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Forensic anthropologist testifies in Oldson murder trial
How did it happen? That's one of the biggest mysteries surrounding Catherine Beard's death.
Friday we learned more about how it could have happened as the trial of John Oldson continues in its fifth day. The former Ord resident is charged with first degree murder in connection with Cathy's death.
News 5's Katie Gauthier continues our coverage of the trial from Howard County.
Over 23 years ago, Catherine Beard dissappeared. Her remains were
found years later in a field. Friday in the trial of John Oldson, the man
charged with her murder, we learn about her skeletal remains. The big
question being how did Cathy die?"
Blunt force trauma. It's a term that was repeated several times by forensic anthropoligist, Dr. Steven Symes.
"Any impact on the bone where the bone can't resist the pressure and it fails. It's called blunt force trauma," said Symes.
Dr. Symes examined Cathy's skeletal remains in 2011, when they were exumed from burial for the second time.
"I look at the details left behind by sharp instruments, whether it's a saw, whether it's a knife they all can potentially leave sharp trauma behind on the bone," Symes said.
Almost 20 years after her remains were first discovered in 1992.
"Bones are unique in that they do survive long after someone's death and because of that as we say, it's a moment frozen in time. It's good evidence it's evidence you can actually take to court. It's evidence you can look at years later," said Symes.
Dr. Symes found blunt and sharp force trauma in Cathy's skull, ribs, spine, and part of her hand. There was significant damage to her face.
There were also numerous fractures on her sternum.
There were multiple cut or stab marks on Cathy's skeleton, including her spine. A sharp tool had been used to cut the rib, as well as the hand bone, which had a fairly deep, massive cut.
Dr. Symes concluded to the court "The bones reveal strong indications of foul play and a violent death." and rules it a homicide.
The defense said earlier in the week that it's possible that Cathy was struck by a car when she was killed.
But looking at the skeleton as a whole, Dr. Symes says it's not consistent with a motor vehicle, pedistrian accident.
Valley County Sheriff Casey Hurlburt spearheaded reopening the investigation with others. He took the stands to talk about the distance between key locations in the case.
Hurlburt says the Someplace Else Tavern where Cathy was last seen is approximately 6 miles from the site where her remains were found, taking about 9 minutes.
The trial is expected to last two weeks. It will resume on Monday.
Reporting in Howard County, Katie Gauthier News 5.
News 5 will be back in court with more coverage of the Oldson Murder trial next week.
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