51, but not as well when I was a teenager. Hae’s Diary really tells a lot…. I recommend to Kat to listen to that podcast, but he/she doesn’t like Bob Ruff’s approach…. Which is unfortunate, because I’ve learned a lot Scientifically.
      Sorry I had to get that off my chest😊
      Have a great Holiday
      Mele Kalikimaka eh Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
      = Merry Christmas and Happy New Year😃

      • Mahalo,

        Best wishes for the holidays. I don’t want to seem rude, but I’m not going to comment any further on this particular topic. I’ve said what I have to say–but in summation of what I believe–because you have it wrong, I don’t know what happened to Hae, it just seems given the time of day, and who she was as a person, it is more likely that whoever did this either knew her habits or it was a random crime–and that the real target was the brand new car she was driving (but I’m speculating):

        Unfortunately, in the instant case, there is very little evidence we can rely on. Susan, Rabia and Collin have done a brilliant job of dismantling State’s evidence, but they haven’t solved the case (not publically anyway).

        Given how much evidence was either tampered with or lost the first go round, there is little to replace old theories with that can be verified. For example, tests related to Hae being raped are INCONCLUSIVE. Listen to Undisclosed #5 and the addendum to it.

        I think it is important to look at the time of day this occurred. What were the general habits of the victim. What truly was the state of Hae’s vehicle when found. Was the car in Baltimore County at some point. Etc. It’s important to examine all of that before zeroing in on suspects.

        If Baltimore investigators had examined the above more closely, it might have led them to the actual killer. Or not. Hard to know.

        I don’t assume to know who did this, I just have a different approach to examining the facts. And I like facts I can adequately verify.

        Take care!!!

        • Aloha Kat,
          Please don’t take it the wrong way. I’m only trying to convey that you have your own theories, and to prevent ppl from ganging up on you.
          I have told you before, that I respect your opinions and theories, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree.
          None of us know, what happened to Hae, or this case would be solved and the murderer incarcerated… Right? It’s when we all as concerned citizens collaborate and give our different opinions, that we can actually get to the truth.
          I still like reading your posts and obviously others do too, or they wouldn’t be replying. I just feel like, sometimes you aren’t happy if we disagree. Don’t leave the blog Kat… You have a fascinating mind!
          Mele Kalikimaka eh Haouli Makahiki Hou! = Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 😊

          • Mahalo,

            I appreciate your concern, but you don’t have to worry on my account.

            This isn’t “social hour” for me. I care very much about these issues and am in training so that I hopefully will be able to do real-world work on them in the near future.

            I could care less what anyone thinks of me. And I’m not afraid to be “ganged” up on. I do a lot of advocacy work. You get used to it.

            I simply believe that all theories should have a sound basis in verified fact.

            Without that basis it is easy to get caught up in a myriad of speculative fantasies.

            My only concern with these forums is that people forget that these are real people with real lives we are discussing. The court of public opinion can be quite powerful and can harm lives.

            Simple as that.

            But you seem like a lovely person. If a new topic comes up, maybe I’ll join. I’m over this one.

          • Kat is over it because s/he has been out-debated time and time and time again, mainly by Squatch, clings to a tired story full of pot-holes and bails out of discussions rather than address the evidence that disconfirms his/her own speculative fantasies that a car thief would kill a girl in broad daylight in a public area, with no witnesses, then abandons the car that they were originally after, but hung out with the body for twelve hours. If Kat is in training for this kind of work, might I suggest that s/he read up on the subject of confirmation bias?

          • Aloha Lurker,
            I just went online and read “Confirmation Bias,” Amen😊
            Hope you have a great Holiday
            Mele Kalikimaka eh Haouli Makahiki Hou!

    • This.  So much this.  It wasn’t a smash and grab, a random impulse crime.  This was someone who knew Hae, knew her routine, and was able to convince her to go and meet them. 

      Access and power are vital for harming someone.  There’s a reason that the vast majority of abuse, and most murders, are committed by family, significant others, and acquaintances. 

      Hae was, by all accounts, a strong, determined, feisty young woman.  She would have screamed, bitten, and thrashed if a stranger had jumped her in public.  She’d have had bruises and injuries from being restrained.

      She was probably taken, maybe held somewhere (physical restraints can be unnecessary if you have an emotional hold on someone) and killed by someone she knew. Someone she loved.

      Don is surrounded by so many questions, so many contradictions, and it’s disgraceful that he was never investigated. The fact that the police never took DNA samples, hair samples or fingerprints from Don is indicative of just how little LE and the State cared about bringing Hae’s killer to justice.

      How many other potential suspects were disregarded like that?

      It’s difficult now, sixteen years on, to investigate Don’s every move on 13/01/1999, but someone needs to do something. The one thing that just won’t go out of my mind is his repeated insistence that Hae had gone to California. That, and the fact that after the 13th he never tried to contact Hae ever again. Your new girlfriend goes missing in mysterious circumstances, and that’s it? Just shrug and move on with your life?

      The timecard issue needs to be resolved, his mothers should be interviewed, and his entire story needs to be dismantled.

      One last thing, WRT Hae’s car. Don mentioned the airport, and said that Hae would’ve driven there. I wonder if her car had been placed in the long stay car park, hence the relative cleanliness of the car. It could’ve been taken there to “prove” she’d flown to the West coast.

      It was stated in one of the news reports (that I’m sure was prior to Jay’s “confession”) that the police knew the car’s location, and that the information was being withheld. Maybe that’s the ket to all this.

  7. So the lividity evidence unearthed (no pun intended) earlier this year supports a later burial, which coincidentally corroborates the new timeline presented by Jay in his late 2014 Intercept interview. Why would Jay spin a new version of events unless it was closer to the truth? And it just happens to match up to evidence that comes out months later? I guess this simply pokes further holes in the prosecution’s narrative and that Adnan should not have been convicted based on the case that the prosecution chose to bring, while steering Jay’s story to support their case. It does nothing, however, to prove Adnan’s innocence. If anything, it has the opposite effect in opening up a broader timeline where Adnan could have done everything Jay said he did that afternoon and evening…nothing convict-able, but a timeline that is harder to refute with phone records and other witness testimony. It would be interesting to see Adnan’s phone records for the remainder of January up until his arrest. Did he frequently talk to people after 10:30 at night? Would be interesting if Jan. 13th was rare that he didn’t have a single call after 10:30pm. One (non-legal) aspect that seems to be overlooked frequently is Adnan calling Hae 3 times the prior night around midnight, but doesn’t reach out a single time on the 13th when she’s reported missing? His ex-girlfriend goes missing, he’s called by the police, and he simply signs off at 10:30pm?

    • Oh how circular is our path…

      Matt – you might want to have a listen to the Undisclosed and Serial Dynasty/Truth and Justice podcasts. I’m assuming you haven’t because you sound like you’re fresh from listening to Serial, and have that (and possibly reddit) as your reference.

      Hell, even reading through comments here would be more instructive than the weak-arsed wishy-washy “conclusion” of Serial, and Dana Chivvis’ (retrospectively foolish) statements.

      A few key points for you, it being Christmas, and me being jacked up on extra pian meds:

      1. Jay had nothing to do with any murder, corpse disposal, or anything remotely similar.

      2. Likewise for Jenn Pusateri.

      3. Same goes for Adnan.

      4. The State lied, threatened, and bribed “witnesses”. They fabricated evidence, withheld exculpatory evidence, tampered with evidence, and didn’t test anything that could disprove their case.

      There is zero, nil, nada actial credible evidence against Jay or Adnan. Don was never investigated, has no credible alibi for the day of Hae’s disappearance. He never tried to contact her after the thirteenth, or to find why she hadn’t met up with him that night. He repeatedly told Police that Hae was probably in California, and that her car was at the airport.

      So, without the (largely manufactured, and verifiably, absolutely discredited) mobile phone “evidence”, and with not one credible witness for the State, what is the case against Adnan? Which of Jay’s nine wildly differing statements do you find to be evidence for the State, and what is the justification for the State’s horrifically corrupt, underhanded and borderline illegal behaviour, if their case is such a slam-dunk?

      • Thanks for your note, Squatch. I am fully caught up on those podcasts so I think I’m able to form my own opinions by this point. I fully agree with you on #4 in that a very incomplete and shoddy police investigation along with hiding details and manipulating witnesses was involved, I don’t think any reasonable person would dispute that. If the goal of Serial and/or Undisclosed was to debunk the State’s case as it was presented in court, then I believe they both hit a grand slam. What I found interesting and the reason for my comment was that Jay’s newest story (midnight burial) in late 2014 just happens to align with lividity analysis that I didn’t see publicly anywhere until the Undisclosed podcast published it. I understand Jay’s motivation to change the story in 1999/2000 between trying to keep himself out of trouble, his friends out of trouble and/or simply complying to police coercion, but why craft a completely new story in 2014? By the stroke of luck, his new story now aligns with a more realistic burial time-frame? I’m not attempting to convince anyone who did or did not commit the crime. With the lack of evidence as a result of the original investigation, you could create a compelling narrative for any of Jay/Adnan/Don as the culprit. I’m just suggesting that if the timeline was indeed a midnight burial, then there is no prosecution case built on cellphone records or towers, and subsequently fewer technicalities for Serial/Undisclosed to pick apart. Who knows what happened after 10:30pm that night – too much focus was spent on creating a prosecution narrative to fit the unreliable cell phone records.

        • Matt,

          You make an excellent point. Jay does alter his timeline for the Intercept interview. And he does this prior to a big issue being made of the livor mortis evidence (the first mention I see of the Livor Mortis evidence is on Evidence Blog in February of 2015. The Intercept interview with Jay is published in December 2014).

          Here’s the thing, though, the livor mortis evidence was always there. It is in the autopsy report from February 9, 1999: https://viewfromll2.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/autopsy-report.pdf

          And the livor mortis evidence does more than contradict the State’s (and Jay’s) timeline of the crime, that evidence also contradicts the entire story of what happened.

          For Hae’s livor to have set so evenly she would have to have lain prone (flat) just after being killed, undisturbed, for 8 to 10 hours. As in, she had to be on some surface that would allow for her 5 foot 8-inch frame to have been supported without bending of her extremities. And Jay does not address this fact at all in his interview.

          Jay mentions seeing Hae folded up in her own trunk in the afternoon, as he stands with Adnan in front of his grandmother’s house.

          Then his new story gets super weird, because after leaving Adnan at 7ish, suddenly at midnight Adnan just shows up at Jay’s home, unannounced apparently, and takes Jay to Hae’s car where she is still curled up on her side in her own trunk.

          So even if the midnight hour is in more in keeping with when Hae could have been buried–based on livor evidence on her body, it’s not in keeping with the livor itself—the evenly distributed full frontal lividity.

          For Jay’s new story to work with that evidence, Adnan would have to have shown Jay Hae’s body at around 3pm, then taken her body out of her own trunk, lay her prone on a soft even surface for about 8 hours and then put her back into the trunk of her car, before then driving himself in his own car to Jay’s home.

          Makes no sense. Where would Adnan have kept Hae’s body in that position for 8 or so hours? He lived with his parents at home. His vehicle was not large enough to keep the body laid out in that position, beside the fact that Jay had Adnan’s vehicle anyway, until at least 7 pm.

          The manner in which livor set seems to indicate that Hae was not laying on the floor of a park or forest. There were no markings that resembled twigs, or uneven ground, etc. And there is nothing to indicate that Hae was put back into her car with dirt on her.

          Jay’s story has been all over the place from the start.

          But I think you are right, there is something odd in this change to it.

          It is curious.

          • Matt,

            Jay’s new story doesn’t really explain the lividity evidence. It’s doubtful he was aware of that. Full frontal, even lividity requires that a person lies prone for AT LEAST 8 to 10 hours–undisturbed–immediately after death.

            So even if Hae Min Lee were buried at midnight, this doesn’t explain where her body was from 3 pm until then. Becuase it certainly was not squashed up in the trunk of her car.

            Jay may have an entirely other reason for changing his story. But I think you are on to something. I would not be surprised if he is anticipating a new trial.

        • Matt – the new story is just that, a story, and it’s provenance does not lie with Jay.

          There’s only one person it could have come from and, rather coincidentally, that person was also interviewed by The Intercept.

          Why do you think Urick and Benaroya settled on a relatively unknown publication rather than, say, Slate, or any one of dozens of more reputable outlets? Why did Natasha Vargas-Cooper feel the need to lie about how she got the interviews?

          They needed someone who wouldn’t dig deeper than the “facts” they were given, someone whose entire future could depend on this big catch. (Shame NVC blew it with her awful, unprofessional behaviour). Surely you didn’t think that Jay, who was virtually unaware of what was going on with Serial, would reach out to the media, alone, and say “Oh, you know that lividity evidence that’s being questioned? Here’s the real really real explanation!”? You don’t think it’s odd that Anne Benaroya is still his lawyer, pro bono, after all this time?

          Urick is a weasel. Jay is a husband and father, he has a job, and Urick has him by the balls. If that were you, wouldn’t you say whatever you’d been told?

          • Are you suggesting the prosecuting attorney from a case 15 years ago, someone who hasn’t worked for Baltimore County since 2003 I believe, somehow is still coaching a witness after all these years? Even if I believed that, where was it published that the lividity evidence was being questioned prior to Jay’s interview? If you can find that, happy to retract my original post.

          • Aloha Matt,
            Yes it’s all there… Undisclosed covered it. I cannot remember what episode. But everything Squatch has said is 100% True!

            Mahalo and Have A Wonderful Holiday!

          • Matt,

            You are correct that the lividity evidence was not publically being questioned prior to the Wild’s Intercept evidence.

            The first mention of lividity is in Feb. 2015 on Evidence blog. The episode on Undisclosed that covered lividity occurs in April 2015.

            And the Intercept interview is in December 2014.

            But the change in burial time doesn’t satisfy the lividity evidence anyway. As I stated above:

            “Full frontal, even lividity requires that a person lies prone for AT LEAST 8 to 10 hours–undisturbed–immediately after death.

            So even if Hae Min Lee were buried at midnight, this doesn’t explain where her body was from 3 pm until then. Becuase it certainly was not squashed up in the trunk of her car.

            Jay may have an entirely other reason for changing his story.”

    • Matt,
      Just a few comments on your post about Adnan’s cell phone and phoning habits: I believe that Adnan had just gotten his cell phone on Jan. 11, although I may be wrong on the date. It could have been that the charge on his phone ran down by 10:30 on Jan. 13, and that is why there were no calls made or received after that time on the 13th. It might also explain why Adnan just showed up at Jay’s house later that night without calling Jay first. (If you believe Jay’s narrative on this point, which I do.) And concerning the 3 calls to Hae – according to Serial, Episode 1 or 2, because Adnan wasn’t supposed to be calling Hae at her house, (because her parents might pick up the phone) Adnan was supposed to call and just let the phone ring once, and then hang up. This was a signal for Hae to dial “Time” and so when Adnan called back a minute or so later, it would show as a call waiting number which Hae would then transfer to. This would explain the 3 calls in a row to Hae on the morning that she was killed from Adnan’s phone, although why the extra ring, I don’t know.

  8. great job susan. i was listening to ur podcast.and u guys did a great job. after serial i wasn’t that much sure about adnad

  9. The rock looks like a ‘marker’ of sorts to remember where she was buried. Either the killer or Mr S contaminating the crime scene?

  10. I took another look at the autopsy report and noticed some odd things that I wonder if we have any explanation for yet. In the “Evidence of Injury” section, it states that “The pantyhose had prominent defects on the knees.” I don’t remember hearing about this before. In Inez Butler’s testimony (for what it’s worth) both the prosecution and defense ask her about Hae’s clothing and the stockings specifically. She didn’t mention any runs or defects on the knees, and it certainly would be odd for Hae to get dressed up like that but wear stockings with tears/runs on the knees. Could these defects have occurred during the murder? Or could Hae’s body have been dragged to the grave site after death with her knees scraping the ground?

    Also, her head and neck injuries are described as “The junction of the body and the left horn of the hyoid bone was dislocated”, with the hemorrhages on her head being on the right side. Could this mean that the killer initially grabbed her with his right hand – on the left side of her neck – and smacked her head against something hard, causing injury and bleeding on the right side of her head? Does anyone know if Adnan is left-handed or right-handed?

    The last thing is that the exam of her internal organs showed the right lung as being significantly heavier than her left one. Could this be because of fluid transfer as her body was lying on its right side for weeks?

    • Dan,

      I found the autopsy report to be very interesting as well. I don’t have any answers, but I found it very useful to listen to the 5th episode of Undisclosed and the Addendum to it. Rabia, Susan and Colin break it down. And they also interview a couple of experts.

      Also mentioned in the Autopsy report is that Hae’s shirt was pushed up, exposing her breasts, and her skirt was pushed up exposing her buttocks.

      You can attribute the damage to the pantyhose at the knees and the manipulation of her clothing as due to her being dragged, but these attributes might also be indicative of some manner of sexual assault.

  11. Now that I have seen the photographs of what was in Hae’s car and trunk, I was wondering if it looks, to anyone else, like the red jacket has hard, fabric patches near the shoulders which would have caused the diamond-shaped patterns on Hae’s shoulders? It is logical that she would have been wearing her jacket when she left school that day and would still have had it on when she was killed.

  12. Susan, Not sure if anyone has commented on the markings yet, but the diamond shapes could be the “stitching pattern” of a bedspread ot quilt. The scrunched up zigzag markings could be the bunching of the bedspread with the stitching pattern being twisted and distorted due to the way the covering was placed over her to either conceal her or cover her up after the murder. Didn’t know about Serial and accidently heard about it so have been reading up for the last two month. Absolutely incredible how the police and prosecutor’s office railroaded Adnan. Hopefully this can be rectified but I am not so certain the Judges in the Baltimore area are any better! Good luck to everyone on the upcoming hearing. Sincerely Pia

    • Hi Pia! Welcome to your new life of being obsessed with the lives of the Woodlawn Class of1999!

      Not Susan, obviously but, fabric (under the weight of a body, rather than tightly wrapped round like a ligature, or bindings) just can’t restrict blood flow like that. Also, the pattern is all wrong. If a diamond stitched mattress/cover/counterpane were able to leave distinct inpressions then they would form outlines only because only the stitching could leave any impression.

      The object must be solid, not a bedspread pattern a net, or anything like that.

      I know there are a lot of comments here , but reading them will give you a better idea of the possibilities, and the science behind them.

  13. On the undisclosed website under ‘Addendum 16’, the trial exhibit photos include a picture of the trunk of Hae’s car (p. 12*). In it, we see a lacrosse stick and some note cards, among other things. Using the 4×6 inch note cards as a reference, it appears that the netting on the lacrosse stick match the shape and specifications (described above) of the diamond-shaped pattern on Hae’s shoulders. I was wondering if the Is the lacrosse stick netting a possible explanation for the pressure pattern?


    • We’ve already covered this upthread, its not from the lacrosse netting.

      1. The netting doesn’t have diamond shaped voids

      2. Netting can’t make solid shapes. As I’ve said before the best way to illustrate this is sunburn. If you drape netting over your skin and expose yourself to sun, what kind of pattern would be left? It would be lines, or cross-hatching, just outlines and not solid shapes.

      Also – she was never in the boot of her own car If she’d been “pretzelled up” in there she’d have all sorts of impressions on her akin and she wouldn’t have had fixed frontal lividity.

    • Could have been caused by the design on the red jacket she was wearing or the top she wore. Haven’t seen decent photo of the front of the red jacket, ( just a pic of it wadded up in the trunk) and haven’t seen any pics of her top.

    • Please read the hundreds of comments that preceded yours. While you’re doing that you’ll notice the many, many times that it’s pointed out that netting cannot make solid shapes on skin.

      Go and kneel on some netting, even something small like hair nets or fishnets will do and look at the results. I guarantee you will NOT have solid shapes imprints on your skin.

      • When blood pools in a deceased body, it is not the same as an imprint on your skin from kneeling for a few minutes. If netting is cutting off circulation completely and utterly, then blood could very well pool within that framing creating a ‘solid’ shape. But I’m sure you have a legit scientific background to shoot down any theories beside your own. I’m sure that’s why you’ve already solved this case.

        • Though you make a valid point, the only problem with that theory is that the diamond shape is actually where blood is absent. Livor actually does mimic the look of skin left uncolored when the other areas are flush–like when you wear a bathing suit and burn. All the flesh beneath the suit remains untouched.  When there is livor, the areas that receive pressure look much the same way.

  14. I have a question I hope you can answer about how the rigor mortis that was apparent in the way Hae’s body was unnaturally bent at the burial site, coincides with the livor mortis you describe.

    In other words, the anterior of Hae’s body showed she was lying on her front for at least 6-8 hours when blood settled, but the unnatrural postion of Hae’s arms (and the rock on her right hand) show she must have been in a different position entirely when rigor set in. Is there any reasonable explanation for these two positions? Thank you in advance….Your work and the work of your “Undisclosed” teammates is amazing.

  15. I know I am 8 months late but Im a little behind on this, and was reading this today… and thought about the marks and the mention of a rope… could it be some kind of rope connector –

    Obviously not this one… but something similar? (back in the 90’s version). I was thinking about the orange rope fibres that were found or the rope that wasnt tested… just an idea.

  16. Without photographs of the body in the grave, which have not been provided, there is no evidence Hae Min Lee is even dead. She could have been in and out of consciousness and faking death until she could get away. Small animals may have started biting on her after the two guys left her there thinking she was permanently dead. She might have crawled out and hitchhiked to hiding or she could have been clinically dead but revived after the two guys left. I guess the authorities tried to justify charging him with murder when they knew she was not dead by claiming Adnan was physically abusing her and did in fact try to kill her by strangling her in the parking lot, in her car.

    I remember seeing a dancer going by the stage name “Ivy” at Nexus Gold Club (SE Washington DC) in 2002 who looked like her, seemed the right age (early twenties). Ivy said she was Korean, living with her parents (she said). She had longer hair than Hae but three years of growth would do that. The height and weight match. She was one of, if not the, prettiest dancers I saw there so I don’t know why I can’t find pictures of her now to compare with Hae Min Lee. I’ve only been to Nexus Gold one, maybe two times in my life and both were back in summer 2002. That was the last time I ever saw Hae Min Lee (summer of 2002) so my memories of her face are distant. Strangely, I can’t find any pictures of “Ivy” on the internet (even face shots) whereas I would expect to. Many clubs have pictures of their dancers on the internet nowadays. I heard Nexus Gold Club closed or moved 5-10 years ago but I would sure like to get their employment records (from 2002) to rule out the possibility of my “not dead” theory.

  17. Another clue from The Wire-Season 5 Episode 2 Unconfirmed Reports

    “Postmortem Strangulation”?

    What’s Kevin so hot about? Oh, new cutter’s dug her heels in, says it’s a murder.
    It’s not, but I can see why she’d think strangulation.
    Guy’s got a fractured hyoid, petechiae in both eyes, but it’s a freak thing.
    If we weren’t there to see it, I wouldn’t have believed it myself.
    It’s all postmortem.
    He fires up a speedball, then blacks out, falls between toilet and bathtub, manages to get himself wedged back pretty good.
    I couldn’t make this shit up.
    Medics come, pronounce him right then and there.
    But get this – they can’t pry the guy out without grabbing hold of his neck for leverage.
    We watched them do it.
    This Dundalk medic and the morgue guy just grab his neck and start yanking.
    Finally they get him out, he comes down here looking like a strangle job.
    They can’t tell that it’s postmort? On a fresh body, no one can.
    Grab a guy too hard, and you can cause petechiae, break a hyoid, even leave bruising, all after death.
    Fuck me.

  18. I know I’m really late to the game here, but for what it’s worth, I believe the marks are from suspenders used to turn her body over and pull her into the “hole” where she was buried, which is why the bruises are on the front of her body.

    Suspenders similar to these. http://www.suspendease.com/catalog/item/6372956/5878863.htm

    The ends could easily be secured together to make a strap to pull something.

    I believe she was murdered where she was found and left there. Later, the log was rolled some to expose the impression it was in. Then she was rolled into (via pulling) her ultimate resting place until she was found.

  19. It is my opinion that the marks are from the lower edge of the front passenger seat of Hae’s car.

    I think Hae’s body was left in her car for some days after the murder, during which time the lividity set in and the rigor mortis developed. I think her upper body was pushed down over the edge of the seat while her lower body and legs were up on the seat.

    I think when her body was removed from the car it still had some residual rigor and that is the explanation for the twisted position in which her body was lying in the grave – it was the same position it was in in the car but in a different plane relative to the horizontal.

    If I am correct then in the position in which the body lay for the time it remained in the car her face would have been hanging down at a much lower level than the rest of her body and her shoulders would have been pressing against the lower edge of the seat, hence the marked lividity on the face and the diamond pattern on her shoulders.

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  22. Pingback: ADNAN: What Serial Didn't Tell You - Crime Junkie Podcast

  23. I was just thinking about the pressure marks on the shoulders as they could and due to dragging and putting Hae over to the side hence the right side has two marks. I could be totally off but thought id mention maybe its a diamond pattern glove impression. I can see it in my head I remember football players wearing something like this I swear! I cannot recall now high school was long ago, but worth noting and also could come from any other winter seasonal, or knit gloves?

  24. It is my belief that Hae’s body was left in her car in the front passenger seat with her lower body up on the seat and her head and shoulders pushed down into the footwell. I think the pressure marks could have come from her shoulders pressing either against the bottom front of the seat or on something lying on the floor of the footwell such as a piece of timber

    • Hi Susan,

      What happens now. I watched the most recent episode of the HBO and honestly I believe Jenifer is lying. Few points:

      1) Is it not possible to corroborate the claim Jay makes to his baby’s mother that he got caught with lots of weed and instead gave them a bigger fish to fry in Adnan. There must be some kind of police report.

      2) Looking at the Hae’s car (Nissan Sentra) the glass on the window is too clean for a car that was sitting there for two months. Yes the grass under the car is a clue but so was the fact that the car should have been really dirty and multiple snow storms would have left all sorts of marks on the car glass and hood.

      3) what happened to the car? The power control module (PCM) would have registered the KAM’s (Keep Alive Memory) which back then cars already had. I know that for a fact. The KAM would have shown the last time and date the car was driven in terms of elapsed time.

      4) I think Jay is the key here obviously. He gave police a bunch of lies to get himself out. I think he should be approached carefully and guaranteed that he could be protected and not held responsible. The police had him in a bad way. If he is guaranteed that he is not going to be vilified and that if others discreetly get him to know that he couid be portrayed as a victim of police bad behavior then he may be brought to take his testimony back. It appears that he never saw hae’s body. So he practically took a plea on a crime he never committed. Perhaps if adnan is cleared so is he. pressure tactic used by police is the reason for all this bad outcomes.

      (but of course that depends on whether if Jay was actually caught with lots of weed and threw adnan under the bus with a lie or if he was really first approached by the cops because of adnan’s cell phone records) if caufht with weed and just made up a story a about adnan he is a monster and can’t be trusted or approached).

      5) can the governor of state of Maryland pardon him? Is that possible for a murder? Perhaps he can end this issue without all the battle. He would have to be a fair liberal guy?

      Sorry for the long message but I just hope this is helpful.

      • Actually I take my point in regards to Approaching Jay back. This guy will run to the prosecutor and cry foul. It could be conceived as witness tampering.

          • Hi C, I don”t know if you were replying to my comment or not but if you were – thanks. For my theory to work the timber/stick would have needed to have some squarish edges at the very least and have been short enough to lie flattish on the floor of her car. Was her lacrosse stick found in her car? In the trunk maybe? I’ve forgotten

  25. Watching 4/4 Case against adnan syed and the Atlanda Chief ME they bring in said it doesnt say subgaleal hem when I (also an MD) JUST read the report and it DOES!?!?! Which addended ME report states that she was killed in her car?? Sorry I don’t have twitter…every time I think I catch up on this case and think that public investigations are important, I am thrown for a loop.

  26. Pingback: ⇧: Diamond Patterns – Part 2 | ilovebigideas

  27. I am thinking the diamond marks may be from a tarpaulin of some kind.
    It is common to reinforce the area around holes in tarpaulins etc. with triangles of fabric. e.g. the corners of a ground sheet. What we may have here is a small hole (without grommet?) with a diamond piece of reinforcement on either side of it. There are many kinds of tarp like objects. Canopy, tent, boat cover, laundry bag, awning, hammock, holdall. A traditional tent might have a hole for a metal spike on top of the supporting pole, but perhaps would be unlikely to be folded in a way to make those marks, nor two so close together. So if it is reinforcement on a tarp it is probably something I can’t think of. The closest suggestion I can make is reinforcement around the holes used to reef a sail. The ones I have seen are square or diamond shaped, not double-diamonds, but I wonder if anyone with more experience of sailboats may have seen other shapes used.

    • Those marks look like the pattern on some of those plastic recovery tracks (Maxtracks) especially the one with a point at its center. What did these devices look like back in 1998 I wonder… would people be carrying them around the time of the murder? It was snowing was it not?

      • On spring break last week, I noticed someone who got up after a long wait sitting on a bench outside the breakfast joint near our hotel and the pattern of the bench left a mark eerily similar on the back of their legs.

  28. Pingback: Adnan Syed, a Victim of Misfortune – Brandon’s Blog

  29. Pingback: Adnan Syed: Guilty Until Proven Innocent – Leila's English Blog

  30. Pingback: Adnan Syed Part 2 - Killer Queens: A True Crime Podcast

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