Discriminating injuries by animal attacks from other types of trauma and assessing their contribution to the cause of death is often difficult. Careful evaluation of the injury pattern, thorough scene examination and performing adequate ancillary investigations is essential in such situations.
A young male was found dead in a hut in a chena, lying in a pool of blood with a shotgun beside him. There was a suicide note on the floor written with charcoal which indicated that he had encountered three bears in the jungle, fought and escaped with injuries. Autopsy revealed minimal damage to the clothes and to the body. There was a near contact entry wound under the chin. Shaving of the head hair revealed a star shaped entrance wound with burning and blackening on the vertex. An exit wound with extensive disruption of the left side of face was seen. CT scan confirmed the above findings. The manner of death was concluded as a homicide.
Minimal damages to the clothes and other areas of the body exclude bear attack with a high probability. Even though entry under the chin is more suggestive of suicidal firing, the entry at the vertex favors the involvement of another person.
How to Cite:
Nadeera, D.R. and Gayathree, T.H.I., 2019. Suicide, homicide or bear attack?. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 10(1), pp.8–14. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljfmsl.v10i1.7818
Nadeera, D. R.and T. H. I. Gayathree. “Suicide, Homicide or Bear Attack?”. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, vol. 10, no. 1, 2019, pp. 8–4. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljfmsl.v10i1.7818