We’re all captivated by a good mystery. Which is one of the reasons why Serial was so popular. With the exception of a few internet crazy people that feel as though their interpretation of events may as well have been carved into Moses’ tablets, we can all agree that even a year after Sarah Koenig drew the curtain on season 1, we’re still foaming at the mouth for this mystery to be solved.
I’ve previously gone over the reasons why I feel we’ll never have a clear cut resolution to what truly happened on January 13th 1999, but that doesn’t stop us clawing away at the available evidence in a desperate scramble for a conclusion. Mystery surrounds nearly every facet of this case and we’re left tearing our hair out in frustration over sticking points like…
6. Hae’s Pager
As hardcore as people’s nostalgia-boner can be for the 90’s, you gotta admit; it was kinda lame. The internet was still in its infancy, bowl cuts were commonplace and awkward interactions with cashiers were an essential part of acquiring pornography. Staying in contact was a trying ordeal in an era that suffered horribly from Y2K panic and Vanilla Ice, and while cell phones were available, not many people were willing to drop their hard earned cash on technology that was little more than a calculator taped to a walkie-talkie.
Snake was cool and all, but until phone companies could manage to get their shit together, pagers would have to suffice. Their prominence made them a recurring feature in Serial, with multiple people involved making mention of using them. The most important however, is also the most elusive: Hae’s.
The most commonly accepted version of events state:
- Adnan asked Hae for a ride.
- Hae agreed to said ride.
- Hae later informs Adnan that she can’t give him a ride after school because “something else” came up.
I know what you’re thinking:
“So?! What does Hae’s pager have to do with Adnan not getting a ride?! Go back to writing about diet pills, loser!”
Well, providing Hae was being truthful when she told Becky and Adnan that “something else” came up, we have to assume that she was contacted by forces outside of the school via her pager. After all; she didn’t have a cell phone, there’s no mention of anyone calling the school asking to speak to her, and nobody recalls her discussing any plans outside of picking up her cousin. Considering her pager was never found in the investigation, it speaks to the idea that whoever killed her had the presence of mind to dispose of the pager in the hope that it couldn’t be used to identify them.
But unless we can somehow uncover Hae’s pager records, it looks like we’ll never know.
5. The Nisha call
The Nisha call is one of the main dividing forces on the discussion boards, with Redditors regularly butting heads over its significance, so you’ll probably only consider this a mystery if you’re as good a fence-sitter as I am.
As Sarah Koenig herself would say in Serial, this does indeed look very bad for Adnan. Even going as far as calling the Nisha call the “Smoking gun” in this pig fuck of a case. And on the surface, many would agree with that assessment.
Call to someone only Adnan knows = Adnan with phone = Bad, Bad Adnan.
But like everything else surrounding Hae’s murder, this isn’t as cut and dry as it first appears.
Entire articles have been written about this call, dissecting every trivial detail regarding tower pings, how likely pocket dials are during violent crimes and Nisha’s likely whereabouts at that time. So did Jay buttdial Nisha’s number into an unanswered 2:22 minute ringing spree? Did Adnan call her hoping his nonchalance would throw off suspicion? Well, how the fuck should I know? But let’s try and work this out shall we?
In the first trial Nisha testifies that she has no voice mail set up on her private line, and we have a call on record lasting 2:22 minutes, so AH-HA! Smoking gun indeed! We got ya Adnan!
Except… in the teeny-tiny fine print of a 1999 AT&T service agreement uncovered by the Serial team, it’s pretty clearly laid out that AT&T were perfectly happy to charge their customers for the privilege of listening to a phone ring for almost three minutes, so there’s no definitive way to know if that call was answered.
Also, in her testimony, Nisha tells the court that she isn’t entirely sure of the date that Adnan put Jay on the line at the video store, or even what time of day it was.
Nisha also establishes that she and Adnan were in regular contact after he got his cell, weekly even, so it’s entirely possible that she may be inadvertently transplanting a later conversation into the January 13th 2:22 minute unanswered call slot she was grilled over at trial.
Besides, she couldn’t have spoken to Jay at the video store on the 13th, because Jay didn’t get that Job until the 31st, right? Guys? I mean, she specifically says Adnan was walking in to the store while they were talking, not that he was Snoop Dogging around Baltimore in his car with Jay. That has to mean something, right? Guys?
4. Burial time
I’m very aware that I’m going down a road that people who write fart based humor on crappy blogs really shouldn’t be travelling along, but this is a very important detail in this case, so I’ll tread as respectfully around the details of Hae’s death as I can.
With regards to the burial of Hae’s body, most of our information comes from what Jay tells the police, what Jay testifies at trial and what Jay talks about in his Intercept interview. A running theme in Serial’s narrative is Jay’s habit of twisting the truth or flat out lying. So it’s hard to pin point exactly which parts (if any) of the state’s key witness’ tale are based in reality.
Thanks to Team Undisclosed, Medical Examiners have recently been able to analyse the autopsy reports and photos in the hope they can cast some light on the true version of events that day. According to the pro’s, lividity doesn’t usually become fully fixed until 8 – 12 hours after death, which means that the states contention that Hae was buried on her right side, 4-5 hours after her murder is provably incorrect.
Hae had fixed anterior lividity, which means she was laid out face down for 8+ hours before her burial. If the state’s version was correct, you would expect to see lividity on her right side on the portions of her body lowest to the ground.
With this in mind, we have a strong indication that Jay’s testimony at trial could not have been true unless the actual timeline is vastly different from the state’s narrative.
But, as previously demonstrated in the police interviews, Jay’s story changes as new evidence is brought to light. After it became apparent that the lividity evidence might become a problem, Jay altered his story to fit nicely alongside it. In his interview with the Intercept, he claims the burial was closer to midnight rather than the 7-8pm window he testified to at trial, which just so happens to circumvent the misalignment between the states case and the medical evidence.
Why does Jay’s version of events shift with every new evidentiary revelation? Is he telling the truth this time? If he really knew what happened, why would he have to keep changing his story? With the fluidity of Jay’s stories and doubts regarding his actual involvement, we have another piece of this case likely to be shrouded forever.
3. The Crime Stoppers Tipster
On February 1st 1999, an anonymous tipster contacted Detective Massey to point the finger at Adnan for Hae’s murder. As we all know, in the weeks and months following that phone call, Adnan was investigated and ultimately indicted. On November 1st, the CrimeStoppers reward of $3075 was supposedly paid out to the February 1st tipster.
Team Undisclosed have put together a compelling theory that states Jay was the anonymous tipster, giving anonymity a bad name long before the rise of internet trolls. But as compelling as their hypothesis may be, it doesn’t completely rule out the possibility that it was someone else entirely. Maybe it was a guilty party familiar with Hae and Adnan trying to throw suspicion onto someone else, I mean, they must’ve been familiar with Hae or Adnan because he knew about their relationship, right? Or maybe someone from the mosque who’d heard a rumour, or… I dunno, maybe the Crab-Crib called it in as a long-con for publicity. A lot of the signals point toward Jay being the tipster, or at least, being the recipient of the pay-out, but until Team Undisclosed get their way and the information is subpoenaed, the identity of the tipster will be a bit of a bastard to pin down.
2. Don’s Timecards
Throughout this whole process, nothing seems to divide the community like Don’s timecards. And rightfully so. Those pieces of paper offer up more mystery and intrigue than Mr. S could flail his junk at, which is why they were subject to a long and meticulous Susan Simpson blog post, and the reason they’re such a huge talking point in Bob Ruff’s Truth and Justice podcast. But do we know for sure they were forgeries? Well, Fireman Bob certainly thinks so, and Team Undisclosed are casting suspicious glances toward them too. Whether or not definitive proof of a forgery would implicate Don in the murder is another matter entirely, but until they can somehow be authenticated or refuted, public opinion on Don’s involvement hangs in the balance.
1. The marks on Hae’s body.
(WARNING: WILD SPECULATION AHEAD! PROCEED WITH CAUTION!)
We’re more or less certain about what the lividity evidence tells us about the hours following Hae’s death, but another part of the lividity puzzle has us stopped in our tracks. With each new evidentiary revelation, you’d think finding the identity of Hae’s killer would become easier, but that’s only true when the evidence can be conclusively deciphered. As keen as we are to pick up these nuggets of evidence and run with them, reality will always be waiting to jump out and clothesline us before we ever gain any real momentum. The stiff arm of reality for this entry takes the form of the double diamond shaped blanches on Hae’s shoulders.
A key evidentiary element of lividity is the impressions that can be found within it. When gravity does its thing and blood collects at the points where the body is closest to the ground, any blood vessels exposed to pressure cannot be filled, leaving pale marks in the areas where blood could not settle. Eerily detailed patterns from clothing and furniture upholstery are often found on deceased individuals after the discovery of a body, and Hae was no exception.
As of now, we’re completely stumped as to what could’ve caused these marks. Throwing knives, hotel key fobs and concrete grinding segments count amongst the thousands of suggestions put forward by the swathes of Undisclosed listeners keen to contribute to cracking the case, but so far none of the theories have held much water.
So what do we actually know about the object(s) that caused these blanches?
Well, other than the general shape and size of the marks they left behind, not a great deal at all.
Make no mistake, the rightmost mark is distinct. Like, super distinct. That diagram up there is a remarkably true to life representation based on the description I was provided by Susan Simpson. It’s possible that the central marking could be just as distinct as the rightmost blanche, but the view is obscured by the angle of the photo. The leftmost mark is seemingly less distinct than the others, but again, the quality of the photography might be concealing its level of definition.
The definition of these markings is important, because a clearly defined mark could possibly indicate direct contact with the skin. It’s possible that pressure through layers of clothing could produce markings with precise borders, but it doesn’t seem likely considering the amount of pressure that would be required to leave such defined impressions. Remember, Hae only weighed between 120 – 134lbs at the time of her death, going off our assumption that she was laid face down on top of these objects, her distributed body weight probably wouldn’t yield the necessary pressure to leave behind such a precise imprint through layers of clothing. But then again, there’s more than a good chance that I’m talking directly out of my asshole; because there’s no way to test either hypothesis without first knowing what object caused these markings.
Please keep in mind, I’m the furthest thing from a medical examiner you’re ever likely to encounter; I once came incredibly close to flushing a perfectly good goldfish down the toilet because I netted the deceased fish’s grieving tank-mate by mistake. So don’t take my word as anything other than the aimless ramblings of some internet weirdo who once had to rescue a very alive –albeit confused– goldfish from a toilet bowl.
If you put a gun to my head, I’d say whatever it was that caused these marks was firmly in contact with her skin. And then I’d call the police; because Jesus Christ, man! You just put a gun to my head!
My medically uninitiated mind can easily accept that both sets of circumstances would produce the general outline of these markings, but there’s one tiny little detail that makes me lean toward the direct contact hypothesis:
Again, I can’t emphasise enough how little I know in regards to medical evidence, so if you happen to have an education on the subject, feel free to correct me. Or if you’d prefer, cut a switch from your yard, mail it to me, and I’ll happily beat myself bloody for having the audacity to talk utter bollocks about your field of study.
Susan made it clear in her blog; that divot is tiny. The whole double diamond shape itself is a mere 2 1/2 inches tall, so the circumference of that divot can’t be more than a few millimetres. It just doesn’t seem possible that a detail so small and defined would be transferable through a shirt and jacket. Unless the hole at the centre was larger than what is visible on the blanches and the clothing bridged the gap slightly; leaving behind a small area that wasn’t subject to the same pressure.
Once more to clarify; here is a recent photo of me not being a medical expert:
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