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An Unusually High Blood Alcohol Level in a Burnt Child Homicide Victim

Masoud Ghadipasha, Maryam Akhgari




Background: Alcohol detection is one of the most prevalent requests in forensic toxicology laboratories for medico-legal investigation. Interpretation of analytical toxicology results is important in deciding the cause and manner of death. The aim of the present case report is to introduce an unusually high blood alcohol level in a homicide victim and interpretation of analytical toxicology results considering crime scene investigation.
Case Presentation: In the present study, we report a case of a burnt body on which autopsy examination and forensic toxicology analyses were carried out. Autopsy examination showed several stab wounds in the neck and thorax regions. Forensic toxicology analysis results showed 1055 mg/dL ethanol and 71 mg/dL methanol in right heart blood using headspace gas chromatography. The leading cause of death was stab wounds. Burning seemed to be a tool for covering up the homicide. Use of alcoholic fire accelerant and contamination of the corpse with alcohol was the main reason to detect high blood alcohol levels.
Conclusion: It is essential to determine ethanol in different sampling sites to reach a reliable and scientific interpretation of analytical toxicology results. Also, some important factors such as crime scene investigation should be considered in the interpretations of unusual forensic toxicology results.


Criminal burning, Postmortem examination, Forensic toxicology, Alcohol, Cause of death


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/ijmtfm.v9i1(Winter).23486