Thomas Mollett – 16 May 2021
Further to fragments of an Opinion of mine published in Rapport (16/05/21), herewith a short expansion to give the more detailed Opinion on the blood in the lodge room (in Kempton Park), a scene believed to be related to the murder of Yolandi Botes. Dismembered parts of Botes’s body were found disposed of in the Vaal River around the time of the discovery of the scene in the room.
The following have to mentioned first. I did not have access to the original scene photos and worked from photos provided by Rapport and found myself on the Internet. With Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA) it is important and preferable to work from good, high-resolution photos, as minute phenomena like spines and satellite stains can provide valuable information (wrt e.g. height of fall). While some deductions could be made in his regard, I, therefore, veered towards a macro-approach, and also given the limited material in my possession, this must be seen as a first impression and not as firm deductions.
Due to the media coverage in this regard, it was impossible to escape the possibility (or suspicions) that this scene may be related to the discovery in the Vaal River, but I did not take this possibility into account in my evaluation.
Indications of two bleeding events
The difference in the nature of the patterns (transfer/drag/swipe/wipe vs drips) is indicative of two bleeding events. The difference in intensity also supports this notion.
While it is impossible to guess the difference in time of depositions, it appears as though the body was first handled on the floor (including a degree of dragging) – which would have caused the patterns in the yellow ovals.
The overall pattern (other than drips) includes transfer stains as well as disturbed blood, indicative of a wounded and bloodied body handled on the floor. The blood that caused the intense drip pattern was deposited after the first event of deposition and may be indicative of an outpour of blood from a height rather than active bleeding (i.e. arterial spurts or blood flowing down an upright-standing person). It is suggestive of a person (e.g. with a severe neck wound) who was picked up and flipped horizontally. The blood would then gush out of the wound/s. The rather isolated nature of the pattern (i.e. also no significant drip trail) supports this notion.
Bloodied of body part handled above the basin
When one looks at the basin, it appears as if it overflowed. But it clearly did not. It is also not reconcilable with e.g. washing of hands or a wounded body part IN the basin. So how did the blood flow onto the rim and down the sides? The only reasonable explanation for these patterns is that it is the result of the handling of a bloodied/wounded body part above the line of the rim – where the body part extended over the inside of the basin to such an extent that blood that flowed from it, flowed onto the rim and down the sides. If the source was inside the basin, this could not have happened. However, this must be seen together with the photo below.
Below the basin, to the side but in line with the edge, is a blood pool, indicating intense bleeding. It is at an unlikely place. Together with the blood that flowed down the sides of the basin (and more towards the side of the blood pool), supports the possibility of dismemberment as the body part extended over the edge. Blood would drip down from the body part as it is cut or sawed, to drip onto the floor in a concentrated pool.
While photos from closer and other angles may help to give a better idea, it appears as if a bloodied body part pressed/rested here on the rim. On the premise that a body part was handled on the basin, one would expect it to touch the rim over a wide area, but it is not a given that blood would be transferred onto the rim, and transfer stains could also be masked by blood flowing onto and over the rim.
What appears, at first glance, to be a spatter pattern, is not indicative of (high-velocity) impact spatter – that you would get, for example, as a result of blunt impact (i.e. hammer blows to the head). It is too widely distributed (and with it, too consistent), and too watery/runny (seems diluted). The indications of flow in the yellow oval support the notion of dilution. It is more likely the result of the washing of hands/arms or a bloodied body part under the shower. The water would splash from the blood source (i.e. body part) onto the wall in this inverted U pattern. The chair (with some blood on, also on the seat) could have been used to assist in an act of dismemberment.
It is difficult to evaluate this photo without scale but given the peculiar configuration, it can be assumed with a high degree of confidence that it represents the fingertips of a left hand pressed against the wall – with the lower part of the palm (bordering the pulse), from which diluted blood flows.
This photo is not good enough to say anything meaningful about what appear to an imprint of a right bare foot. If it were a footprint, taking the tile size as a scale indicator, it would suggest a large foot, likely that of a male. Given enough recorded minutia, a footprint can be identified uniquely. Given the amount of blood on the scene – but based on the available photos alone – the lack of footprints is remarkable.
From the available (and limited photos), it is difficult to make deductions that veer towards the micro-level – such as to conclude that a mark was made by a foot or shoe, or to deduce height of drip falls (as indicators such as spines and satellite stains are not clearly visible), but on a macro-level, the available photos suggest, in my opinion, the following:
Seen in totality, the blood on the scene is that of a person that was dead by the time of the depositions, although possibly first seriously (and fatally) wounded, likely in the room. It is not indicative of a wounded person that moved around on his/her own accord, but rather of being moved around by another person. The bleeding appears to have been passive rather than active.
There are convincing indications that there were two bleeding sessions, although the time between these sessions cannot be known. It gives the impression of a person who was handled on the floor before being picked up at a later stage.
Although initial blunt trauma cannot be ruled out (there are no clear indications of such, such as impact spatter), the bleeding largely seems to be the result of sharp trauma.
Particularly revealing, the blood flowing over the sides of the basin, together with the intense blood pool directly under the edge (at an unlikely place), supports the possibility of a dismemberment act performed on the basin.
Diluted spatter in an inverted U pattern against the shower’s wall (on the side of the showerhead) is indicative of a bloodied body part (including bloodied hands/arms) sprayed off under a running shower.
Especially the aspect of the basin, but also the copious amount of blood – and what can be deduced in terms of sequence – leaves a convincing impression that an act of dismemberment was committed in this room.
With all respects to the victim, but the scene is rather more reminiscent of what you would see in a butchery than on a kill-and-leave scene. While it cannot be deduced from photos whether it is one person’s blood, on this premise, given the amount of blood and time-frame suggested, it is highly unlikely that the victim left the room alive or in any effective state. Severe wounding (and bleeding) is suggested. The mere fact that the (or a) body was not found in the room, would suggest disposal in one way or another.
At the time of writing, it has not been confirmed whether the blood in the lodge room is that of Yolandi Botes.
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