Sunday, December 29, 2013

Krystle Campbell died of cardiac arrest

It is unknown if the defense team of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is still struggling to obtain autopsy records of the three expired victims of the bombings. In the case of Krystle Campbell - unlike the other two victims -, they are in part substitutable by the report of Allan Panter, the physician who was accidentally at the first bomb site, was unharmed, and tried to save her life. His account is somewhat surprising, in his own words: puzzling.

Update 12/30/13: CNN aired an interview with Dr. Panter on the evening of April 15th, earlier than O'Reilly and probably the earliest TV interview with him at all.

MORGAN: Thanks very much. I want to bring in Dr. Alan Painter and his wife, Theresa. Alan Painter is a doctor at the E.R., Boston -- treating the Boston Marathon victims today. His wife actually ran in the marathon today. An extraordinary day for the family. Welcome to you, Dr. Painter. Can you tell me when you first heard what had happened today?

DR. ALAN PAINTER, TREATING BOSTON MARATHON VICTIMS: I was standing about 20, 25 feet from the initial blast, so I knew immediately what was going on.

MORGAN: Obviously you knew that your wife Theresa was running. Your first thoughts I guess must have been where on earth she was and was she safe.

PAINTER: It was. And I would like to commend the Boston Athletic Association and the police, paramedics here, they did an outstanding job. My wife was about two-tenths of a mile from the finish line and they pushed her back from the second blast area so it was pretty impressive, their response.

MORGAN: Theresa, you were running in the marathon. You were near the finishing line. What was your reaction when you heard the first explosion go off? THERESA PAINTER, BOSTON MARATHON RUNNER: Well, I really wasn't paying attention and then when I heard the bomb and saw the reaction of the spectators, I was just alarmed. And then I was pushed back by a spectator, and Boston Athletic officials grabbed a bunch of us and pushed us back. So it was pretty upsetting.

MORGAN: And Dr. Painter, you actually went to the Harris Regional Medical Center, I believe. Is that right? Were you treating people there today?

DR. PAINTER: No. I was treating people on the streets and assisted transferring them into the medical tent. I work in Harris Regional Medical Center in (INAUDIBLE) North Carolina.

MORGAN: So you were actually treating people on the streets. What were you seeing? What was the type of injury, how many people did you see injured there?

DR. PAINTER: I saw at least six to seven people down next to me. They protected me from the blast. One lady expired, one lady -- one gentleman lost both his limbs, lower extremities. Most of the injuries were lower extremities. I could not figure out why the young lady had expired, could not find any injury on her thorax. The other people I saw were mainly lower extremity injuries.

MORGAN: Have you ever seen injuries like this in your time working in Boston?

DR. PAINTER: No. I have not had experience with blast injuries in the past. I'm not military, so basically I'm used to more gunshot wounds.

O'REILLY: So first tell us about the woman who eventually died, Doctor - were you the first on scene there?

PANTER: I was one of the first, I don't know if I was the first one. Several people converged on the mass of bodies. We pulled a gentleman out from under her and then began working on her, too. She was basically in an arrest at the time. We thought we had a faint pulse. We started CPR (unintelligible) pulse or not. We started to kind of breathe her using an ambu bag. We ended up transporting her to the medical tent where she unfortunately expired.

O'REILLY: So she went into cardiac arrest, did she have other injuries from the bombing?

PANTER: She had injuries that we could visualize of her lower extremities, but could not find any obvious injury to her chest or abdomen, which was kind of puzzling. There was no evidence of shrapnel wounds to her chest that we could find on a cursory examining that we did. It was kind of puzzling. I don't know were these totally blast effects or what that caused the arrest.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure for manually preserving brain function until further measures to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest. It is indicated in those who are unresponsive with no breathing or abnormal breathing, for example, agonal respirations. (Source: Wikipedia)

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. SCA usually causes death if it's not treated within minutes.

To understand SCA, it helps to understand how the heart works. The heart has an electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. Problems with the heart's electrical system can cause irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias.

There are many types of arrhythmias. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. Some arrhythmias can cause the heart to stop pumping blood to the body—these arrhythmias cause SCA.

SCA is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack occurs if blood flow to part of the heart muscle is blocked. During a heart attack, the heart usually doesn't suddenly stop beating. SCA, however, may happen after or during recovery from a heart attack.

People who have heart disease are at higher risk for SCA. However, SCA can happen in people who appear healthy and have no known heart disease or other risk factors for SCA.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

FBI-released photo: remnants of the second bomb?

In the evening of April 16th, Associated Press released a few photos of remnants of the Marathon bombs, obtained from the FBI and the DHS. Most of these photos show deformed parts of a pressure cooker. The picture above - which belongs to this set of photos - shows a torn black backpack which served as a container for one of the pressure cookers. The Guardian has a good overview of what has been released.

It was not reported whether the torn backpack was found at the first or the second bomb site. For Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, this question is of potential live-saving importance because the scrap piece clearly doesn't belong to his light-colored bag.

The background of the photo shows asphalt and a line marking. Thus the object lies on the street, not on the sidewalk. The photo was obviously shot before the object was picked up and saved by forensic experts. Thus the photo shows almost surely Boylston street, and the only remaining question is if it was taken at the first or the second bomb site. The marking helps to answer this question: it is too wide (at least 1 foot, compared with the backpack) to be one of the slim lane segregation markings, and the tire imprints are transversal to the line, which leads to the same result: it must belong either to a stop line or a crosswalk as they occur at crossings.

There is a crossing very close to the second bomb site, with a stop line and a crosswalk. There is no crossing and therefore no 1 foot wide line marking in the immediate vicinity of the first bomb site. Conclusion: the photo must have been shot at the second bomb site. In any case, the defense must call out the FBI on the object's place of finding.

Moreover, there is no object visible on photos of the aftermath of the first bomb site which could possibly be the scrap piece in the FBI photo. But aftermath photos and videos of the second bomb site very well show such an object, right at the stop line near the Forum. It is the biggest scrap piece on the street and matches in size, shape and color the torn backpack in the FBI photo. Lacking any alternative, it is most probably the backpack of the photo.

Here is a selection of pictures taken within the first five minutes after the explosion (for the original URLs, see here and here). The object in question is framed by a yellow rectangle. The times indicate minutes/seconds after the second blast. They have been determined with the help of the Fred Land video - see here.




3:02 (0:23 in the Daniel Robert video; from 0:20 to 0:30 the object is distinctly visible in the lower right corner).

At some time between 3:10 and 4:30, the object has moved (probably inadvertently kicked) 3 feet towards the stop line, now matching the position of the FBI photo.



Thursday, December 05, 2013

April 17, 2013: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spotted on surveillance video, wanted as a witness

Update 12/10/2013: I added the transcript of another CBS News clip with Bob Orr to the appendix, aired at about 3:38 p.m. on April 17th. Orr reports that investigators were matching cell phone logs with images from a young white man with a white baseball cap. The images were taken from the Lord & Taylor video and processed by facial recognition software - but the suspect was not yet identified and not yet called a suspect. 

For a better understanding, the reader is advised to read my preceding blog entry at first in case he doesn't know it already.
This CBS News webpage from April 17th comprises a video clip and a text. Both of them clearly refer to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev while he's standing in front of the Forum, makes his phone call, and moves away before the explosion, just as it is described in the criminal complaint. The TV clip was aired at about 2:40 p.m., with Bob Orr reporting a "man with a white baseball cap backwards" to anchorman Scott Pelley; the text is dated 6:45 p.m. and adds a comment by CBS's "special FBI consultant" John Miller. A transcript of the video snippet is in the appendix.

The earlier "arrested suspect" story, primarily but way not exclusively promoted by John King of CNN, was just in meltdown when Orr broke the new information. The crucial question is now of course whether the man reported by Orr (i.e. Tsarnaev) is identical to the individual reported by King.

At first it is important to note that Tsarnaev was not firmly considered a suspect by CBS's sources. Orr himself delivers no assessment, but his dialog partner Pelley carefully outlines the FBI's approach: Tsarnaev was "a person they want to speak with", "either a witness or potentially a suspect". How did Pelley achieve these informations? Certainly it was Orr who told him about the development and the status of Tsarnaev before the program started.

There are many additional points why it's impossible that Tsarnaev is King's suspect:

- CNN reported a dark skinned male, but Tsarnaev's skin is not dark, and CBS described him here explicitly as a "white male".

- CNN reported that the suspect planted a black bag at the bomb site, but Tsarnaev's bag was light-colored; a fact not changed at all by CBS also mentioning a black backpack. This error was probably induced by the inflationary usage of the term "black backpack" in the hours before.

- CNN excitedly reported a big breakthrough; but according to CBS, the FBI regarded Tsarnaev only as a person to speak with, a witness, or a potential suspect at most. These attributes hardly constitute an exciting breakthrough.

- CNN emphasized the outstanding role of the Lord & Taylor surveillance video and the enhancement techniques applied to it, enabling a clear facial recognition of the suspect; CBS concentrated solely on the evaluation of the cell phone call logs.

- CNN reported the arrest of the suspect; but Tsarnaev was not arrested on that day.

John Miller's comment in the text part of the link is more food for thought:
CBS News senior correspondent John Miller said that the big case Wednesday was whether to make the case to release that photo and go out and say this is the person who is being sought or to hold that back.

"It's been a tough call," said Miller. "For investigators, there's always a difficult choice because if the person doesn't know you're looking for him, he may stay in place, you may catch up to him. If he does know you're looking for him, he may run. On the other hand, if you don't get him, it's always great to enlist 20 million or so more eyes in the public who may be able to give you a location right away. That's not going to happen tonight anymore. It was going to happen earlier -- they've rethought that. It may happen with the release of that picture tomorrow. They're reassessing."
At first, Miller abandons the caution of Pelley and Orr; for him, Tsarnaev is definitely no witness, but a suspect. Then he explains at length why the FBI has not released a photo of the "person": because he may be warned and run away. Miller apparently doesn't realize that the leaked details about the person (white baseball cap backwards etc.) were too vague for the "20 million public eyes" to identify him, but easily sufficient for the person himself to recognize that he was the one the investigators were looking for. In other words, it was extremely stupid and a lose-lose decision to release vague verbal information about a wanted person instead of a photo.

So what does Miller try to achieve with these ill-considered remarks? They look like an attempt to explain the information clutter on April 17th through the alleged "difficult choice" between releasing a photo and holding it back. But as investigators have obviously made the worst choice at all, i.e. releasing vague verbal information instead of photos, this explanation requires extremely stupid investigators and is therefore extremely unlikely.
Miller's real intention seems to be to downplay the damaging early reports about the dark-skinned suspect by identifying him with Tsarnaev: the public is told that the (alleged) confusion at CNN and Boston Globe arose only because investigators could not agree on how to handle the case. Again Miller outs himself as a gatekeeper for the FBI.

Appendix: CBS News transcript April 17th, 2:40 p.m. 

SCOTT PELLEY: There has been a development in the Boston Marathon bombing. Police and FBI investigators have identified at least one person that they want to speak with, a person that was identified on surveillance camera video and was apparently either a witness or potentially a suspect in the bombing. Our Bob Orr has been talking to his sources in Washington and can give us more information about how this person was identified and maybe located – Bob?

BOB ORR: Scott, we have quite a bit of information actually, and they have done lot of police work in the last 24 hours to get us to this point, but essentially here's what I understand: at the site of what became the second explosion surveillance pictures and tape captured the image of a man standing there with a black backpack. On the tape – according to my sources – the man can be seen placing the backpack on the ground and he's on a cell phone call at the time. He's described as wearing a black jacket, a grey hoodie, and has a white baseball cap on backwards. What's interesting is while he's on the phone, I'm told, the explosion takes place at the finish line, down the race course. As soon as that blast went off this man then - according to my sources - can be seen leaving that area in kind of just mingling back into the crowd.

Now what they did is – they realized what the time frame was when the cell phone call was made. So investigators have done the basic police work, they've gone back through all of the cell phone information from that time period specifically to identify potential call users and ID's, and of course then they have taken the pictures and tried to match all that up in kind of a triangulated way to zero in on the suspect. I will tell you the sources are very encouraged by these developments.Very encouraged that perhaps they're on to a very good lead here, Scott.

PELLEY: There has to be a news conference by the FBI in Boston later this afternoon, Bob, it has been slipping all day and we've been wondering why the news conference was originally supposed to be at two o'clock, then it became four o'clock, it became five o'clock and we began to wonder whether there weren't going to be significant developments in this case as the news conference was pushed back farther and farther. Bob, using this cellphone information, what kind of things would they be able to determine typically?

ORR: Well my understanding is what they did here, Scott, was they knew the time frame from the surveillance tape as to when this man was on the cell phone. So they went back and pulled all the information from the surrounding cell towers and went through the call logs to try to determine who may have made calls. There are user informations, subscriber informations connected to these phone numbers. And that's how they learned about it, Scott.

PELLEY: Bob, thank you very much. Could be a significant break in the Boston Marathon bombing case. 

CBS News transcript April 17th, between 3:00 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

BOB ORR: Investigators will tell you they are making solid progress in the hunt for the Boston bomber or bombers. Surveillance pictures and cell phone records may help the FBI close in on at least one possibe suspect.

Sources say investigators are trying to identify a person described as a young white man who is standing in the crowd near the scene of the second bombing just before the device explodes. A surveillance camera at a nearby Lord&Taylor department store captured images of the man who is carrying a backpack and talking on a cell phone. 

Sources say he was wearing a black jacket, a gray hoodie and a white baseball cap which was backwards on his head. Investigators say the man, who seemed to be alone, put the backpack on the ground. Then, when the first explosion occurred at the finish line about a hundred yards down Boylston Street, he took off. Just a few seconds later, the second bomb exploded near where the man had been standing. 

Investigators now are going through cell phone logs to determine who made calls from that location near the time of the explosions. Sources say the FBI is working with a list of names of cell phone owners and attempting to match one of those to the unknown man on the surveillance tape. Sources say forensic experts will attempt to use facial recognition software and compare the images from the surveillance camera to photo ID's connected to known cell phone users.

Now officials say so far they have not identified that mystery man and are not yet calling
him a suspect, but this is clearly a strong lead, Scott, in what has become a very tough investigation.