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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • asphyxiation;
  • suicide;
  • duct tape;
  • airway occlusion;
  • forensic pathology

Abstract:  The most recent U.S. statistics (2005) determined that 22.2% of suicides are by suffocation. This number likely includes suicidal hanging. Based on previous reports the majority of nonhanging suicidal asphyxiations are accomplished by securing a plastic bag over the head. We report two instances of a far less common method of suicidal asphyxiation, occlusion of the nose and mouth by duct tape. One was a 47-year-old man with a history of paranoid schizophrenia with suicidal ideation and the other was a 52-year-old man who was depressed due to gambling debts. The value of scene investigation, including review of available video surveillance to determine the manner of death is highlighted.