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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • falls from a height;
  • death scene investigation;
  • histology;
  • myocardial sarcoidosis;
  • reconstruction of the event

Abstract:  The major issues of medico-legal relevance in fatal falls from a height are the manner of death and the reconstruction of the event. We present a peculiar case of a fatal fall from a height of about 9 m, involving a 27-year-old woman. At the death scene investigation, no suicide notes, housebreaking marks, or signs of fight were found, thus weakening both the suicide and homicide hypotheses. Combining circumstantial, autopsy and toxicology data, the kinematic analysis of the jump/fall, and the histological evidence of a myocardial sarcoidosis involving the left ventricle, we hypothesized that the young woman might have accidentally fallen from the window because of a sudden loss of consciousness related to cardiac disease undiagnosed during life. We believe that our brief report is a good example of the powerful additional information that histological investigations can offer for reconstructing the dynamics of the event in falls from a height and other traumatic fatalities.