Dyads of Father and Son Suicide Separated by Time and Circumstances

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We encountered 2 dyadic suicides among fathers and sons. In the first dyad, the father was a 64-year-old man with complications of heart surgery. He committed suicide with a shotgun. The decedent's son was a 38-year-old man. Five years after his father's death, the son had an argument with his wife. That morning, he drove to the house where his father had lived and inflicted a handgun wound to his head. In the second dyad, the son was a 22-year-old man whose girlfriend left him. He inflicted a shotgun injury to the head. His blood alcohol level was 294 mg/dL. The father of this decedent was a 43-year-old man who 1 year later was despondent after a fight with his girlfriend. He was found dead at home with a single handgun wound to the chest. His blood alcohol level was 173 mg/dL. All 4 suicides appear to have been premeditated and all 4 men used guns. Suicide in a family tends to cause depression and complicate bereavement in survivors more than other types of death. Copycat suicide is well-documented in high-profile cases. The effect of father-son relationships is likely closer and more influential than celebrity suicides.

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