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Child and Adolescent Victims in Forensic Autopsy: A 5-Year Retrospective Study

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Children of more than 3 years of age and adolescents have been largely overlooked in the forensic literature, especially the 4–9 age group. Thus, the present study was undertaken to address this particular issue of child and adolescent victims in forensic autopsies. On a 5-year period (2000–2004) in Quebec province (Canada), all forensic autopsy cases of children and adolescents from 4 to 19 years of age were retrospectively studied. A total of 223 cases of child and adolescent deaths (148 males, 75 females; 6.6% of all forensic autopsies) were reviewed. Age, gender, manner of death and cause of death were analyzed for all victims organized into three groups of age: 4–9, 10–14, and 15–19. Moreover, homicide cases (n = 54) are further analyzed in terms of method(s) used (firearm, sharp force, asphyxia, blunt force, intoxication). This 5-year retrospective study may contribute to a better understanding of typical deaths in the 4–19 group of age and therefore, bring a working basis for the forensic pathologist or medical examiner/coroner.

Keywords: adolescent death investigation; child death investigation; forensic science; pathology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de médecine légale, Edifice Wilfrid-Derome, 1701, Parthenais Street, 12th floor, Montreal, QC, Canada H2K 3S7.

Publication date: 2008-05-01

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