Clothing

In homicides, clothing is usually involved but is pushed aside in some victims (e.g., children [6,23]). In suicides, the victim tends to bare the skin by moving clothing aside; however, clothes can be involved (Fig. 19; refs. 2, 6, 7, 10, 13, 23, 85, and 86). Clothing tears may provide the only clue of tentative attempts at self-infliction, particularly when there are few skin injuries. This highlights the need for the pathologist to examine the clothing of the deceased, not only to match holes in the fabric with cutaneous wounds but also to appreciate that additional clothing tears can be present without corresponding skin injuries. Pieces of clothing can be forced into a wound track by impalement (46).

Fig. 17. Delayed death from sepsis following multiple stab wounds. (A) Multiple healing chest tube insertion sites. (B) Healing stab wound on back inflicted during altercation. (Courtesy of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, NC.)
Fig. 18. "Stab" wound, above thoracotomy incision, from chest tube insertion.
Fig. 19. Suicide by stabbing. (A) Superficial incision, neck. (B) Fatal stab wound of chest inflicted through shirt (indicated by probe). (C) Knife penetrated sternum. (Courtesy of Dr. E. Tweedie, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada.)

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