Motor Vehicle–Assisted Ligature Strangulation Causing Complete Decapitation: An Autopsy Report

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The victim, a 63-year-old prosperous businessman from Labasa, of the Northern Island (Vanua Levu) of Fiji Islands, was found completely decapitated in the early hours of morning in 2004. Initial police investigation did not reveal any history of any medical or family calamity. Further inquiry by the police revealed that on the previous day the deceased had visited all his friends and relatives, and his behavior was not out of the ordinary. The police suspected it to be a case of homicide. On visit to the scene, a completely decapitated body was found in a van on a downhill road. Tire marks were found on the road. A nylon rope was used for ligature strangulation. At autopsy, the decapitation wound of the head and the torso articulated well. The face was congested, and there was tongue bite. Wound margins were clear-cut, with well-demarcated abrasion and multiple imprints of the nylon rope on the neck. The upper one third of the larynx was attached to the head. No other injuries were found on the body. From the findings, it was obvious that asphyxiation was involved in the death before decapitation.

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