Act of Criminalistic expertise (tent)


Sheet 303

ACT № 199
forensic expertise

Written on April 16, 1959.
The case of the death of student hikers
from Dyatlov group.

April 3, 1959 from the Prosecutor's Office of Sverdlovsk region under the order of 16 / III-59. criminal prosecutor Jr. Justice Adviser L.N. Ivanov for the production of forensic examination entered the hikers tent of the Dyatlov group, found at the scene.

The following problems are assigned to the expertise:

  1. Is Dyatlov group tent cut?
  2. If yes, are the cuts made from inside or outside?

The production of this expertise was entrusted to the expert-criminalist Churkina H. E. with a higher legal education and experience as an expert in the field since 1954.

The expert has been warned on criminal liability under articles 92 and 95 of the RSFSR Criminal Code.

Circumstance of the case

February 1, 1959 on the slopes of height "1079" а group of hikers consisting of 9 people met their tragic death. The group suddenly abandoned the tent. The investigation has reason to believe that the tent was cut by someone.

Inspection and investigation

Camping tent of a group of hikers led by


Сверловск, типография Металургисдата. Заказ 947


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Dyatlov, found on the scene, presented for research in a disorderly-crumpled form.

To recreate the situation close to the situation of the scene, with the help and advice of the hiker Y. Yudin, the tent in question was pitched and reinforced in such a way as it is usually arranged by the hikers when camping /see example scheme №1/.

The tent is made of thick cotton fabric of protective color. The total length of the tent /by the top seam/ is 4m.33 cm, the length of the side is 1 m. 14 cm, the total width is about 2 m. The height of the tent depends on its installation.

From the left end of the tent there is a hole that serves as an entrance. This hole is formed by two non-sewn halves of the fabric and from the inside is creped with a white sheet.

From the right end there is a small round hole sewn in the form of a sleeve and intended for ventilation. From the side edges on the tent attached loops with twine, serving to strengthen it. There is no guy line at the right end of the ridge. The tent is worn down.

When inspecting the tent, it is established that on its surface there are numerous damages, especially on the right slant of the canopy forming the roof /see scheme №1/.

With a careful examination of these damages, it is established that some of them /and in particular conditionally marked damages №1,2,3/ have a completely different nature compared to all the other damages that are on the tent. The edges of these three lesions have even, not elongated ends of the threads, are damaged at different angles, breaking both the weft threads and the warp threads.

All woven items /unlike jersey, leather etc./, despite a sharp difference in appearance /raw material, thickness, surface character/ always consist of


Sheet 304

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3 systems of threads - warp and weft, interwoven perpendicular to each other.

The damage resulting from tears usually follows the line of least resistance, i.e. tear either the threads of the weft, or the warp threads. Such damage is usually very smooth and has right angles.

The cut, under any conditions, always disrupts both those and other threads at different angles randomly. Cut only either the threads of the weft, or the warp threads is almost impossible. /see scheme №2 /.

As a result of the foregoing, and when examining the edges of all the damages on the tent, one can conclude that three damages /conditionally marked № 1, 2, 3 / came as a result of contact with some sharp weapon /knife/, i.e. are cuts. Yet the rest of the damage is a tear.

Damage # 1 is shaped in the form of a broken straight line, its total length is 32 cm. Above it there is a small puncture of the tissue in 2 cm. The corners of the hole are torn. /see photo №4 /.

Damage # 2 and 3 have a non-uniform arcuate shape. The approximate length of these lesions is 89 cm and 42 cm. from the right edge of damage # 2 and from both edges of damage # 3 there are no cloth flaps and it is possible that they had their continuation further.

In order to determine from which side the indicated cuts were made (from the inner one - from the tent or from the outside), a thorough microscopic examination of the edges of the cuts of the adjacent tissue sections was made / zoom level from 0.6 to 56X / .

As a result of the conducted studies it was found that from the inside of the tent in the areas of the cuts close to the edges there are surface damages of the fabric in the form of minor punctures, incisions of the fabric threads and very thin scratches. /see photo № 5-13 /.

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All scratches and punctures are rectilinear. Scratches are observed in the surface damage of the filaments: the filaments are either cut in half / see photo № 10 /, or with them the dye is simply scratched off and not the colored parts are visible / see photo № 5, 6, 11 /.

At the corners of the punctures, on the inside of the tent / unlike the outer tent, there are, as it were, continuations of damage, which are expressed in the form of thin scratches. /see photo № 8, 9 /.

The nature and shape of all these injuries indicate that they were formed from the contact of the fabric of the inner side of the tent with the blade of some weapon /knife/.

All of the above indicates that the existing incisions are made from the inside, from the tent.


In the camping tent of Dyatlov group on the right slant of the canopy forming the roof, three damages of approximately 32, 89, and 42 cm in length /conditionally numbered 1, 2, 3 / are made with some sharp weapon /knife/ i.e. are cuts.

All these cuts are done on the inside of the tent.





* There are two photos №10 in the original Churkina document.

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