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Disputed case of homicide by smothering due to severe amitriptyline intoxication of the victim

, : Disputed case of homicide by smothering due to severe amitriptyline intoxication of the victim. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 16(5): 280-283

We report a fatal case of a female for whom the forensic autopsy revealed injuries to the external respiratory orifices indicating smothering. Subsequent postmortem toxicological analysis confirmed heavy amitriptyline acute intoxication. The victim had serious psychological problems, was under long-term treatment with antidepressants and was a systematic alcohol abuser. Forensic autopsy determined damage to the external airways, along with multiple formal petechial hemorrhages (Tardieu) in various parts of the body. The presence of amitriptyline, nortriptyline and 10-hydroxynortriptyline was confirmed by GC-MS and quantified by HPLC in blood (7.0 microg/ml amitriptyline and 7.4 microg/ml nortriptyline). The cause of death was disputed between severe intoxication (poisoning or suicide attempt) and smothering due to controversial evidence.


PMID: 19481712

DOI: 10.1016/j.jflm.2008.12.001

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