It seems to me that at least in some places, there are limited “slots” for respawning characters. At a certain location, only one or two chars may be found bound, but not a third. If they get filled, the next one gets bumped to another location, which may be significantly farther away. The “slots” may also be somewhat separate in some areas, causing the dead characters to spawn not right next to each other, but somewhat apart. This would also get any particular character to spawn n a random “slot”, not very noticeable when they’re all right next to each other, but can be noted with the “separated” slots. For example, one I witnessed today /and several times before): On Against the Grain, near the hill with the huge tree. One respawn next to the fallen cart with usually a few resources, another under the tree. I remember seeing two spawns under the tree, but not three. Same next to the cart.
Also the boundaries for where the characters will respawn seem to be quite sharp, and as such, even half a meter’s difference can affect the spawn location.
It doesn’t matter where you die, what decides where the characters respawn is where the remaining party (or most likely, the remaining player farthest ahead on the map) is when the dead characters respawn. That’s why you see some groups backtracking when waiting for others to spawn; it often spawns them closer anyway and especially spawns them so that there’s no roaming enemies between the remaining group and the respawned ones. Much faster and easier to release them that way.
Of course, these things don’t explain all the weirdness going on. The rest, I suspect, are caused by simple troubles in level design.