Forensics Daily #5: Hanging

*sorry that I had been away for a week as I flew all the way to Cyprus for a field school. Now everything is settled, and back with the daily Q&A 🙂

Q: what are the signs of a victim from hanging?
A: osteologically speaking, the hyoid bone is broken. However, if you are looking at a fresh body- with soft tissues, should find the following symptoms:-
1. Arms and legs are angled outward.
2. May find the neck has stretched few inches.
3. Face downcast.

Also, if you are looking for the validity of the MO, may also look for the stand or footstep for getting up to the thing they hung with. If that was absent, and the above symptoms are not found, together with the livor mortis(pooling of blood due to gravity kicked in not long after death), then it is possibly just staged and faked as hanging.

Forensics Daily #4- On suicide

Q:any relevance on using your favoured hand (i.e. Left- handed more likely on using left hand) on committing suicide? Also can manner of suicide tells you about the person?
A: No and yes. For the first half, there are studies showed that hand preference DOES NOT count as the factor of using which hand to pull the trigger. So do not simply judge the entry wound from the side of hand holding the gun. As for the second part, there are some we called more feminine way of dying and more masculine way. Usually feminine ways are taking pills, cutting wrist, while masculine contains putting the short gun into the mouth and blow the head off! Yet this remains controversial as it is 60% chosen by men and 30% chosen by women.

Note: this does not mean that simply by judging the manner of death/ suicide will be able to categorize the deceased. It just gives the investigators some ideas on the victimology, and the psychological condition of the dead.

**And of course, this is not to encourage you to suicide. I always say if you have the courage to die then you def have the courage to live on!