Homicidal Hanging Masked as Suicide: Integrative Review


  • Gabriel Lessa de Souza Maia Centro Universitário Tiradentes (UNIT-AL), Departamento de Medicina, Maceió, AL, Brasil
  • Pedro Henrique do Nascimento Silva Universidade Federal de Alagoas (UFAL), Faculdade de Medicina, Maceió, AL, Brasil
  • Daniele Gonçalves Bezerra Universidade Federal de Alagoas (UFAL), Faculdade de Medicina, Maceió, AL, Brasil




Autopsy, Homicide, Neck injuries, Forensic medicine


It is estimated that one in every thousand cases of hanging is of a homicidal nature, however it is known that this data is underestimated by masking homicides as suicide. This review aims to analyze necroscopic findings in hangings of homicidal etiology and identify their warning signs of interest for forensic pathology. This research is an integrative literature review of case reports, from which 6 articles that reported 8 murderous hangings were selected. The result of the review showed that hangings of homicidal aetiology commonly require the murderer to have a physical advantage over the victim, to minimize or avoid the victim's reaction. There was a fracture of the neck structures in half of the cases analyzed, with the most common being the fracture of the hyoid bone, thyroid cartilage and cricoid cartilage. The main warning signs of importance to necropsy involve the hanging furrow, the victim's vital reactions, and injuries unrelated to the hanging's death mechanism.


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How to Cite

Lessa de Souza Maia, G., do Nascimento Silva, P. H. ., & Gonçalves Bezerra, D. (2022). Homicidal Hanging Masked as Suicide: Integrative Review. Brazilian Journal of Forensic Sciences, Medical Law and Bioethics, 11(2), 78–92. https://doi.org/10.17063/bjfs11(2)y202278-92