This discussion is in four parts. First, briefly describe the special steps taken in a death investigation including steps taken at the scene and during the autopsy. What are the primary concerns with an investigation like this (what are investigators trying to find out)? Briefly describe the difference between cause, mechanism and manner of death. Next, using what we have learned regarding death investigation and the evidence provided, please answer the following questions:
2. Forensic scientists are called to a death scene where they find 55-year-old Thomas Walker hanging from a beam in his garage with a noose tied around his neck. An autopsy was performed, which indicated that Thomas’s face was swollen with bluish purplish discoloration and petachaie were also present in his eyes. Thomas’s hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage were severely fractured. Livor mortis was present on his back and the back of his neck, legs and feet. Based on this evidence, what do you feel are the cause, manner and mechanism of death? What other evidence, if any, would you want to inspect/collect to support your hypothesis?
3. Forensic scientists are called to a death scene of 22-year-old Peter Hastings. His body lies next to a fireplace with a raised stone pedestal surrounding it. There are blood stains on the pedestal consistent with impact spatter. The medical examiner notes significant blunt force trauma to Peter’s head consistent with his head striking the pedestal. The damage to Peter’s head included a significant skull fracture which could have been sufficient to cause his death. There is also cherry red discoloration over his body. Based on the evidence, what do you think are the cause, manner and mechanism of death? What other evidence, if any, would you want to inspect/collect in order to support your hypothesis?
4. Forensic scientists are called to a death scene of 36-year-old David Boyle. A suicide note is present at the scene and there are no defensive wounds on Boyle’s body. A small gunshot entrance wound is present on the right side of his head on the temple just above the ear. There is no tattooing or unburned powder at the site of the entrance wound. An exit wound is present on his left jaw and the bullet has appeared to have fractured his mandible (lower jaw). Based on the evidence, what do you think are the cause, manner and mechanism of death? What other evidence, if any, would you want to inspect/collect in order to support your hypothesis?
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