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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220435 Find in a Library
Title: Suicidal Hanging Resulting in Complete Decapitation--Forensic, Radiological, and Anthropological Studies: A Case Report
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:52  Issue:5  Dated:September 2007  Pages:1190-1193
Author(s): Fabrice Dedouit M.D.; Gilles Tournel M.D., Ph.D.; Anne Becart D.D.S., Ph.D.; Valery Hedouin M.D., Ph.D.; Didier Gosset M.D., Ph.D.
Date Published: September 2007
Page Count: 4
Type: Case Study
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study presents forensic, radiological, and anthropological data on the features of a case of suicidal hanging that resulted in the complete decapitation of the victim.
Abstract: In this case, the victim's cervical spine broke between the third and fourth cervical vertebrae with fractures of the extremities of the spinous processes of the second and third cervical vertebrae. No fracture was observed in the region of the isthmus. The spinal fractures were attributed to the combination of considerable axial traction and the shearing and crushing forces. The authors do not know of any case in the literature that describes this severance plane. A circular broad abrasion border of the cervical skin is typical of the severance edge in decapitation by hanging. The skin lacerations are caused by the combined effect of axial traction and radial pressure. The findings on both cranial and caudal wound edges are consistent with previous case reports. The presence of a circumferential skin abrasion at the margin of the decapitation wound distinguishes posthanging decapitations from post homicidal decapitation performed with a sharp cutting instrument. This case combined all of the factors and conditions linked to complete decapitation in the course of suicidal hanging: victim's heavy body weight, inelastic rope, thin noose, use of a slip knot, and fall from a considerable height. Evidence of vital reactions is of major importance in eliminating postmortem dismemberment or mutilation. 4 figures and 13 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Autopsy; Death investigations; Foreign criminal justice research; France; Suicide
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