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Pseudo-tying injuries in a hanged person

Kramer, Lena, Große Perdekamp, Markus, Geisenberger, Dorothee, Pircher, Rebecca, Pollak, Stefan, Schmidt, Ulrike
Forensic science international 2016 v.268 pp. e13
DNA, carotid arteries, cervical spine, concrete, decapitation, necropsy, synthetic fibers, water reservoirs
A 50-year-old man was found hanged on the concrete dam of a water reservoir. The ligature, a braided rope made of synthetic fibres, was attached to a lamp on the dam crest. The length of the rope between the fastening point and the noose was about 4m. At autopsy, stretchmark-like intimal tears of the carotid arteries were found, but the full pattern of (internal) decapitation and severance of the cervical spine was not present. The right wrist showed two almost circular, ribbon-like abrasions initially suggesting that the man had been tied before hanging. When the ligature was examined, horny scales adhered to the noose, but were also detected away from the slip-knot. By means of a DNA analysis the epidermal traces could be assigned to the deceased. The overall picture of the findings suggested that the man had roped down from the dam crest with the ligature wrapped around his right wrist thus abrading the skin.