They were quick 2 point out the hyoid bone of #SandraBland was NOT broken…with their desire to make it seem that she was not choked by someone, but it makes this read interesting http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20973326 Fractures of the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage in suicidal hanging.
So, in this study “Fractures of the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage in 25% of Thais who died of suicidal hanging were related with older ages and incomplete hanging but not related with location of the knot.”
But, to DETECT the fractures, they used stereomicroscopic method to visualize these fractures, indicating that many might be subtle fractures that simple gross inspection by a medical examiner might miss, BUT
in THIS study (also found at National Institutes of Health) we find :
“A prospective study of neck trauma associated with suicidal hanging was undertaken at the Forensic Science Centre, Adelaide over a 3-year period from July 1996 to June 1999. There were a total of 40 cases of suicidal hanging with an age range of 17-74 years (average = 35 years; M:F = 33:7). Fractures of neck structures were identified in 19 cases (47.5%) and were more common in older victims and males. Nine victims had only thyroid cartilage fractures (22.5%), four victims had only fractures of the hyoid bone (10%), and six victims had fractures of both the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage (15%). No fractures of the cricoid cartilage or cervical spine were demonstrated. Potentially confusing issues encountered in the assessment of possible fractures of neck structures included cases where there was congenital absence of the greater horn of the thyroid cartilage, where accessory nodules of cartilage were present in the posterior margin of the thyrohyoid membrane, and where there had not yet been bony fusion of the cartilaginous joints between the greater horns and body of the hyoid bone.”
So…that’s two different studies offering different numbers of hyoid bone fractures during self initiated hanging (suicides). Then, we go to :
“In the 20th century, death by hanging was intended to be quick. The drop and jerk were designed to dislocate the first two vertebrae in the neck, severing the spinal cord at that point. Because the nerves which control breathing are located beneath the 3rd, 4th and 5th vertebrae, air can no longer move in and out of the lungs. Death occurs within minutes.
In the 18th century, those who died on the scaffold were not as lucky. The time it took to die depended on several factors—the knot, the rope, the drop and the jerk—none of which had been perfected during this period. Thus, those who were hanged typically suffered slow, agonizing deaths as they gradually choked—their necks unbroken and their lungs still gasping for air. As long as the muscles in the neck stayed strong, a person could dangle at the end of a rope for upwards of thirty minutes before he or she died.
Even at that, death was not always guaranteed. Although it was rare, there were certainly instances of people being cut down from the gallows, only to miraculously resuscitate on the dissecting table. (Read more here).
The hyoid bone (pictured below) is located inside the larynx, and sits at the base of the tongue. This delicate bone is the only one in the body which is not connected to another. Encased in muscles and ligaments, it is very well protected from breakage and injury. However, during strangulation or hanging, the hyoid snaps, resulting in ‘the hangman’s fracture’.”
In this, we find the statement that the hyoid bone SNAPS during a hanging. It must be noted that the outcomes are quite different between a professionally done hanging, and a less than professional one.
We note that even with ropes and a high platform, amateurish hangings can result in the person dangling for up to half an hour, slowly dying.
If we are to believe the story that Waller County is promoting, this rather tall (for a woman) adult black woman was able to use a flimsy, short plastic trashbag to professionally hang herself. Hell, those bags often are unable to withstand the weight of my groceries…they often tear at the handle with just a small amount of downward weight.
If we read even more, we find this :
FRACTURE OF HYOID BONE IN CASES OF ASPHYXIAL DEATHS RESULTING FROM CONSTRICTING FORCE
ROUND THE NECK.
” Some have claimed hyoid bone fracture in about 20% cases of hanging. Some have claimed hyoid
bone fracture in about 68% cases of hanging. They also claimed that hyoid bone fracture increases with
age above 40 years due to calcification and immobilization of joints. Some also claimed that hyoid bone
fracture increases with using hard ligature for hanging and strangulation. Fracture of hyoid bone has been
ascribed to many factors like manners of constriction, level of application of ligature or force of constriction, long drop or short drop suspension, age of victim, sex of victim etc.
Besides getting hyoid bone fracture at autopsy table, it is also very important to check whether it is
ante-mortem or post-mortem in nature or just an artifact. For this difficulty some have even advised preautopsy X-ray of the neck structures to detect ante-mortem hyoid bone fracture. Observing the importance given to hyoid bone fracture in hanging, ligature strangulation and throttling cases by many authors at the past and present days, the present authors have taken up the study in 257 cases of hanging, 7 cases of ligature strangulation and 5 cases of throttling to notice that hyoid bone fracture is nil or very rare in hanging where as it is very common in both forms of strangulation”
So, this one is claiming that almost NO people who get hung have hyoid bone fractures, but it is very common in strangulation.
This link http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/How-does-the-hyoid-bone-help-in-forensic-science/articleshow/665804.cms tends to agree with the previous link in claiming that hangings do not generate hyoid fractures but strangulations do…
“How does the hyoid bone help in forensic science?
May 8, 2004, 11.38 PM IST
The hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone situated at the midline of the neck. During post-mortem, hyoid bone fractures are of medicolegal importance in distinguishing asphyxial deaths due to hanging and throttling/ manual strangulation.
The fingers of the grasping hand squeeze the ends of the ‘U’ towards each other, due to which the bone may be fractured and displaced inwards. In hanging, anteroposterior compression fracture is seen. The main force is directed backwards, increasing the divergence of the ends of the ‘U’ due to which the bone may be fractured and displaced outwards. ”
This link https://books.google.com/books?id=Ip1rAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA126&lpg=PA126&dq=hyoid+bone+broken+during+hangings&source=bl&ots=01Xyoe0aFO&sig=gl5v4sWdh2gObE9y0_6Fb4H1r8k&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFgQ6AEwCmoVChMI_orKo7T0xgIVio-ACh3I6woa#v=onepage&q=hyoid%20bone%20broken%20during%20hangings&f=false quotes Reuter from 1901 found that in “typical hangings”, around 60 percent (the majority) resulted in hyoid fractures and even in “atypical hangings” around 30 percent resulted in hyoid fractures. (This source actually goes into much more explanation of hyoid fractures than most do, with regard to hangings).
One feature that tends to play the most importance in whether a person sustains a hyoid fracture tends to be age (though there are other factors). Women over 30 years of age tend to sustain such fractures more than women under 30 (or men under 30). Sandra Bland was almost 30…28. Another thing that matters is the technique of hanging and the material of which the “rope” is made. A real rope is going to perform much differently than a plastic trashcan liner…especially a short bag, when the person to be hung, is around six foot.
These bags =>http://www.interplas.com/trash-bags/clear-trash-bags are 15X9X23 for the 7-10 gallon size and 20X13X39 for the 31-33 gallon size (LDPE (low density polythene)) More on LDPE is found at Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_low-density_polyethylene The tensile strength of this type is “Tensile strength 30 MPa”. So what does that mean ? That MPa equals 4351.131 psi…an outrageously large number…especially if you have had a plastic WalMart bag break with just a few cans of cat food in them.
So, even if Sandra could use a short, thin trashcan liner to rig up a homemade hanging…her amateurish effort would probably increase the probability of hyoid fracture (especially a microfracture). But, let’s be charitable and say she managed to do it. How does this work with the allegation by the medical examiner and District Attorney that she consumed via eating or smoking, a large quantity of marijuana in her cell.
We know that Sandra called a local bondsman in the area, trying to bail out (which would have cost $500).
“Bland’s body was discovered by a jail worker on Monday morning. Bland was hanging by unspecified means—police said she did not have shoelaces or a blanket in her cell. An autopsy performed Tuesday listed Bland’s cause of death as suicide by asphyxiation, but her family and many people online suspect foul play. (The autopsy report which contains that and much more detailed information has not yet been made available.)”
The question becomes, how do people react to consuming a “large quantity” of marijuana. It tends to give a person the munchies, but also, to make them a bit euphoric…the opposite of being suicidal.
When you add all the facts being discovered up, the notion she killed herself by hanging herself with a thin trashcan liner…after getting high as a kite on weed, doesn’t make sense.