Recreating Circumstances Surrounding Boxer's Death

Investigators utilized a laser scanner to recreate the circumstances surrounding boxer Arturo Gatti's death.

It was murder, not suicide, that caused the death of the former junior welterweight boxing champion two years ago, according to a team of forensic experts. Gatti was found dead outside the kitchen of his luxury Brazilian hotel condo by his wife Amanda Rodrigues Gatti in July of 2009. Brazilian authorities ultimately determined Gatti hung himself from a strap taken from his wife’s purse after a drunken argument, but a team of experts utilized detective work — and the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D — to declare his death a homicide.

Armed with a FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D, a group of investigators hired by the boxer’s family traveled to the resort town of Ipojuca, Pernambuco, Brazil to investigate the mysterious death. Their goal: uncover the true cause behind Gatti’s demise. While local police declared a suicide amid months of investigations and mounting suspicion of Gatti’s wife, the fighter’s family maintained throughout that he would not have killed himself — particularly just a few yards away from his sleeping children. Forensic investigator Andre Stuarts from Call 21st was among those hired by the family to recreate the crime. Working with a team that included noted investigator, Paul Ciolino and others, Stuart used the Focus3D to create precise scans of the condo space. Spinning atop a standard tripod, the Focus3D emits laser light in all directions to create a point cloud — a 3D representation of the reflected data points. That point cloud was turned into a precise animation of the room using advanced software, complete with millimeter-accurate measurements of the alleged crime scene.

By capturing such precise measurements in three dimensions, the team believes they have recreated the circumstances surrounding Arturo Gatti’s death. The team presented the evidence to reporters at a press conference in a Philadelphia gym last Wednesday. It was during this conference that Stuart presented the animation created with the Laser Scanner. It revealed that the position in which the body was found – with the head halfway wedged under a nearby cabinet – was inconsistent with a hanging. The narrow dimensions of the staircase from which Gatti allegedly hung himself were determined to be too narrow and unstable to support a man of the fighter’s build. The purse strap, the investigative team claims, would also not have been strong enough to suspend Gatti’s body longer than a few seconds. Additional injuries and lacerations to the head could have been the result of blunt force trauma used to incapacitate the boxer before he was killed. Brazilian prosecutors said September 8 they are looking again into the death of boxer Arturo Gatti.

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