• forensic science;
  • forensic neuropathology;
  • deep grave;
  • interment;
  • exhumation;
  • autopsy;
  • brain;
  • stroke

Abstract:  We present the forensic neuropathologic analysis of an exhumed decomposed brain following long-term interment in a 50-year-old white woman, who had been buried for 34 months. Next of kin authorized exhumation of the body for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The embalmed body was anatomically intact and revealed decompositional changes with mold colonies. Internal viscera showed intact histomorphology. The brain revealed diffuse congestive swelling and extracellular edema with dissecting parenchymal hemorrhage and hematoma originating from the left putamen and thalamus and extending to the left lateral ventricle. Excitotoxic neuronal injury as well as penumbric parenchymal changes was noted. Cause of death was determined to be a hypertensive cerebral parenchymal hemorrhage. This case and our previously reported case are sentinel cases, which should encourage and guide the forensic neuropathologic work-up and investigation of causes of death in spite of long-term burial in deep graves.