Advertisement

Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 386–389 | Cite as

Homicide victims concealed in a freezer

  • Trine Bottos Olsen
  • Peter Mygind Leth
Case Report

Abstract

Freezing as a method for hiding a body is rare. We report here a homicide case in which three bodies were concealed in a freezer. This presented the pathologist with the problem of how to thaw the bodies and simultaneously avoid decomposition of the uppermost body. The problem was solved by slow thawing in a refrigerated morgue and by removing the bodies one after the other from top to bottom. The victims were a 27-year old mother and her two daughters, 7 and 9 years of age. The perpetrator was the 34-year old now-divorced husband and father. All were refugees from Syria. The perpetrator fled back to Syria. He was later arrested in Syria, confessed the crime and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The autopsy findings is discussed and compared to finding reported in the scientific literature.

Keywords

Forensic medicine Homicide Freezing Frozen Autopsy Thawed body Cryobiology 

References

  1. 1.
    Preuß J, Strehler M, Dressler J, Riße M, Anders S, Madea B. Dumping after homicide using setting in concrete and/or sealing with bricks—six case reports. Forensic Sci Int. 2006;159:55–60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Beauregard E, Martineau M. No body, no crime? The role of forensic awareness in avoiding police detection in cases of sexual homicide. J Crim Justice. 2014;42:213–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Beauregard E, Field J. Body disposal patterns of sexual murderers: implications for offender profiling. J Police Crim Psychol. 2008;23:81–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Zugibe FT, Costello JT. The Iceman murder: one of a series of contract murders. J Forensic Sci. 1993;38:1404–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tabata N, Morita M, Azumi J. A frozen newborn infant: froth in the air-passage after thawing. Forensic Sci Int. 2000;108:67–74.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kozawa S, Kakizaki E, Yukawa N. Autopsy of two frozen newborn infants discovered in a home freezer. Legal Med. 2010;12:203–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Micozzi MS. Experimental study of postmortem change under field conditions: effects of freezing, thawing, and mechanical injury. J Forensic Sci. 1986;31:953–61.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Schäfer AT, Kaufmann JD. What happens in freezing bodies? Experimental study of histological tissue change caused by freezing injuries. Forensic Sci Int. 1999;102:149–58.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zappi EA, Zappi E. “Freezing artifacts” in human tissue samples: their formation and prevention. Cryobiology. 1981;18:301–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Muldrew K, McGann LE. Mechanisms of intracellular ice formation. Biophys J. 1990;57:525–32.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Leibo SP, Mazur P. The role of cooling rates in low-temperature preservation. Cryobiology. 1971;8:447–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mazur P. Freezing of living cells: mechanisms and implications. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 1984;247:125–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Meryman HT. General principles of freezing and freezing injury in cellular materials. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1960;85:503–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Baraibar MA, Schoning P. Effects of freezing and frozen storage on histological characteristics of canine tissues. J Forensic Sci. 1985;30:439–47.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fanton L, Yappo-Ette H, Vianey-Saban C, Malicier D. Homicide followed by freezing and burning: usefulness of measuring SCHAD (short-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase) activity. J Clin Forensic Med. 2006;13:339–40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Miras A, Yapo-Ette H, Vianey-Saban C, Malicier D, Fanton L. Method for determining if a corpse has been frozen: measuring the activity of short-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCHAD). Forensic Sci Int. 2001;124:22–4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forensic MedicineUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark

Personalised recommendations