Beware the Causes of Death
Its a pity Dr. Peerwani's courtroom testimony at the 1994 San Antonio trial of the Branch Davidians was not logically examined, and then compared with the content of the Autopsy Reports his office produced. Much could have been learned.
In The Locals Speak we saw defense attorney Tinker and Dr. Peerwani paint of picture of parents taking children into the concrete room and covering them with sleeping bags, blankets, etc., to protect them from the C/S gas.
The Texas Ranger in charge of the crime scene in the concrete room also testified at the trial. Sgt. Raymond Coffman was there every day after the fire on April 19. It was he who excavated the bodies found in the concrete room. When he found bodies, he would call the medical examiners' office and someone would come and collect them (Transcript, pg. 903). One of the defense attorneys, Mr. Tinker, asked if many or all of the bodies had blankets and towels over them. Sgt. Coffman's answer was this:
Coffman: No sir. Only a few did. (Transcript, pg. 936)
Nor do the Autopsy Reports support the picture painted by Mr. Tinker and Dr. Peerwani. The corpse of Joseph Martinez, eight years old, (Mt. Carmel Doe 52) came to the morgue in a body bag which contained a pillow case lining; the corpse of Rachel Koresh (Mt. Carmel Doe 67-3) came to the morgue in a body bag which contained a fragment of table cloth; the corpse of Hollywood Sylvia (Mt. Carmel Doe 67-4), one year old, came to the morgue in a body bag containing a baby's quilt; and the corpse of Mayannah Schneider (Mt. Carmel Doe 70), two years old, was delivered to the morgue with debris that contained a charred blanket.
This is scant evidence upon which to base a scenario concerning the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 33 people.
However, the Autopsy Reports indicate that many of those who died from suffocation due to structural collapse were found without heads. Look at the Autopsy Reports for Judy Schneider (Mt. Carmel Doe 51); "Martin Child" (Mt. Carmel Doe 61); Rachel Howell Koresh (Mt. Carmel Doe 67-3); Rachel Sylvia (Mt. Carmel Doe 67-6); Mayannah Schneider (Mt. Carmel Doe 70.
Cyrus Howell (Mt. Carmel Doe 67-2), eight years old, was found without a head. The rest of his remains were shattered and charred. The cause of his death is listed as "probably suffocation due to overlie and burial in structural collapse (cannot rule out trauma to the head)."
What happened under the sleeping bags and concrete rubble to cause suffocation victims to lose their heads? If the victims were buried under rubble, their heads would have been held securely in place. It is hard to image how the heads or bodies could been charred or burned off in any fire that might have broken out after the (non-existent) collapse, because fire cannot penetrate concrete.
Unidentified Mt. Carmel 51A, died of both suffocation due to the structural collapse and smoke inhalation. Yet a skull was the only part of that young child ever found. What happened to the body under the sleeping bags and rubble? Further discussion of dismemberment will be found in an upcoming section, Dismemberment and Agglutination.
Inconsistent definitions of the terms "globally charred" and "focally charred" appear to have been used by those writing the autopsy reports. Dr. Peerwani appears unfamiliar with how the terms were used, unfamiliar with the conditions of the bodies, and unfamiliar with the reports themselves.
But the larger question is this: How could a victim of burial under concrete be incinerated in the manner described?
But there is no indication that any attempt was made to study the debris and relate it to the recovery site. As we shall see in Eeenie Meenie Miney —DOE!, there is evidence that bodies were moved after death and before "recovery;" study of the debris could have thrown light on the original site of death and crime scene.
The only debris subjected to study were the spent cartridges which were gathered up with the bodies and put into the body bags. See discussion following.
Among the forty-odd Autopsy Reports written on the remains found in the concrete room/pantry, at least 14 of them state that gunshot wounds were not present. See Mt. Carmel Does
At least another three state that gunshot injuries "could not be ruled out" (see Autopsy Reports of Mt. Carmel Does 63, 64, and 67-5).
The visitor will also notice that almost every Autopsy Report contains a list of the ammunition found with the bodies. As we shall see, the bodies were found in a sea of spent cartridges, excavated, and put into body bags. If the bodies arrived at the morgue accompanied by cartridges, it was because the cartridges had been shoveled into the body bags incidentally—just several of the many hundreds or thousands that would have been surrounding any one corpse. (We will have a closer look at the conditions of burial in Inside the Concrete Room, an upcoming exhibit.)
None of this inspires confidence in the Tarrant County Medical Examiners Office, and leaves a rational person questioning the validity of their other findings.
But all of these problems with the Autopsy Reports and Dr. Peerwani's testimony pale in comparison to the next problem: The "bunker" did not collapse!
During the following exhibits, the visitor may wish to refer to these reference pages: Anomalies in the Forensic Process, Chart of Human Bones, and Glossary of Medical Terms.
Next: The Collapsed Bunker that Wasn't a Bunker Didn't Collapse
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