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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Motive, Method and Madness

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  #21  
Old 09-13-2010, 06:17 AM
protohistorian protohistorian is offline
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Default Martha's heart

This is a ct image of a female human showing her heart ( the semi round bright object with the grey stripe on it). Using the average height of a female thoracic vertebrea and the dimensions of my swiss army knife I erased a white line from the skin down to the depth that represents complete blade burial. Notice that the line violates the heart proper. Even if we allow for Marth being larger than the woman in the scan, it would suggest that pen knife wound placement and not weapon blade length was the determining factor in causing death. Dave
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  #22  
Old 09-13-2010, 07:05 AM
protohistorian protohistorian is offline
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Default the black dot

The dot in the center of the vertebra is mine, I am still learning this damned program. Dave
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  #23  
Old 09-13-2010, 08:36 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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Hi Dave!

This is an interesting thread you´ve got going! Since it has been discussed how the heart could be removed from a body, I would like to offer a snippet from "crime library", describing the Amish man Ed Gingerich´s 1993 killing of his wife. It is a gruesome and disturbing story, but it is of interest to this issue. The quotation starts at a point where Gingerich has alreday killed his wife, by means of stomping on her head:

"After a few minutes, Ed dropped to his knees and undressed Katie's body. Once all of her clothes were removed, he took a steak knife from the kitchen drawer and used it to make a seven-inch incision in her lower abdomen. Through the incision, Ed reached his hand up inside Katie's body cavity, and removed her lungs, kidneys, stomach, liver, spleen, bladder, uterus and heart. He stacked all of her organs in a pile next to her body, and stuck the knife into the top of them."

Echoes of Mary Kelly´s demise here, of course, but the main point is that you need not work through the ribcage when you extract organs.

The best,
Fisherman
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  #24  
Old 09-13-2010, 08:45 AM
The Good Michael The Good Michael is offline
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Fisherman,

An Amish man would have known how to disembowel an animal. A wife would be similar, I imagine. It kind of attaches some significance to someone going through the ribs to get at something, doesn't it? Ignorance or anger, or both.

Mike
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  #25  
Old 09-13-2010, 09:25 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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Not sure what you´re after here, Mike. And I could not tell how much disemboweling experience Gingerich had, if any - he was mainly interested in technical details, engines and such, and he had a rumour of not contributing to the society he lived in more than necessary - in short, he was a very lazy man. He was also a very sick man psychologically, and one that did not get any efficient help for this. I have not found any evidence for him taking part in any disemboweling of animals, but then again, my knowledge of the ways of the Amish does not stretch very far.

The best,
Fisherman
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  #26  
Old 09-13-2010, 09:31 AM
The Good Michael The Good Michael is offline
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Fisherman,

Just that I was thinking about why someone would break through the ribcage to do it. Thinking aloud, I guess. I meant that even in the state he was in, he used the easiest method, one that would be familiar to him. So, what kind of person would do it a different way? Maybe there's no real answer.

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Mike
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  #27  
Old 09-13-2010, 09:56 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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Okay, Mike, I´m following!

Somehow I tend to think that the Ripper would choose practicality over aggression, but it may well be that some killers would actually prioritize the hard way - for some sort of a kick, I guess.

Gingerich fascinates me when comparing to what happened to Kelly. He wanted the organs out of his wife´s body, but seemingly had no further purpose for them. The same could perhaps be said in Kellys case, I guess, leaving the matter of the heart aside. One has to ask oneself where the significance lies.

The best,
Fisherman
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  #28  
Old 09-13-2010, 10:48 AM
protohistorian protohistorian is offline
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Default Eddowes' uterus

Not that it was any different than average, but I am learning software that allows superimposition of images and this is a somewhat instructive image in so far as it incorporates a sketch we all know and a modern diagram of placement. It does give some idea of the ease this particular organ could have been harvested in this particular case. Dave
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  #29  
Old 09-13-2010, 04:01 PM
joelhall joelhall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorpio View Post
Hello protohistorian, interesting post. I notice something called the Hyoid bone in this diagram, and i am sure that pathologists state that this particular bone often breaks during manual strangulation. Does anyone know if a broken Hyiod bone is mentioned in the Ripper inquests ?.
It was not mentioned in the inquests as far as I know, although we could use some knowledge of anatomy to say whether or not the hyoid bone was fractured. In order to fracture this bone we are really talking about choking as opposed to strangulation. Pressure or blunt force to the area of the larynx is usually enough to do the job. If the killer of course strangled lower down or put his force to the side, which would induce strangulation he would of course also miss the hyoid bone. The big difference is that strangulation would apply pressure to the veins of the neck resulting in quick loss of consciousness, whereas choking could take a while longer and the bodies would probably show the obvious signs of this.

A choke would of course involve anterior pressure on the trachea, and is often done with an arm around the neck, whilst a strangle would be easier with the hand, pressing from the sides, where the thumb and fingers would maintain opposing pressures. If you try this (on yourself plase ) with a hand around the neck, you will see it is relatively hard to apply a great deal of pressure to the trachea (which requires a higher amount of pressure than the blood vessels to become occluded), but you will notice that feeling of your head 'filling up' with blood - actually just prevention of the blood leaving the head.

Bear in mind that the pressure needed to block the airway is much more than needed for preventing venous flow, and so if the killer was simply looking to make the victims unconscious or did not realise that it take quite a while to strangle someone to death (as in this case the killer showed no knowledge of anatomy or physiology), it's probable the victims would have simply been rendered unconscious by strangulation, so I dare say the hyoid was probably not broken.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Carter View Post
Hello Dave,

This is indeed an interesting little thread. Thanks for starting this. Perhaps with the help of diagrams etc, I would be obliged, if anyone can tell me, how a heart is usually removed from a body? You see, there seems to me a small, tiny, insignificant little problem removing Mary Kelly's heart... It is impossible to do it (as far as I am aware) through the chest without breaking the ribs, which isn't mentioned in the Kelly inquest papers. Intercostal muscles between the ribs being ripped will not enable a person to remove the heart. Having talked to a medical aquaintance of mine, he assures me that heart removal is almost certainly done through the chest area.
However, he also said
"of course, that if one was to remove a heart from under the ribcage, then of course it is possible, by removing the liver and other material first. But then one has the problems of light and sight, and the length of the knife being used."

Now that's what I would call working blind...especially without anatomical knowledge. I welcome any diagram to explain these thoughts.

best wishes

Phil
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Carter View Post
Hello Dave,

Thank you for this. Of course, I presume that the space for the deer disembowellment was unlimited, the light was good and that he (your brother) knew what he was looking for?
I have never done such a thing, so am not knowledgable enough to be able to hazard a guess. Many thanks

best wishes

Phil
If a surgeon was to cut the rib cage open to perform a heart operation, then this would obviously require specialist tools, and time. However, as the post-mortem notes: 'The pericardium was open below and the heart absent. As another poster above mentions, this is possible by moving the stomach and liver, etc, and reaching the heart from below. The other thing to bear in mind is that there are very strong vessels coming from the heart, and it is quite easy to grab these from below (they are stronger leading to the est of the body than towards the head), and pull the heart.

The killer quite obviously must have done this, as there is not a great distance at all from the bottom of the rib cage to the bottom of the heart itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by protohistorian View Post
Here is a pair of images that to my mind argue against the person who plundered Ms. Eddowes being driven by sight in his work. One image shows a human abdomen laid open, the complexity of forms is staggering. The other image shows vascularization in the area of the uterus. This image demonstrates the quantity of connective tissue and blood vessels involved. Dave
The only problem with these images is that they are of bodies which have been preserved with formaldehyde. There is another poster here with experience of the operating theatre who can back this up: In a live or freshly dead body, the organs are remarkable for being very neatly laids out inside. In fact to open a frsh body would present the killer with a very easy opportunity to find a small organ. After death and preservation, the characteristic colouring and elasticity of tissues disappears, and of couse dehydration affects them to a substantial degree.

Whilst all the structures are still accurately placed, the interior of a preserved body bares little resemblance to a live or freshly dead body, if we are talking mere appearance to the layman.

Quote:
Originally Posted by protohistorian View Post
Blood vessels within the neck. Dave
I thought I'd add a quick note on strangulation here for reference. A common thought is that strangulation decreases both blood flow and pressure to the brain. This is false. If you were to press the capallaries in your finger or palm, you would notice the lack of blood towards the tissue makes the flesh appear white. You will also notice if you have ever seen someone strangled (for instance in a martial arts class), that the victims face appears quite red.

In this case it is the veins rather than arteries being constricted. As the carotid arteries are so close to the heart, there is a great deal of pressure to overcome to restrict blood flow, as well as the position of the arteries themselves back behind the trachea and to the sides. This presents a real problem with any manual strangulation, so as to be near impossible. It is claimed that it takes small pressure to occlude the arteries (such as in the wikipedia article), however doing this would of course be prevented by their location and the opposing arterial pressure. Added to which you would really be targeting the trachea itself to place pressure on the arteries, which as we have discovered above is tricky with one hand, unless you are pushing back with quite some force while applying the grip.

On the other hand compression of the jugular veins, paricularly the anterior jugular is comparatively easy. Venous blood is under low pressure, and very easy to constrict, even for a moderately sized one such as this. This prevent blood return to the heart, increasing the pressure of the blood and inside the cranium, making it not lack of oxygen to the brain causing problems, but the inability of carbon dioxide to leave, thus reducing gaseous transfer.

This rise in pressure stimulates the carotid sinus, which leads to syncope in an attempt to lessen the pressure inside the head. This can happen fairly quickly (a matter of seconds), and in fact the speed at which even death occurs can depend on how responsive the carotid sinus is to the change in pressure. I'm not convinced about claims that sinus reflex death occurs in such cases, although it could in theory happen.
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  #30  
Old 09-13-2010, 05:27 PM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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Hello Joel,

Many thanks for this insight. You mention the "pulling out" of the heart. What if a knife was used to separate it from its position in the body? Would this require any degree of skill? And more importantly, in your opinion, what degree, if any, of anatomical knowledge would this killer need to have to locate the various organs and remove them before approaching the subject of heart removal? (the liver etc)

best wishes

Phil
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