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Suicide identification during on-site inspection. Proposal and application of an interpretative method for death scene investigation

Author:
Visentin, Sindi, Massaro, Luca, Viel, Guido, Cecchetto, Giovanni, Montisci, Massimo
Source:
Forensic science international 2019 v.297 pp. 148-155
ISSN:
0379-0738
Subject:
behavior disorders, death, risk, suicide
Abstract:
Death scene investigation (DSI) is critically important for the identification of the manner of death. The present study aims to present a scoring system for the correct framing of a case as a suicide starting from the DSI and its preliminary application. The method is based on five items: (1) statistical frequency of the method adopted; (2) victim’s history of mental illness; (3) circumstantial data; (4) number of means; (5) compatibility of means and injuries with suicidal dynamics; and the application of a correction factor if suicide risk indicators are present. We blindly analyzed 180 cases of violent deaths equally divided into suicides, homicides and accidental deaths and the results obtained were compared with the established dynamics of death. The proposed method has proven to be efficient in the identification of suicide at the DSI, but further on-site studies making use of a wider number of cases is necessary.