Thursday, June 2, 2016
The Investigation Discovery Documentary on Adnan & the Leading Cause of Death for Serial Killer Victims
A couple of days ago, several sites reported the news that Investigation Discovery will premiere a documentary about the Adnan Syed case on June 14th. The preview accompanying one of the stories features commentary by an attorney at a civil litigation firm in Texas who used to "assist prosecutors with complex civil procedure issues." This attorney previously took part in an article by The Marshall Project in which attorneys expressed their views on Adnan's innocence or guilt. With regard to Hae Min Lee, the attorney told his interviewer to
look at the WAY she was killed. She was strangled. Very personal. There was a relationship there. That’s why I don’t buy the whole “maybe a serial killer did it” angle.
So, what does strangulation tell us about the "maybe a serial killed did it" angle?
In 2014, the FBI released a study entitled, "Serial Murder: Pathways for Investigations." Here were their findings with regard to the "cause of death" of victims of serial killers:
Causes of Death (COD)
Primary causes of death were:
• Strangulation (42.5%) includes manual and ligature strangulation, suffocation, and asphyxia
• Blunt force trauma (BFT) (16.3%)
• Stab wounds (12.9%)
• Gunshot wounds (GSW) (12.9%)
• Undetermined (6.3%)
• Other (2.9%)
Other causes of death include drowning, drugs, and poisoning.
In 36.9% of the cases, the offender brought a weapon to commit the murder .
The most common causes of death reflect the intimate nature of the studied serial offenders who preferred to kill by means that bring them into close contact with their victims.
So, strangulation is actually the most common cause of death for victims of serial killers, with strangulation being likelier than the next three causes combined. The second likeliest cause of death for victims of serial killers is blunt force trauma, which was not the cause of Hae Min Lee's death but was reported in her autopsy.
Now, personally, I don't believe that Hae Min Lee was murdered by a serial killer. I think she was killed by the person who caused her to change her plans on January 13, 1999. But the fact that strangulation was the cause of death should not at all rule out a serial killer.