Meatpie

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On a rainy September day, a 32-year-old man was working on a 50-m (164 ft) high Ferris wheel, which had to be dismantled after the end of a local carnival. He was working on the axis of the Ferris wheel at a height of 28 m (92 ft). He wore a safety harness and special work shoes. Witnesses stated that his safety rope was fixed to his safety harness, but not to the Ferris wheel. In this way, the man was not protected against falling. He suddenly lost his grip and probably slipped on the wet metal. He then fell to the ground. Witnesses saw the man in a head-first fall onto the base of the Ferris wheel and hit his head on the edge of the metal platform.

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End position after the fatal fall with destroyed skull. Black arrow: point of first impact with smashed brain tissue. White arrow: fragment of the cranial roof.

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Corpse covered with a grey blanket. In front of the corpse is the point of the first impact of the head (black arrow). From here, a splash pattern of blood and smashed brain tissue extend towards upper edge and right upper corner of the image.

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Destroyed head with a disrupted scalp, fragmental fracture of the cranial roof, ruptured dura mater and missing brain.
 

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Man commits suicide by cutting his neck with a cut-off saw



The deceased is a 48-year-old man who had been suffering from schizophrenia and mental issues after serving in the military. He was unemployed at the time of the incident. Eight days before his death, the man came home with a large box and did not eat.

When his mother had not seen him for some time she decided to check on him in his room. The man was found dead on the floor in a pool of blood. On a small table nearby was a cut-off saw and blood spatters. A nylon string was tied to a window, probably to use for hanging. The high-speed saw was powered on. The man was wearing in-ear earplugs. There was a cut in his left neck by the saw. The deceased had recently purchased the cut-off saw.

The high-speed saw used is equipped with a saw blade that can cut rebar and reaches 3,800 revolutions per minute when no load is applied, so it is useful for cutting rebar or wood. A form of impact spatter was observed on the opposite wall of the site, and it was determined to be blood spatter from the high-speed rotating blade due to cutting in the neck area. On top of a chest of drawers was a will in the form of a memo along with glasses. In the will, it was written, "The date of the suicide, suicide (don't save me) - the true spirit of God in heaven." According to the statement of the grieving family, when the deceased took the medicine prescribed by the psychiatrist, it subsided too much, so he stopped taking the drug, believed to be a tranquilizer, two years ago.

In the external examination, a 17 cm (6.7") incision was observed in the left neck. Next to the incision, frictional epidermal debridement and a sharp cross-section in an oblique shape from the inside of the open wound were observed. There was no other damage to the body surface, and there was no hesitation damage to the wrist. During the on-site investigation, there was no outside intrusion, and an autopsy was not conducted as the death was confirmed to be a suicide.

Suicide is the biggest cause of reducing the life expectancy of schizophrenic patients, and in a study conducted by the World Health Organization on 1,056 mentally ill patients, suicide was the most common cause of death. It is known that about 20%-40% of patients with schizophrenia attempt suicide, and 10%-15% end their life by suicide.
Depression was found in almost 2 of 3 suicides with schizophrenia.

Depression is the most important risk factor for suicide, and depressive syndrome is present in 66% of all suicide victims. The case is a very specific and rare case of suicide method selection. Common suicides are usually less painful, and they consider methods that are easy to take in their surroundings.

There are cases where alcohol and drugs are used together to reduce pain. However, in this case, a very extreme and violent method was performed, far outside the range of options for ordinary suicides. In addition, among suicide methods of schizophrenia patients, deaths by self-harm methods similar to the case are very rare.
 

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Progression of human decomposition in a 136kg & 73kg cadaver (300lbs & 160lbs)



Forensic taphonomy investigates variables affecting human decomposition, in part to provide investigators with an accurate estimation of the postmortem interval (PMI) in cases involving decomposed remains to advance forensic science’s understanding of regional decomposition and decomposition in specific circumstances.

Some of the major variables impacting decomposition rate and pattern include temperature, insect access, deposition conditions (surface, burial, or submersion), and scavenging. It is hypothesized subjects with larger mass will decompose at a more rapid rate than smaller subjects during early decomposition.

This research was undertaken at the Southern Illinois University (SIU) Complex for Forensic Anthropology Research. Twelve unautopsied, adult human subjects deposited between December 2012 and September 2015 were included in this study. The subject sample includes three females and nine males aged 49– 95 years, ranging in mass from 73 to 159 kg. Previously frozen subjects were excluded from this research, as frozen remains have been demonstrated to decompose significantly differently from never frozen remains. Subjects were deposited in the fresh stage as soon after death as possible and placed nude, supine, directly on ground surface within CFAR. Chain-link enclosures were employed to limit medium-to-large-bodied terrestrial and avian scavenging, but insect access was unimpeded. Although scavenging is sometimes a normal part of decomposition, large pigs were skeletonized in as little as 7 days by black vultures (Coragyps atratus) during the proxy stage at CFAR and the necessity of observing the entire progression of soft tissue decomposition in this study required its minimization.

Data were collected daily: multiple digital images of the entire subject and each body region, TBS (total body score), and written descriptions regarding weather, decomposition patterns, insect activity, scavenging, and any other noteworthy observations. TBS quantifies the decomposition process by assigning numeric scores based on visible, external decomposition. To assess whether variation in insect activity or daylight impacted results, subjects were divided into Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter depositions.

The correlation between body mass and KADD (Kelvin accumulated degree days) at all five TBS thresholds was statistically nonsignificant. Additionally, there was no statistically significant correlation between body mass and KADD at any TBS threshold when controlling for variation in seasonal factors. Body mass explained up to 14.4% of variation in decomposition rate depending on the stage with all subjects included and between 1.7% and 24.0% of variation in rate in the Fall/Winter subjects.

Fixed, one-way ANOVA (analysis of variance) revealed no significant effect of body mass on the rate of decomposition, measured by amount of thermal energy required to reach decomposition thresholds. Qualitative differences in decomposition patterns were observed. Higher mass subjects exhibited noticeably increased adipose tissue liquefaction and greater adipocere formation and displayed a relatively larger cadaver decomposition island (CDI), the area of concentrated decomposition fluid surrounding decomposing remains. These differences can be appreciated in Figures 1 and 2.

There were no statistically significant correlations found between subject mass and the rate of decomposition, measured by the KADD required for each subject to reach five TBS thresholds that followed the progression of decomposition. Further, there was no statistically significant effect of body mass on decomposition rate. Although minor patterned differences were observed between smaller and larger mass subjects, these differences did not impact the rate of decomposition and the end result for human decomposition in southern Illinois, a mummified tissue shell covering skeletonized elements, is similar for all adult body masses regardless of season of deposition

The differences in the range of adult body masses included in this study, 73–159 kg, predominantly stemmed from variation in body fat content, with smaller subjects having less adipose tissue and larger subjects having more adipose tissue. Differences observed in decomposition pattern were in line with differences in body fat, and higher mass subjects exhibited increased adipose tissue liquefaction, greater adipocere formation, and the formation of a relatively larger CDI. These patterned differences may not have translated into differences in the rate of decomposition because they did not directly elevate the TBS. Thus, qualitative differences were observed, but these differences were not substantial enough to impact the rate of decomposition as quantified by externally visible characteristics.
 

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Super rare autoerotic suicide by tightening a belt around the chest. Cause of death was compression asphyxia.

 

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Medical student enjoying a decomposed medical cadaver.

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Suicide with self-made guillotine in Germany

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Germany. In early September 2011, after a 2-week holiday, a 26-year-old man failed to show up for work as scheduled, prompting his brother to visit his residence. After nobody answered the door, he called the fire department, who broke open the apartment door, which was locked from the inside, and found the alleged tenant of the apartment dead in his bed. The body lay face down on the bed; the body was covered by a quilt. Next to the bed was a 245 cm (8 ft) high wooden construction resembling a guillotine, which was attached to the bed frame with tension belts and to the floor with screwed metal brackets.

A nylon rope was attached to a metal halyard over plastic pulleys, which was weighed down by approximately 30 kg (66 lbs) with paving slabs and steel weights. The head was almost completely separated from the body and was only connected to it by two narrow skin bridges.

A knife was found in the right hand of the corpse, which had apparently been used to cut the nylon cord of the guillotine. Unequivocal identification on site was not possible due to the advanced stage of decomposition. Subsequent testimonies from the deceased's work colleagues showed that he had built the guillotine at his workplace. A judicial autopsy was ordered to determine the cause of death and to confirm the identity of the body.

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Observed at the autopsy was the body of an approximately 175 cm (5'9) tall and 94.8 kg (209 lbs) heavy man in an advanced state of putrefaction, which particularly affected the neck and head area. The main autopsy findings were signs of a longer period of time with the corpse being infested with fly maggots and a subtotal separation of the head from the trunk between the 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae. In addition, blood inhalation were found in all lobes of the lungs. There were no indications of any significant internal diseases. For identification purposes, the dental status was recorded and compared with the available dental records. The presumed identity of the deceased could be confirmed in this way.

The cause of death was decapitation. Assessing the findings, especially the wound in the head and neck area, was significantly more difficult due to the advanced state of putrefaction with extensive maggot damage. The differentiation between ante and post-mortality of the wound based on the wound characteristics alone was rather difficult. However, there were signs of blood inhalation, suggesting vitality of the injury and at least minimal survival time after the neck was transected.

The death was deemed a suicide based on the findings by the investigating authorities (locking conditions, testimonies from work colleagues, autopsy findings), neither histological nor forensic-toxicological examinations were commissioned. The complex construction and attachment of the guillotine alone spoke for long-term planning of the suicide.

Only a few publications on suicide cases using a guillotine or guillotine-like constructions have appeared in recent decades. Complete or subtotal decapitations are very rarely observed within the large spectrum of different suicide methods. However, they aim to ensure that the attempted suicide is as “successful” as possible. Thorough planning of the suicide, which can be seen from the method, can also be evaluated against this background and also indicate a longer-lasting preoccupation of the deceased with the topic itself.
 

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Two Fatal Eurasian Brown Bear Attacks in Sweden​



Case 1
On the 17th of October 2004, in a rural part of northern Sweden, a 40-year-old moose hunter left his car and entered the woods with his dog. He left his car around 7–8 a.m. and was in phone contact with his hunting companions at approximately 10 a.m. He was not heard from after that time, did not answer calls to his phone or radio, and thus was reported missing at 7 p.m. The police began a search of the area and the man’s body was found the next day at 2 p.m., within 20 m (65 ft) of a bear’s den.

From the physical evidence, it was readily apparent that the man had been killed by a bear. The bear was tracked down and killed 2 days later. Both the bear and the man were, after external investigation, transferred for autopsy. An external investigation of the body revealed numerous excoriations, bruises, and oval, triangular or spindle-shaped wounds of various sizes, with even or ragged edges. These injuries were mostly centered on the torso and the upper extremities. There were fractures of the right radius as well as one of the left metacarpal bones.


A large portion of the face was missing; only parts of the frontal bone, fragments of the upper jaw, a partially fragmented lower jaw, and a fragment of the left zygomatic bone remained intact. Only the skin around the back of the head, the left cheek, and the temple remained. The anterior third of the tongue was missing. Only the cerebellum and the posterior parts of the cerebrum remained of the brain. An opening with uneven borders and loose fragments bulging inwards was observed to the right of and inferior to the internal occipital protuberance. Apart from the traumatic injuries, there was mild coronary heart disease and aspiration of blood to the bronchial tree. Toxicological screening of urine and femoral vein blood was negative. The head trauma was determined to be the cause of death.



Case 2
On the morning of October 8, 2007, a 61-year-old male hunter did not show up for the gathering of a hunting party. Two hunting companions were sent to pick him up, but found him dead, 20 m (65 ft) in front of his cabin. His dog was also found dead, 10 m (32 ft) from the victim. It was apparent from their injuries and the circumstances that they both had been killed by a bear. The bear was tracked down and killed. Bear droppings found near the victim were collected and sent for examination.

An external investigation of the victim revealed numerous excoriations, bruises, and oval or spindle-shaped, mostly ragged, wounds. The majority of the damage was centered around the head, neck, and upper left torso and extremity. On the right side of the chest, there were four transverse deep wounds. Subcutaneous fat and muscle were seen through the gaping wounds. On the left side of the chest, at the junction with the left axilla, there was a square, ragged, deep wound. Inferior to this wound, there was a lacerated wound. Muscle tissue was seen in both the gaping wounds. On the abdomen, there was a laceration. Muscle, gut, and mesentery were exposed in the wound. Four parallel excoriations stretched from the lower-left edge of the wound down toward the left thigh.

An internal investigation showed severe damage to the gastrointestinal tract with only the stomach, and fragments of the descending colon remaining. In addition, there was a fracture on the left side of the thyroid cartilage with an adjoining wound that had penetrated through the skin and the trachea. There was also mild sclerosis of the aorta and coronary arteries. The liver showed severe steatosis, confirmed also histologically. The internal organs were void of blood, indicating severe exsanguination. Toxicological analyses of femoral vein blood showed a blood ethanol concentration of 0.27%. The cause of death was determined to be exsanguination from the injuries inflicted.
 
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