Posts tagged cause of death
Posts tagged cause of death
Wound documentation in the Jodi Arias murder case. Jodi is accused of shooting 30-year-old motivational speaker Travis Alexander in the face and then stabbing him 27 times and slitting his throat from ear to ear in his Mesa, Arizona home in June of 2008.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Investigators have been trying to determine how a 46-year-old man who won $1 million on an instant lottery game last summer ended up dying from cyanide poisoning.
Urooj Kahn won a $1 million jackpot in a scratch-off game in June, after buying a ticket at a 7-Eleven in Rogers Park.
He repeatedly jumped for joy, and shouted “I hit a million!” but just days later he was dead.
Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina said Monday the initial autopsy ruled his death to be the result of natural causes.
“He did not have any obvious trauma. The initial investigation didn’t suggest anything suspicious about his death,” Cina said.
But days after Kahn died at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, a relative called the medical examiner’s office, saying something didn’t add up.
“They just felt this didn’t seem likely, that it didn’t seem like it could have been a natural to them, and they just wanted us to look a little harder,” he said. “In forensics, you have to have an open mind, and when additional information comes to light, you have to be willing to revisit cases.”
So a new autopsy was ordered, and toxicology tests revealed a new cause of death: homicide by cyanide.
“Life’s not like CSI. Sometimes there’s not a smoking gun that leads us immediately toward the perfect conclusion,” Cina said.
Kahn lived an immigrant’s dream. Arriving from India with nothing, he owned several dry cleaners and rental property.
At Kahn’s shop on Western Avenue, his widow said she could write a book about how great her husband was, but she didn’t want to talk on camera.
Kahn was buried at Rosehill Cemetery, but the next step in the investigation could be exhuming his body.
“I’ve been in discussions with the Chicago Police Department, and with the [Cook County] State’s Attorney’s office, and it looks like we’re leaning in that direction,” Cina said.
Exhuming Kahn’s body could produce more detailed toxicology information. Death by poisoning of any type is extremely rare. Of the 508 Chicagoans murdered last year, Kahn was the only one who was poisoned.
Cina said, of the 4,400 autopsies he’s performed in his career, he’s had only one poisoning.
He said poisoning is so rare, he wrote about the case in a medical journal.
This horizontally oriented skull fracture was a result of a side impact when the side of the driver’s head impacted a tree as the vehicle slid to a stop against the tree.
Facial and skull fractures are common. Skull fractures tend to occur in a plane parallel to the direction of force: frontal impacts can cause fractures in the sagittal plane; side impacts can cause fractures in the coronal plane. Impacts of the chin can transmit force to the base of the skull and result in fractures through the base of the skull, the so-called hinge fracture.
Similar to house fires, despite the external appearance of the charred body, the internal organs are generally in good condition, and blood and other body fluids are easily obtained for toxicologic testing. In addition to the usual testing performed in motor vehicle accidents, a carboxyhemoglobin concentration should be obtained in order to assess whether or not the person was alive in the fire. Soot in the airway is also helpful.
Although carboxyhemoglobin testing is generally a reliable way of determining whether the person was alive in the fire, Hirsch et al described 6 simultaneous fire fatalities without elevated carboxyhemoglobin.They speculated that (1) efficient burning of the fire in its initial stages resulting in little carbon monoxide production, (2) an outdoor fire with sufficient ventilation, or (3) “instantly lethal reflexes” initiated when the victim is exposed to a flash of heat may result in this finding.
Conversely, the presence of carboxyhemoglobin does not necessarily mean the individual died because of the fire. Inhalation of carbon monoxide in the passenger compartment from a faulty exhaust system may cause death or incapacitation before the impact. Careful attention to the injuries and determining whether they are postmortem or antemortem are necessary to differentiate this scenario.
If carboxyhemoglobin is not detected, cyanide testing may be indicated, as certain materials in vehicles generate hydrogen cyanide gas
Deaths due to fires represent 2-3% of all motor vehicle fatalities. And although collision-related motor vehicle fires represent 3% of all causes of motor vehicle fires, they account for the majority of the fatalities.This is likely due to occupants becoming trapped in vehicles (due to intrusion or chassis deformation preventing the doors from opening) or they are incapacitated so that they cannot escape. An example of a vehicle that sustained a car fire is shown in the photos.
Most fatalities in car fires result in full-body or nearly full-body charring, with relative sparing of the back if the individual is still in the car seat. In these cases, identification becomes the most important issue facing the medical examiner’s or coroner’s office. After that, the cause of death must be determined. Was it because of the fire, blunt trauma, or both?
Bloodied and riddled with bullets, a man’s body sat slumped over for hours in a parked car — its engine running and windshield wipers flapping long after the rain stopped — as passersby, including school children, came and went throughout the day, Bridgeport police said Friday.
Police on patrol found the man’s body at about 6 p.m. Wednesday in the residential North End neighborhood called Sunshine Circle, according to The Connecticut Post.
“They banged on the window and got no response,” Detective Keith Bryant, a police spokesman, told the Post. “He was slumped over the wheel.”
Neighbors told police they heard gunshots at about 11 a.m. Wednesday, but no one reported a shooting. Some residents say they saw the car as early as 9 a.m., but little else.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead, finding multiple gunshot wounds to his torso, police said. Detectives said they have no motive. Police said the victim has not been positively identified and planned to release his name later Friday.
Police said the Nissan Maxima’s darkly tinted windows obscured the man’s body from view, but Bryant said someone could have reported the gunshots earlier in the day. Residents of the neighborhood near a public housing complex “have become numb to unusual noises, even gunshots, and they probably didn’t react to it at all. And that’s not good,” Bryant told the Post.
Only a rusty fence separates the neighborhood from an area where gunfire is commonplace, the Post reported, and residents have been worried about the increase in drug activity.
Councilman Warren Blunt, who represents the city’s 135th District, has promised residents he’d fight to curtail the drug-related violence by working with police to create a surveillance plan and increase patrols, according to the Post.
“It’s an ongoing struggle,” Blunt told the Post.
There have been 20 homicides in Bridgeport so far this year, matching the total number for all of 2011, according to the Post.
In May, 20-year-old Kaqwan Glenn was fatally shot where Wednesday’s gunshot victim was found in the parked car, police said.
There are any number of reasons why a body might be exhumed for forensic analysis but they must first be deemed justified by a judge before an order to exhume will be issued.
It is important to examine first of all why forensics dictates that a body might need to be exhumed. There have been, in the past, mistakes made when it has come to making a proper case for the defense or the prosecution in a murder trial for example: as a result of this important information may have been overlooked or identification of the victim made in error.
As we have already mentioned briefly a corpse may be exhumed for a number of reasons. Here we list the most common:
It may not happen as often nowadays but in times passed the misidentification of a corpse was something that could take place. This normally occurred if the corpse was dressed in a similar way to say a missing person: or indeed if they had a similar height and build. The law says that every effort must be made to correctly identify the deceased before they are given over for burial.
The exhumation of a corpse can help provide valuable DNA analysis as well as blood and tissue samples which can be used to positively identify a corpse that has been buried for some time.
This is also something that is used as an important part of any forensic education.
With so many advances in forensic medicine it is now possible to exhume a body that has been buried for a number of years and take bone and DNA samples to prove if the victim had been poisoned. In the fifties, sixties and seventies such testing was non existent so unless a pathologist was one hundred per cent convinced the victim had been poisoned – accidentally or otherwise – it was nearly impossible to prove. These new tests enable cases to be tried under law which might have gone untried indefinitely.
Sometimes things happen to the human body that may not have any bearing on an investigation at the time but may prove vital later on. Medicine and science have now begun to work in tandem to provide crucial evidence in murder trials regarding trace evidence which – although collected at the time – may have provided no clue as to motive or indeed killer. Some trace evidence like pollen from plants or seeds from grass may have originally given no clue to where the crime took place but exhuming the body now that there have been so many advances can have a staggeringly high success rate.
As we have already mentioned forensic science and forensic medicine have moved on substantially as the years have passed. So much so that bodies can now be exhumed in order to pinpoint the exact type of weapon that was used to inflict the killer blow or shot. In years gone by this was not always possible and the law had to make do with the best guess of a pathologist as to what caused death. Now however with advances in medicine and science which have been incorporated into forensic education and forensics as a whole, such wounds can be accurately identified and the weapon used identified right down to the percentage of metal used in its manufacture.
In essence the exhumation of a corpse may sound like something creepy that should be consigned to the pages of a thriller novel or the big screen but it is something that has helped forensic scientists and forensic pathologists alike provide legal teams with concrete evidence that not everything was as it seemed when the victim died.
The Virtual Autopsy Table is a unique new medical visualization tool that allows people to explore the inside of a human body. With its intuitive gesture based interface, the Virtual Autopsy Table totally changes the way users interact with volumetric medical data. Multiple users can interact collaboratively and simultaneously, working with large and complex data to gain deeper understanding and insight into the functions and processes inside the body.
The Virtual Autopsy is already utilized successfully to complement conventional autopsies. It dispenses with the need for invasive surgical procedures allowing medical experts to see things that would be difficult to discover with traditional methods. The technique is also used in other areas of traditional health care such as pre-surgery planning, other types of examination, education etc.
The table can also, for educational purposes, be used in education environments and in public institutions such as museums, Science and Technology centers.
The table is developed by the Interactive Institute in collaboration with Norrköping Visualization Center and Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV) in Linköping, Sweden.
Fatal case of CO poisoning displaying pink discoloration
Criminal poisoning is the result of available poison or poisons being administered to a victim of choice by one with criminal intent
Profile of a typical poisoner
Caucasian; male; average to above average intelligence; underachiever; inadequate personality; non-athletic; cowardly; neat and orderly; meticulous; loner; careful planner; and non confrontational (either physically or psychologically).