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The tragedy that took place in the Szpatowców cave became a heated issue among climbers and cave explorers. Although members of those groups are usually not abstinent, they openly condemned the idea of drinking alcohol in a vertical, highly exposed cave. Still, those commentaries were of no help in solving the mystery of the girl’s death...

As the head of the mountain rescue in Jura, I was the one to solve this puzzle.

The rescuers had rather a low opinion of the deceased girl’s companions. After the accident they were rude, contemptuous and generally repulsive, which is often the impression that heavily drunk people make. Everyone agreed that they must have played their part in the girl’s death and the prosecutors were preparing a charge against them. The only doubt was whether it had been a sexual murder or whether they had only played a part in the girl’s death.


Let me remind you that the girl was found on the bottom of a vertical cave with no harness, her head crushed, her breasts exposed and her trousers and pants down... What spiced the situation up was the fact that the girl’s death was reported by three completely drunk men...


So we knew what had happened, but the circumstances were still unclear. The details of that evening as well as the moment of the girl’s death were obscure.

As usually, although there were many uncertainties, the suspects were generally considered guilty... 

We received the bulky case files and started to analyse them, detail after detail.


When I had read the documents, it struck me that all the witnesses contradicted one another when it came to details. That reminded me of a saying often quoted by my late grandfather, Adam Brzostyński: He lies as an eye witness.

That grandfather of mine (my mother’s father) before the war was a long-term judge in the District Court in Cieszyn and then the vice-president of the Court of Appeal in Katowice (during the war he was imprisoned by the Nazis in a severe prison in Wiśnicz, which he miraculously survived). As an experienced lawyer, he claimed that every person perceives reality differently, so looking at the same situation every person will notice different details. That’s why he often mentioned the saying.


Why is it so? It’s actually quite easy to explain. Let’s take a couple that observes a girl who is passing by. The men will notice her shapely breasts, curvy bottom and long, slim legs. At the same time, the woman will spot the girl’s bad make-up, torn tights and mediocre hairdo. What is interesting, is that both of them will be telling the truth!

They will remember and describe the girl on the basis of completely different details and different impressions. As a witness, the man will say that an attractive, cool girl just passed by, while the woman will swear that she saw a sloppy, badly dressed and unattractive teenager.


And so the contradictory testimony of the witnesses was worth our attention. Although they differed only in details, the puzzle aroused our interest in the case and motivated to analyse it carefully. If we took into account my grandfather’s saying, a complete unity of testimony might have meant that the suspects, after killing the girl, sat by the bonfire and invented the unified version drinking alcohol. However, here the course of events differed, which made it much more probable...


What is more, what the family said about the girl being abstinent proved wrong. At least that time. The dissection proved that her blood alcohol content was 0.3%! It meant that she had no idea what was going on when she died. But what we found interesting, was that her bladder was empty... That was completely against the witnesses, who claimed that during the party in the cave every person drank 6 beers and some vodka!

Adding the amounts of those liquids, each of them poured around 3 litres of liquids into their bodies and as they didn’t go out of the cave, they didn’t have any chance to urinate...

I’m deeply convinced that no girl, even most drunk, will urinate in boys’ presence (and there was no place to hide in the cave). So here appeared a question – what happened with her urine?

There was a theory that at the moment of sudden death sphincters relax, but we took a closer look at the photographs taken by the rescuers in the cave and... it wasn’t the case.

The photograph showed clearly that the girl’s crotch was dry so it was impossible that her bladder emptied itself at the moment of her death. Her trousers only had some dark stains around the inside part of her ankle joints...


What had happened?


We also analysed the photographs of the deceased girl’s clothes taken in the dissection room. Bingo! There were no stains around the ankle joints on those pictures! That meant that the stains visible on the pictures taken in the cave were not caused by dirt or mud, but by a relatively clean liquid. A liquid that after some time vaporised, leaving hardly any marks...


After those elements of the puzzle had been joint together, everything became clear:

Most probably, the girl felt a strong need to urinate and as she had difficulties walking, she made her companions go out of the cave (they all reported it in their testimonies). They all listened to her and followed the steep way back. Only one of them, after seeing his friend totally drunk, protected her from falling down with a long sling that he fastened to the back of her harness and clipped to the ring on the wall.


Unfortunately, when the girl was finally left alone, she decided to relieve her bladder. For that she had to take off the harness (that is why she didn’t have it on when the rescuers found her). She took off her trousers and pants, squatted on the rock bridge and urinated (that’s why both her ankles were wet). However, as she had problems with balance, especially in trainers on the wet rock, as she was stranding up and pulling on her clothes, she lost her balance or simply slipped. Both, the wet limestone and her intoxication made it easy. As she was falling down she automatically tried to grab the rock bridge, from which she was falling (that’s why her shirt was dirty and her forearm scratched), but it only caused her shirt and bra to move up to her neck.

With bare breasts and trousers half way up she fell into the void.



Sadly, the results of the slip were terminal. Head and torso are heavier that legs, so her body turned upside down and she crushed her head on the wooden ladder and stones on the bottom of the cave. Smashing the skull caused an immediate death.



At that time the girl’s companions were finishing their last bottle by the bonfire, unaware of the fact that their friend is dead.





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