(Received 28 June 1985; accepted 12 August 1985)
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Four unrelated hanging deaths involving young white males, all in enlisted status in the United States military, are presented. Taken in a military context, one scene served as a suicide note equivalent with the unmistakable message of extreme defiance toward military regulations. In two cases, the elaborate attire of the decedents could have lead to the misclassification of the manner of death if investigative information had not been considered. Extensive background investigation and review of medical records in the fourth case disclosed that the victim had an eight- to ten-year history of compressing his neck to cause unconsciousness. He left an extensive suicide note in which he concluded that “hanging would be good.” Each case has certain unique features, and as a group, the cases all demonstrate a continuum from obvious suicide to cases where the manner of death is, at first, equivocal.
Air Force Office of Special Investigation, Shaw Air Force Base, SC
chief, Division of Forensic Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC
Stock #: JFS12309J