Volume 36, Issue 6 (November 1991)
Autoerotic Asphyxial Death Initially Misinterpreted as Suicide and a Review of the Literature
Death during autoerotic activities is of special concern to law enforcement officials, medical examiners, the family of the decedent, and society in general. As in the probing of any violent demise, accurate identification, management, and preservation of all physical evidence; complete photographic documentation of the scene and the body; reconstruction of the scene; and interviews with the family and acquaintances (psychological autopsy) are mandatory for proper study, evaluation, and interpretation of the case. Because of a lack of knowledge on the part of many people, including professionals, about these activities and the fact that many autoerotic fatalities share common characteristics with suicide and homicide, these cases are often misinterpreted. The authors present a case of autoerotic accidental asphyxial death which was initially misinterpreted as suicide.