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Planned Complex Suicide: An Unusual Case

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We report an unusual case of planned complex suicide. The victim was a woman aged 67 years, who was found dead in her bath in a state of advanced putrefaction. A plugged-in hairdryer was submerged in the water and the electrical fuses in the room had short-circuited. A kitchen knife lay below the body of the victim, whose left forearm bore incisions suggestive of wrist-cutting. At autopsy, no sign suggesting electrocution could be observed because of the advanced state of putrefaction of the body. Toxicological analysis revealed massive ingestion of tianeptine (blood concentration 15.5 mg/L). Although the exact cause of death could not be determined because of the state of the corpse, meticulous examination of the scene and information obtained from the victim’s relatives led to the conclusion of suicide.
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Keywords: acute intoxication; electrocution; forensic science; planned complex suicide; wrist-cutting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Service de Médecine Légale, 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, 13385 Marseille, France. 2: Laboratoire ChemTox, 3 rue Grüninger, 67400 Illkirch, France.

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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