Intimate Partner Violence: A Rare Case of Reciprocal Homicide

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Abstract

We present the case of a reciprocal homicide by stabbing that occurred within an unmarried couple without known history of spousal violence. Each partner killed the other one at the same time and at the same place using kitchen knives. They were both found dead at home lying on the floor after the neighbors heard an argument and screams coming from the couple's apartment, so they called the police and the fire department. The door was locked from the inside, and the fire department was forced to break the door. Two kitchen knives supporting blood traces were found at the scene. At autopsy, both bodies showed multiple stab wounds, and the lethal ones were due to heart injuries. Defense injuries were also found in both bodies. To our knowledge, this is the first case of reciprocal homicide described in the literature. Other manners of death are discussed, including homicide by a third party, homicide-suicide, and suicide pact.

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