Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Mystery - Cause of Death; Stabbing

When researching for a story, I read all kinds of helpful research books. My first mystery has a stabbing and I ran across this information while looking into stab wounds.

Stabbings account for a large amount of homicides each year. Reportedly just a little lower than gunshot deaths.

Sharp objects can cause two types of injuries.
The stab wound: a pointed object, like a knife, is pushed through the skin injuring the victim. There is little or no bruising around the wound. If the knife is forcefully used there can be bruising from the hilt. Bleeding is usually internally leaving little at the crime scene. Injuries occur internally to the organs.
The cut wound: This is caused by a sharp knife or razor blade that is dragged across the skin making cuts on the surface. These injuries bleed profusely and are only as deep as the pressure applied to the weapon.

Some stabbing weapons:
kitchen knives
ice picks
anything sharp or pointed enough that when used with force would penetrate the skin and cause internal damage.

Stab wounds can cause sepsis and death from peritonitis and other infections if the bowel is sliced or pierced  These types of wounds can also cause sever hemorrhage and shock if the liver, spleen, kidneys, or pancreas are wounded.

Factors that suggest homicide by stabbing

  • There could be "defensive" cuts on the dorsal side of the arms or palms of the hands from the victim trying to defend themselves. 
  • Usually multiple wounds
  • Wounds in the side, back or stomach
  • Murder weapon may not be present at the scene
  • Absence of victim's finger prints on the weapon

Sources: The Howdunit Series: Modus Operandi - a writer's guide to how criminals work  by Mauro V. Corvasce and Jseph R. Paglino
The Howdunit Series: Cause of Death - a writer's guide to death, murder, and forensic medicine by Keith D. Wilson, M.D.


bn100 said...

Interesting research. Don't think about these things

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Paty Jager said...

It is amazing the things writers have to research to make a story sound real to the reader.