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Criminal anticipation of DNA investigations resulting in mutilation of a corpse


A corpse of a female was found in her apartment in a state of advanced putrefaction. Both hands were amputated, the external genitals were excised and the body parts had been removed from the scene. The subsequent investigations proved that the body parts had been severed post mortem. The cause of death was determined to be manual strangulation. A 33-year-old man later confessed that he had strangled the victim 9 days prior to discovery of the body and that he had had sexual intercourse post mortem. According to the confession, the rational motive for the subsequent mutilation was to eliminate biological stains (e.g. semen inside the vagina, epithelial cells below the fingernails from scratching) suitable for forensic DNA analysis. This constitutes a new type of defensive mutilation intended to prevent the identification of the perpetrator. An increase in the occurrence would be detrimental to the elucidation rate of homicides: in a total of 171 homicides investigated at this institute, DNA analysis of biological stains gave reliable evidence in 45 cases.

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Received: 26 February 1999 / Received in revised form: 15 July 1999

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Karger, B., Rand, S. & Brinkmann, B. Criminal anticipation of DNA investigations resulting in mutilation of a corpse. Int J Leg Med 113, 247–248 (2000).

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  • Key words Mutilation
  • Dismemberment
  • DNA ¶analysis