Bob Saget's death could have been caused by fall on carpeted floor: Experts

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·5-min read

The investigation into Bob Saget's death is now closed, according to police, with no "definitive conclusion" reached as to how the actor hit his head in his Florida hotel room. The Orange County Sheriff's Office released its final report to the public which makes the case for a leading theory: that the Full House star fell backward and hit his head on a "carpeted floor" in his suite causing blunt head trauma. It's shocking, yes, but very plausible according to experts.

Orange and Osceola Counties Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Stephany conducted Saget's autopsy and said the fracture at the base of his skull was "most likely" caused by "something hard, covered by something soft." Forensic pathologist Dr. Judy Melinek reviewed the report and tells Yahoo Entertainment she agrees with the conclusion.

"The absence of a laceration to the back of the head suggests a hard unsupported fall onto something hard covered with something soft, like the carpeted floor. Had he fallen onto the hard wooden floor or the bathroom marble tile I'd expect a laceration to the scalp," Dr. Melinek, CEO of PathologyExpert Inc., says.

According to police, "there were no signs of blood" anywhere on the bed where Saget was found or "or anywhere else in the suite." Investigators determined Saget must have fallen when he returned to his hotel room in the early morning hours of Jan. 9. The actor had driven about two hours from Jacksonville to Orlando after performing a show, which he couldn't have done if he sustained such a severe head injury prior. When Saget returned to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, he took a selfie with someone who worked at the valet and the "clear shot" of the actor's face shows "no evidence of injury" or "bruising near his left eye that was evident post-mortem."

Dr. Melinek debunks a theory that Saget could have fallen twice.

"The bruises to the eyes are described in the autopsy report as ecchymoses not contusions. They did not come from separate impacts," she says. "An ecchymosis is caused by passive seepage of blood from the broken orbital plates. After the fall backward, the brain sloshed around in the skull and the front of the brain ricocheted against the fragile bony plates above the eyes, breaking them, and causing blood to seep around the eyes. It is incorrect to conclude that there were from separate facial impacts."

When Saget's cause of death was announced last month, some wondered how he could have gone to sleep thinking nothing of such a severe injury. One medical expert even told The New York Times the skull fractures are consistent "with someone with a baseball bat to the head, or who has fallen from 20 or 30 feet." However, Dr. Melinek says doubting the autopsy report is "bad science and lazy journalism," explaining the injuries in the autopsy report "are common in patients found dead at a scene after they have had a simple fall from standing height."

Police ruled out any possibility of foul play in relation to Saget's death, but Tuesday's report revealed that investigators noticed the interior door between the actor's room and the adjoining room was unlocked. Retired police lieutenant Lisa Dadio tells Yahoo "the unlocked door" is something that stands out; however, she believes detectives did a thorough job investigating this after reading the full report.

"The report was very detailed stating what was done by the main investigator along the way," Dadio, assistant dean and director of the center for advanced policing crime at the University of New Haven, says.

Investigators gave a detailed account of lock interrogation reports from both rooms. The adjoining room was vacant during Saget's stay with no activity occurring from Jan. 7, 2022, at 2:36 p.m. until housekeeping entered at 3:09 pm on Jan. 9, 2022. Saget was found deceased after 4 p.m. on Jan 9 but passed away hours earlier.

"It should be noted that the lock interrogation reports show, not only the times that the door was opened from the outside using a key, but also any time the door was opened from the inside. According to this report, from the time Mr. Saget entered his room at 02:17 hours the morning of January 9, no one entered or left his room, until security entered that afternoon at the request of his family," per the police report.

Dadio, who's processed over 200 crime scenes, seems satisfied with the report.

"The investigator detailed the door activity which closes the possibility that someone came in from the adjoining room. Additionally, Mr. Saget's room was locked from the inside, which no one could get in until the locking mechanism was removed," she says.

Saget's family is likely relieved the investigation is wrapped up. While they were aware the final report would be released, they successfully blocked media outlets from obtaining certain death records like photographs and videos from the scene.

"The entire Saget family is grateful that the judge granted their request for an injunction to preserve Bob’s dignity, as well as their privacy rights, especially after suffering this unexpected and tragic loss," Saget's family attorney, Brian H. Bieber, said in a statement. "We are pleased this issue has been resolved, and the healing process can continue to move forward. All of the prayers and well wishes continuously extended to the family are beyond appreciated."