skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 229295 Find in a Library
Title: Skull Fracture with Brain Expulsion in a One-Level Jumping-Fall
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:6  Dated:November 2009  Pages:1463-1465
Author(s): Pierre Guyomarc'h, M.Sc.; Maude Campagna-Vaillancourt; Amir Chaltchi, B.S.; Anny Sauvageau, M.D., M.Sc.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 3
Type: Case Study
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reports on the case of a death that resulted from a jump or fall down basement stairs that resulted in extensive skull fractures and brain expulsion, which suggested a forceful thrust down the stairs and suspicion of homicide, but was subsequently determined to be a suicide head-first jump after the victim engaged in self-inflicted hammer blows to his head.
Abstract: Given the severity of the skull and brain damage, an accidental fall down the stairs was deemed unlikely. The subsequent police investigation clearly showed that the man, in a paranoid psychotic state, attacked his wife with a knife and then, according to the eyewitness testimony of his children, hit himself in the head with a hammer several times. Next, the children saw him running to the top of the basement stairs and diving head-first down the flight of basement stairs. The body of the 43-year-old man was found lying on his back on the basement floor at the foot of the stairs (12 steps). The basement floor was concrete covered by a thin carpet. The case investigation involved correlating the autopsy findings regarding features of the injuries to the body and information obtained in the police investigation. Although the circumstances were highly unusual, the injury and death were determined to have resulted from at least five self-inflicted hammer blows, causing distinct small, slightly curved scalp lacerations, followed by a jumping fall in a particular context. It is well-known that once a linear fracture has been sustained, relatively little energy subsequently applied will produce additional fractures and complete skull destruction, which in the current case occurred from the jump-fall. 2 figures and 16 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Autopsy; Death investigations; Forensic sciences; Homicide investigations; Investigative techniques; Mentally ill offenders; Self mutilation; Suicide; Suicide causes; Victim crime precipitation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.