Abstract

This paper describes two fatal cases of planned complex suicide by two male individuals, 86 and 51 years old, involving ingestion of petroleum distillates and hanging. Remarkable internal findings during autopsy of both cases included the intense odor of petroleum distillates that alerted authorities to the suspicion of ingestion. The initial toxicological screening and quantitation of these compounds were performed by gas chromatography with flame-ionization detection, and confirmation was performed using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry in total ion chromatogram mode after liquid–liquid extraction of biological samples following a previously published analytical method. In Case 1, diesel fuel No. 2 concentrations were < 5 mg/L heart blood and 18,160 mg/L gastric content (total amount 6356 mg); therapeutic concentrations of citalopram were also found in blood. In Case 2, xylene (mixture of isomers) concentrations were 0.3 mg/L in heart blood and 0.1 mg/L in gastric content (total amount 0.006 mg); ethanol (1.12 g/L) and therapeutic concentrations of nordiazepam, oxcarbazepine, ibuprofen, and metamizol were also found in blood. The medical examiners in both cases reported the cause of death as hanging, and based upon examination of the scenes and the anatomopathological and toxicological data, the manners of death were determined to be planned complex suicide. We would like to alert toxicologists of the importance of testing for petroleum distillates when there is a suspicion of ingestion of these products due to the odor observed at the scene of death and/or during autopsy. The results of these toxicological investigations can help to determine the manner of death and the medicolegal interpretation

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oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.923.1092Last time updated on 11/1/2017

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