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Bronx, New York City. This is the victim of a rape–homicide that occurred in an unoccupied apartment within a building in the South Bronx. The victim was raped and sodomized by the killer, who had forced her into this location after tricking her into going into the building. She was a classic “victim of opportunity” who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Fig.1 South Bronx rape–homicide victim.

Rape and sexual homicide are often difficult crimes to prove, even in this climate of evolving technology of DNA and “rape kits”. To be ruled a sexual homicide or rape and murder the genital area must be examined for signs of tearing, scratching and bruising. The sensitivity of such a case requires the forensic pathologist to be proficient in examining sexually derived injuries and determining whether rape occurred, or if results are consistent with consensual sexual behavior. Examinations include inspections of the genitalia and hymen, the presence or absence of seminal fluid, venereal disease and pregnancy. The evidence compiled by a medical examination may be able to either confirm or deny sexual homicide allegations.

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