Sunday, October 25, 2009

Death in a drysuit

Avon drysuit: slider-tab of entry-exit zipper on back of right sleeve

Death in a drysuit: Earlier today we found two female Escort trainees who had been romantic rivals dead at the bottom of an unused training pool. They hadn’t been dead more than a few hours and in the unheated 63° water and pool chemicals decomposition had hardly started. The first girl drowned when her drysuit flooded and she couldn’t get to the surface. She wasn’t wearing a buoyancy compensator so she was relying solely on the constant pressure feature that kept air in her suit for comfort and venting gas through a wrist vent to control her buoyancy. The security cams were off because the pool wasn’t being used so we aren’t certain about exactly what happened. The drysuit she was using is an old military Avon model that maintenance women wear to clean pools and escorts sometimes train in and the design is very reliable. The SCUBA set she was wearing with the drysuit is an old Drager full face mask with an inverted tank set typically used by maintenance personnel so their hoses won’t get caught in the pool maintenance equipment. The Avon drysuit has a waterproof zipper that closes from left to right across the back of the shoulders for getting in and out of it. In the image accompanying this entry the zipper slider tab and track of the fully closed zipper can be seen on the back of the diver’s right arm. The suit she was wearing is in good condition and the zipper is stiff and hard to work so it is almost impossible for a wearer to open or close the zipper herself and the zipper was partially open which is what caused the suit to flood.

Murder: I think her death was murder. It would have been suspicious enough because of the way the suit flooded. Her attacker would have had to partially open the zipper on the back of her right sleeve causing her suit to flood and trap her on the bottom. But in addition, she was found with her full face mask off and in her hands and she had drowned while she still had half tank of air. It would have taken a major effort of an attacker to pull a FFM off an opponent. That tells me someone pulled off her mask as a distraction so while she was trying to put it back on and clear it they could shut off her air. The stress of attempting and failing to clear her FFM shortened the interval needed to reach the point where reflex took over and she had to inhale and drowned. In the flooded suit it would still have been possible for her to reach the valves on the inverted tank set to turn her air back on if she had been thinking clearly, but she was apparently too focused on getting her mask back on and cleared when she found she had no air and by then it was too late to recover. After she drowned her air was left off unlike what happened to Tina Watson. It would have been enough to have just opened the zipper and flooded her suit because her weight belt had been tampered with so it couldn’t be unbuckled and dropped. In that heavy rubber suit and no buoyancy compensator there was no way she could have gotten off the bottom by herself, but with half a small tank of air at a depth of 20 feet she might have lasted another 20 or 30 minutes before she ran out of air. I think her killer must have wanted to watch her drown and see it happen in the shortest possible time because she was concerned about the length of her own dive, apparently with good reason.

Her attacker: The other girl was in a bikini, a buoyancy compensator and conventional single hose reg and we assume she was the one who tampered with her rival’s suit and weight belt. It seems that she miscarried while she was watching her rival drown and drowned herself before she could start her ascent. The ME says from the fetal tissue from her miscarriage that she had been about ten weeks pregnant and she thinks the massive uterine cramping when she began to miscarry caused her to expel her reg because she wasn’t using a spit strap. The cramping must have been horrible because she vomited and drowned in her own vomit. The bladder of her BCD was empty so she was slightly negatively buoyant, which was probably the buoyancy configuration she used when she drowned her rival and is what caused her body to stay on the bottom. The ME thinks the water pressure and emotional excitement of the dive and confrontation during her first trimester was what caused the miscarriage. The two women were in escort training together and had been fighting over one of the male trainees who they were both dating.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes in the heat of passion, one's judgment gets clouded. The miscarrying attacker probably didn't know she was preggers and was miscarrying, and thought she would be OK if she'd just off her rival. I guess karma can be a cruel mistress.


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Powys , Wales, United Kingdom
I'm a classically trained dancer and SAB grad. A Dance Captain and go-to girl overseeing high-roller entertainment for a major casino/resort