The use of gasoline in a complex suicide
This case represents a planned complex suicide in which the victim shot himself in the head after dousing his living quarters with gasoline. The spark induced ignition of gasoline vapors and led to an explosion. Liquid gasoline is not flammable, but the vapor/mixture of gases above the surface of the liquid is. In this case the victim might have counted on the resulting fire and/or explosion, but we are not able to tell that with certainty. We have assumed that the plan was for the gunshot to the head to lead to instantaneous death, and for the flame and/or explosion to lead to the destruction of the body. The explosion launched the body out of the apartment, meaning it did not get charred. It is also our assumption that the victim did not expect that the explosion would eject his body from the flames and lead to less severe burns than he had calculated, making this complex suicide “less successful” than he had planned.
KeywordsComplex suicide Self-incineration Gunshot Gasoline Explosive capacity Autopsy
This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, Grant No. 175093 and Grant No.41022.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors hereby declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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