Australia – This middle-aged male individual was assaulted in his home. When the individual was located his ankles were tied together and there was a cord tied tightly around his neck. In addition to multiple skin injuries to the face, the individual had an electrical cord around the neck. There were indentations associated with the ligatures and bruising seen within the muscles of the neck.
A neck dissection showed a region of hemorrhage with an obvious fracture of the right thyroid cartilage. There was also a fracture of the left superior cornu of the thyroid cartilage with associated bruising. The individual had numerous other injuries including dental avulsions and multiple patterned (circular punched out), lacerated, and abraded injuries to the head, neck, and chest. One of these injuries had extended from the left side of the neck and ruptured the larynx. Cause of Death: Multiple injuries to the head and neck.
The fractured left superior cornu of the thyroid cartilage indicated the application of neck compression. It is not uncommon for cases of ligature strangulation to result in fracturing of the more superficial thyroid cartilage but not involve the hyoid bone which is protected behind the chin. There was bruising and abrasions to the metacarpophalangeal regions (knuckles), which depending upon the circumstances of the incident could be interpreted as offensive in nature. There were parallel linear abrasions on the anteromedial aspect of the right forearm which, depending on the circumstances, could be interpreted as “defensive” in nature.
Information about the Weapon: Electrical cord; other (unknown). Postmortem CT showed that the hyoid bone was intact but that there were fractures of the right thyroid cartilage lamina and left superior cornu. A loose central incisor was noted in the oropharynx adjacent to the hyoid. There were multiple traumatic dental avulsions centrally in the maxilla and mandible.