Hi group! My name is Heather and I'm brand/awkwardly new. I learned about the Dyatlov hikers during the infamous Discovery Channel...whatever it was. My interest was rekindled when I watched "Devils Pass" which, all things considered, wasn't a terrible movie and the twist at the end was kind of cool....Anyway, I haven't been able to tear myself away from researching the incident all week. I'm in deep--and I'm excited to meet everyone!
I'm a fiction author and I love a good mystery. This one drives me insane. My day job is in medical claim investigation so I know *just enough* about the workings of the human body to be dangerous. I've poured over the forum, the autopsy reports, and all the photographs, but have a few questions to run past the group. Apologies if they are covered elsewhere--I couldn't find them!
1. If Lyuda was face down in a creek, enough to the point that her tongue and "diaphragm" of the mouth was gone, wouldn't the expectation be for some of that water to make it into her stomach? In some places, it seems like she was resting on her cheek, on others it seems like she was face planted. If that much tissue had been destroyed, I'd also think some of that fluid would have flowed into her stomach, yet, there is no mention of water--just a bloody mass.
2. Rustik was an insanely handsome man. Yet, his post-mortem pictures look nothing like him. Would this be from tissue damage from frostbite and the elements? Or this this indicative of facial trauma (such as, but not limited to, being hit by a person/ice sheet/ground/rock/whatever). In comparison, the Yuris and Dyatlov still had facial structure and tone comparative to that in life.
3. Injuries to hands/wrists. Reasonable theories for The Event that lead to the death of the nine could be attack or a situation caused by nature, i.e. sheet ice slide of avalanche. Either way, I would have expected more trauma to their hands. For example, if Rustik had fallen headfirst into a rock or the ground, I'd expect to see fractures in his wrists or at least some bruising--at least some edema. I tripped and broke my ankle running a 10K and it swelled up like a softball in no time at all. Along those lines, the Rav4--if they had been pitched/fell into a ravine, I would have thought there would be more tissue damage. Especially Lyuda. I can see her being slammed into that position by the flood of snow/ice pushing here that way--but reflex would be for her to break her fall/stop the momentum with her hands. If the group was attacked by a group or person, I'd expect to see defensive wounds. It's mentioned somewhat, but not to the extent I'd think: you have 9 strong, hardy individuals and the only physical damage is on Dyatlov's hand and on their knuckles? To me, this means that (assuming it was an attacker) it was a) either someone they knew and had no reason to fear or b) they were corralled with weapons they couldn't fight against. Hence the knives in the tent: if you're being attacked by a person or persons with a gun, it's pretty pointless.
4. Body position. Considering both rigor mortis and soft tissue freezing, my guess is that many of the nine were found in the same positions in how they died. Unless, of course, the survivors of The Event took clothes off the dead to warm themselves. Which, I can see. However, the Yuris are positioned with their arms over their heads. If they were undressed and their arms fell back in place, because they had passed away, they wouldn't try to avoid hitting themselves and the arm would fall back onto their chest or to the side. Unless, of course, shirts were pulled over their heads? Along similar lines, Dyatlov seems to be in a defensive position, with his fists slightly raised and clenched. Zina is the only one who really seems like she just keeled over and froze: her body is in more of a fetal position, with her arms clenched close to her stomach. Also--hand positioning. After death, muscles typically relax. I wouldn't think everyone had would have clenched fists, unless, the theory of attack is correct and they died trying to defend themselves. Is this phenomenon related to the cold?
5. Forensic clues not related to the bodies themselves: well, not physically. When we talk about what they were wearing/not wearing, my biggest question isn't "why didn't they get dressed before they left the tent" but instead would be "why weren't they dressed anyway?" I've been researching what it takes to hike the Appalachian Trail (maybe someday guys, but not until my kids are older) and a lot of it is packing light and wearing what you need. Anytime I've camped light, I just sleep in what I have on. And look, I'm a wimp and don't camp when it's cold and snowy. But The Nine did. I would imagine that they'd want to be as warm as possible--but not sweating--and would leave a lot of those layers on. Definitely not stripped down like the Yuris were to their underwear. I've only done that one time---and that was in the middle of summertime in the United States. Why were they undressed that much in the first place? I can see not putting on shoes....but pants? I'm not meaning this in any kind of weird/sexual thing, but more along the lines of it just seems odd to me that there would be any question of having to get dressed if they had to leave the tent. They knew the risks. They KNEW that there could possibly be an avalanche in those conditions, so, why put down your guard?
That's it for now. I could make a list al night of my questions, thoughts, theories, insights, ideas...but I don't want to scare anyone off yet, haha!
All the love,