The report says exact cause of death could not be determined
It also does not confirm or rule out rape though no sperm samples were found
In what has come as a major surprise to the police, the forensic report submitted by the forensic team under the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology of JDWNRH says that the probable cause of death of nine-year-old Dena Koirala is due to ‘Ligature Constriction’ or strangulation.
It, however, qualifies this by saying that ‘exact cause of death could not be determined.’
The report says ‘ligature constriction’ due to certain specific injuries on the neck of the deceased. As per the report, there are three specific injuries on the neck. There is an imprint type abrasion measuring 8 cm by 0.5 cm located horizontally over the left side of the neck. Then there is another imprint type abrasion measuring 7 cm by 0.5 cm located obliquely over the back of the right ear.
Then there is an abrasion measuring 1.5 cm by 0.2 cm over the right side of the neck. The type of above injuries made show that these were all made before the girl died, as the report clearly says that all other injuries in the body were from animal attack after the girl had died.
There is then a multiple superficial tears noted over the frontal aspect of the upper part of the neck. The margins of the tears were pale without any obvious swelling or redness. These tears are the animal bites but according to forensic medical literature the lack of redness and swelling indicates it was made after the girl died.
The report says most of the other injuries noted on the body were likely to be made by animals after the girl died or ‘postmortem.’
The report says the girl was found in the prone position which is lying on her belly but it says the actual position of the body had been changed since there was hypostasis in the back.
This in simple terms means that the girl may have originally died with her back on the ground facing up.
The report also does not confirm or rule out sexual assault. It says there was no obvious sperm cells in the medical swabs. However, sexual assault cannot be established or ruled out due to the animal attacking certain parts of the body. The report highly recommends to look for corroborative evidences.
The post mortem of the girl at the site was done at 9.58 am on the 11th December morning and the report concludes she died between 18 to 72 hours before that.
This would mean the death either occurred at 3.58 pm on 10th December or the morning of 9th December itself just after she went missing at around 10.30 am.
The report says that the body was found with the clothing partially removed though earlier reports said that animals had got to the body.
The report says that there was no obvious weapon discovered at the site of the body.
This forensic report was first given to the police on the evening of 16th December.
The report blows apart the initial conclusion of the Chief Forest Officer and the RBP who concluded that the fang marks on the neck of the deceased was the probable cause of her death.
It was confirmed that the fang mark was from a feline wild animal with a leopard being a suspect.
This conclusion of a leopard seizing the girl in broad daylight was met with a large degree of skepticism from the public.
Now with this post mortem report there will be renewed pressure on the police to find the real cause and the culprit in a clear and conclusive manner.
The Chief of Police Brigadier Chimi Dorji said that even though the Forest and RBP had given the neck bite as the probable cause of death they had not closed the investigation. He said that at the time the conclusion was that suffocation from the bite on her throat caused her death.
The Chief said that the investigation into the cause of the disappearance and death of Dena would continue.
The Chief said, “RBP based our comments on the physical observation at the scene and also after carefully analyzing the circumstances. What ever the forensic expert have said is based on their own findings. But as far we are concerned, we are more concerned about the circumstances that led to the untimely death of the little girl. So as far we are concerned, we are not ruling out anything till we can come across some evidences.”
However, he admitted that the RBP investigations, while continuing, is hampered due two two factors.
He said the main one is the lack of any witnesses in the well travelled area as to who had seen the girl and what happened to her.
The Chief pointed out that even with the forensic report there was no detailed and confirmed findings. He said there was not adequate medical evidence to establish a confirmed cause and also help nab any potential culprit.
The Police Chief also questioned why the Forensic Team had only done the post mortem at the spot and not taken the body to the hospital for a detailed post mortem to establish the exact cause.
He said it is up to the forensic team to take the body for more detailed examination and they did not do so but did an on the spot post mortem and then the body was handed over to the family for cremation.
The forensic team head Dr Norbu declined to comment on this allegation by the Police Chief saying he was not authorized to speak.
While the police are investigating, it is now becoming clear that the only possible hope to crack the Dena Koirala case is an eyewitness.
The four-page forensic report, a copy of which is with The Bhutanese, has several more details but the paper is not including them here to respect the sentiments and privacy of the family.