Someone already knows the answer to the Victoria Snelgrove case: The radiology resident who read her STAT CT of the brain the night she was brought to Brigham.
If Snelgrove died from "cerebral" trauma, as was mentioned in some reports, then the location and type of trauma will tell whether the death was indeed caused by a pepper ball.
If this pepper ball killed Victoria Snelgrove then it was either by neurogenic shock induced at the level of the brain stem and cranial nerves; or, by internal carotid artery/cavernous sinus injury from atypically propagated vectors of force or direct laceration from a sphenoid fracture.
You can be sure that the first thing done in the ER, after stabilization, was a CT of the brain. They would want to see if there were epidural or subdural or intracerebral hemorrhages. Knowing the purported injury (blow to the globe) they would also want to look at the orbital apex (shown above) in order to assess whether the force of the impact fractured the sphenoid and the apex bones. This might then cause a dissection of the carotid which could lead to massive infarction.
I guess it would be possible to shear the carotid also, but that kind of force is usually only seen in severe facial injuries (LaFort-level trauma).
So, an open challenge to any of the Boston journalists covering this story: Find the radiology resident who read the Stat CT and you will find out how Virginia Snelgrove died.
Now, I am not telling ANYOPNE to violate HIPPA regulations, and this information would have to be square with those federal regulations...but that resident knows the answer.
I know that not all of my readers are MD's, and there has been a lot of questions about my asseverations concerning globe trauma.
HERE AGAIN IS WHY GLOBE TRAUMA DOESN'T GET TRANSMITTED TO CENTRAL CEREBRAL STRUCTURES:
The ORBIT is analagous to a sugared ice cream cone. Cut the small tip off. Lay it on its side. Pack it with ice cream. Put a cherry on the top. The cherry is your eyeball. The sugared cone represents the surrounding orbital walls (those walls are in turn surrounded by empty para-nasal sinuses) and the ice cream is the FAT that fills the orbit.
If I PUNCH or STRIKE or SMASH the cherry with a BAT or a FIST or a SQUASH BALL or a PAINTBALL or a 1-inch-long plastic PEPPER BALL, the cherry explodes and the ice cream is forced down (or back) into the cone. The force IS NOT transmitted out the small hole in the tip of the cone--rather, the wafer walls crack and burst.
This is EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS WITH ORBITAL/GLOBE INJURIES.
The brain is situated BEHIND the orbit (the "cone"). The nerve that connects the eyeball (the cherry) to the brain is like a cable running from the back of the eyeball, through the cone and out the litttle opening at the tip. Then that nerve (cable) goes into the brain to relay info.
The cone is filled with fat (ice cream in my analogy). The walls of the cone are very thin -- unusually so for bone -- and surrounding those walls are empty spaces (the sinuses).
So...think about it...there is dense fat stuffed into a cone behind the eyeball. There's only one way out into the barain -- a small opening that has a fat cable going through it. The walls of the cone are PAPER THIN.
If you shoot a bullet directly into the eye, yes, it will penetrate the cone and go into the brain...and if they stand up at The Brigham and say that the pepper ball did NOT rupture and instead sliced through the incredibly dense fat, squeezed past the optic nerve and penetrated the underlying brain...OK I give. That's how she died. But that didn't happen, I guarantee you.