On April 12th at the Ivanovskoe Cemetery in Yekaterinburg, the remains of Semyon Zolotaryov were exhumed. Forensic pathologist Sergey Nikitin was tasked with identification of the remains and murder theorist pediatrician Galina Sazonova (Vietnamka) living in Vietnam was in Russia at the time to participate.
Upon inspection of the remains, it is reported they discovered 3 hairline cracks in the right scapula. Dr. Sazonova believing the Dyatlov group was murdered believes the cracks are a smoking gun that Zolotaryov received a secondary impact to the scapula that is not related to the already well established impact causing the injuries to his chest/ribs. Expert forensic pathologist Sergey Nikitin however does not agree with Sazonova and his conclusion is "it was one single impact, Zolotarev was laying on the back at that moment"
Soon after the exhumation, Sazonova joined this forum and explained her position in this thread. http://forum.dyatlovpass.com/index.php
On May 4th I was tasked with finding a forensic expert to review Sazonova's theory/findings and was provided with a stock photo of a mans scapula (not Zolotaryov's actual scapula) with illustrations marked in red showing the size and location of three small hairline cracks reported to be on Zolotaryov's scapula. Although the image is not copyright watermarked, I am respectfully not going to post the image in this thread.... yet. My initial impression was that pediatrician Sazonova was simply seeking an unbias second opinion that will either corroborate or refute her theory.
At this point I proceeded to invest time in researching, comparing, and emailing some of the top forensic pathologist of their field in the US hoping to find a well qualified expert willing to share their knowledge. Not an easy task seeing that there was to be no funds provided for this professional assessment.
To my surprise, I received a response from Dr. Daniel “Dan” Schultz whom is the founder, President, and Chief Pathologist for Final Diagnosis, Inc., and has personally performed nearly 6000 forensic autopsies!
Dr. Schultz was given the scapula image, chest injuries image illustrating each broken rib and their locations, links to Semyon Zolotaryov's autopsy report, and all case materials including all available pictures etc as collected on dyatlovpass.com. He was asked to make an assessment as to whether or not Semyon Zolotaryov's chest and scapula injuries would require 2 impacts/blows, or if its possible with a single impact/blow.
It is important to note, the scapula information provided by Sazonova herself was used in this assessment by Dr. Schultz
Dr. Schultz's conversation replies are as follows.
Interesting story. A lot to digest, what questions would they like me to specifically address? And if so, can they provide me with:
1. The original autopsy reports and photos if available for all.
2. The original scene exam/findings relevant to their locales away from camp, mapping.
Just in terms of the images of the serial anterior/right midaxillary and right scapular fractures given the company they keep, I could see this as a single blunt force event to the torso, quite similar to what we see in traffics with the same type of patterning.
In terms of blows to the body by object(s) (overt homicidal type blows) and creating this pattern on Semyon I see this as highly unlikely.
At the face of this, with just the body data on Semyon make an environmental catastrophe such as avalanche, fallen rock/etc, fall himself from a height are reasonable considerations.
If I saw such injuries to ribs/scapula in a vacuum, the last thing I would think of would be blows by being struck by a person with an object. The pattern is akin to typical large surface area impact/crush of chest with serial deformity of chest and compensatory breaks away (as in the midaxillary fractures, even the scapula). That scapulat area is very thin and fragile. I aee this pattern commonly in traffic crashes.
The fall scenario makes perfect sense for the pattern of chest wall injuries and scapula. I do not see that pattern as due to multiple blows (but not impossible of course).
The situation regarding the eyes, perhaps tongue, etc could certainly be postmortem predation. I would likely give the original pathologist benefit of the doubt on their interpretation.
Yes in my opinion, being a doctor who sees such trauma commonly (traffics/falls) they can be caused by a single torso impact.