Autoerotic Deaths

Autoerotic Deaths: Practical Forensic and Investigative Perspectives

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Features

    • Presents details of actual case studies of autoerotic deaths
    • Explores typical and atypical methods and victims
    • Contains more than 100 full-color photographs
    • Includes checklists for quick reference on the scene

    Summary

    Autoerotic Deaths: Practical Forensic and Investigative Perspectives is a collaboration between two internationally known experts who combine their extensive experience to present a scientific, modern view of autoerotic death—complete with a wide variety of exquisite case histories, photographs, and investigator tips.

    Chief Medical Examiner Anny Sauvageau of Alberta, Canada and retired NYPD Lieutenant Commander Vernon J. Geberth bring considerable insight to this volume, providing practical and conventional information based on scientific research and case experience from the field. Enhanced with more than 100 color photos, the book explores:

    • The evolution of the concept of sexual asphyxia and autoerotic death
    • The definition and epidemiology of autoerotic death, pitfalls involved in the application of the term autoerotic, and best practices for approaching these death scenes
    • Death scene characteristics and the importance of recognizing clues to the autoerotic nature of a death
    • Methods of autoerotic death, including hanging, plastic bags, chemical substances, and other less-common scenarios
    • Atypical victims of autoerotic deaths

    Using a case history format, the book presents a complete analysis of all aspects of this unusual and unfortunate type of death. The combination of theory and practice, along with up-to-date science, makes this book an unparalleled resource for all those involved in the investigation of these peculiar incidents.

    Table of Contents

    Autoerotic death: Historical context
    Sexual asphyxia in fiction
    Anthropologists’ accounts of autoerotic asphyxia
    Sexual asphyxia: Early nonscientific reports in London
    Historical context of autoerotic death in forensic literature
    The early period (1947 to 1980)
    The golden age (1981 to 1990)
    The turning point (1991)
    The modern era
    The need for a modern book covering the advances on autoerotic death
    Definition, incidence, and best practices in approaching these deaths
    Definition
    Pitfalls in the application of the term autoerotic death
    Pitfall 1: To label a death autoerotic even though the manner of death was not accidental
    Pitfall 2: To label a death autoerotic even though the sexual activity was not solitary
    Pitfall 3: To become confused concerning the concept of an escape mechanism
    Terminology and death certification
    Incidence of autoerotic deaths
    Incidence in Canada
    Incidence in Europe
    Incidence of autoerotic deaths in Western Countries
    Variables influencing the incidence of autoerotic deaths
    Best practices in approaching these deaths
    Investigation of the scene
    Examination of the body
    History
    Understanding these deaths: There are different types of sexuality
    Definition of autoerotic deaths: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Incidence of autoerotic deaths: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Best approaches of autoerotic deaths: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Understanding these deaths: There are different types of sexuality
    Death scene characteristics
    Death scene characteristics as main clues to the sexual autoerotic nature
    Common scene features
    Nudity and exposure of the genitals
    Cross-dressing
    Evidence of masturbatory activity
    Foreign body insertion in the anus
    Lubricants
    Pornography
    Mirror and video recording
    Covering of the face, bondage of the genitals, other bondage, and other masochistic behavior
    Protective padding in hanging
    Evidence of repetitive behavior
    Scene element forbidding ruling a death as autoerotic
    A modern study of crime scene features in autoerotic death
    Incidence of individual scene features
    Number of scene features per case
    Comparison of scene features in relation to the autoerotic methods
    Comparison of scene features in relation to age group
    Summary
    Scene characteristics: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Typical methods of autoerotic deaths: Hanging
    Definitions of terms
    Basic pathophysiology of hanging
    Complete suspension versus incomplete suspension
    Variation of positions in autoerotic hangings
    Scene investigation
    Body examination
    Neck furrow
    Petechiae
    Cyanosis, congestion, protrusion of the tongue
    Fractures of the neck structures
    New data on the pathophysiology of hanging: The Working Group on Human Asphyxia
    The agonic sequence in hanging
    Respiratory responses to hanging
    Study of filmed hangings casts doubt on the traditional conception of the pathophysiology of hanging
    Agonal responses to hanging in complete versus incomplete suspension
    Role of ischemic habituation on the agonal responses to hanging in autoerotic practitioners
    Role of ethanol in the agonal responses to hanging
    Interpretation of bruises in hanging
    Estimation of the time to die by hanging
    Estimation of the time to irreversibility
    Typical methods of autoerotic deaths: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Basic knowledge in autoerotic hanging: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Advanced knowledge in autoerotic hanging: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Typical methods of autoerotic deaths: Asphyxia by plastic bags and chemical substances
    Definitions of terms
    Autoerotic deaths by smothering by plastic bags over the head
    Scene investigation
    Autopsy findings
    Pathophysiology of smothering
    Pathophysiology of smothering: New data from the Working Group on Human Asphyxia
    Autoerotic deaths by suffocation on chemical substances
    Gaseous hydrocarbons
    Anesthetic compounds
    Inhalants: Glue, solvents, aerosols
    Other chemicals
    Scene investigation
    Pathophysiology of propane-related deaths: New data from the Working Group on Human Asphyxia
    Implications for toxicology and pathology
    Implications for crime scene interpretation
    Typical methods of autoerotic deaths: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Definitions of terms: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Autoerotic deaths by smothering by plastic bags over the head: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Autoerotic deaths by suffocation on chemical substances: Checklist for the forensic expert
    References
    Atypical methods of autoerotic deaths
    Electrocution
    Examples from the literature
    Overdressing/body wrapping
    Examples from the literature
    Foreign body insertion
    Examples from the literature
    Atypical asphyxia methods
    Definition of terms: The classification of asphyxia
    Ligature strangulation
    Chest compression
    Inverted or abdominal suspension
    Immersion and drowning
    Smothering
    Other atypical methods
    Atypical methods of autoerotic deaths: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Atypical victims
    Introduction
    Female victims
    Female victims in the early period of forensic literature on autoerotic deaths (1947 to 1980)
    Female victims in the golden age of forensic literature on autoerotic deaths (1981 to 1990)
    Female victims in the modern era of forensic literature on autoerotic deaths (1991 to present)
    Non-white victims
    Teenager and elderly victims
    Atypical victims: Checklist for the forensic expert
    Index

    Author Bio(s)

    Dr. Anny Sauvageau is an associate clinical professor at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary anda well-known world expert on asphyxia. She has a founder designation in forensic pathology from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in recognition of her significant contribution to the development of this new specialty in Canada. From 2007 to 2012, she was vice president of the Forensic Pathology Examination Board of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She is also one of the founders and the program director of the residency program in forensic pathology at the University of Alberta. She is the author of more than 75 papers in peer-reviewed forensic journals and a much sought-after international speaker. She is the founder of the Working Group on Human Asphyxia and the cofounder of the International Network for Forensic Research. Her innovative approach toward forensic research has significantly improved the understanding of the pathophysiology of hanging and other types of strangulation.

    Commander Vernon Geberth is a retired lieutenant commander of the New York City Police Department with over 40 years of law enforcement experience. He is a nationally renowned lecturer, author, educator, consultant, and expert witness on the subject of death investigation. He has appeared on numerous local, national, and international television programs to answer questions on the subject of murder and provide insight, analysis, and commentary with respect to all aspects of homicide and death investigations. Geberth has been referenced as a media consultant on myriad national major cases across the United States and Canada. Over 66,500 members from over 8,000 law enforcement agencies have attended Geberth’s Practical Homicide Investigation seminars. In his seminars, Geberth focuses on his textbooks stressing advanced tactics, procedures, and forensic techniques and presents equivocal death, suicide, and missed investigations as well as serial murder investigation and the application of abnormal psychology to the investigative process.

    Editorial Reviews

    "There has never been such a thorough examination of autoerotic deaths, nor one as meticulously helpful to investigators as Sauvageau & Geberth’s text. Autoerotic Deaths provides a comprehensive reference that will clearly become a classic in the field."
    —Katherine Ramsland in Psychology Today

    "This is an extremely well written and elegantly illustrated book that applies the principles of Commander Geberth’s Practical Homicide Investigation to the subject of sexual asphyxias. … will be a valuable resource for law enforcement, forensic pathologists and behavioral scientists."
    —Barbara C. Wolf, M.D., District Medical Examiner, District 5, Florida

    "The book's clarity and insight on the nature of autoerotic deaths will insure that it will remain the singular, go to source by law enforcement professionals for years to come."
    —Detective Mark Czworniak, Area North Homicide Bureau, Chicago Police Department

    "The team of Sauvageau and Geberth have created the most complete professional insight into the intimate complexities of autoerotic deaths based on scientific research and extensive case experience. I believe that this text will become the ‘best practice model’ for this phenomenon. It is a sign of Geberth's skills as he combines his knowledge of forensics and clear cut dialogue that makes this a ‘must have’ for all members of the law enforcement community."
    ––Edwin T. Dreher, Deputy Chief (Ret.) New York City Police Department

    "Add another resource to your death investigation library, Sauvageau and Geberth have provided the definitive text on autoerotic death investigation … . This book covers everything known about the forensic and practical aspects of investigating autoerotic deaths. It is a must read for any professional charged with investigating or determining cause and manner of these types of deaths."
    —Marvin Skeen Chief Criminal Investigator, Homicide Investigation and Tracking System, Washington State Office of Attorney General

    " … clearly written, concise, and free of confusing jargon. … the most current complete analysis of autoerotic deaths. … This outstanding book is destined to become a classic in the study and investigation of autoerotic death."
    —Ronald Turco, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor Oregon Health and Sciences University

    "Both Sauvageau and Geberth demonstrate their expertise and mastery of the subject matter throughout each chapter. It is a must for all those practitioners who may be faced with this type of investigation."
    —Cathryn F. Lavery, PhD, Iona College

    "A review of the book’s index will immediately confirm that you have picked up the definitive textbook on autoerotic deaths. … will be a great resource to help investigators evaluate and understand crime scene presentations that involve bizarre sexual practices."
    —Larry Thomas, Assistant Director (Retired), Kansas Bureau of Investigation

    "The latest book in the renowned Practical Aspects of Criminal and Forensic Investigations Series, Autoerotic Deaths: Practical Forensic and Investigative Perspectives, is co-authored by forensic pathologist Anny Sauvageau, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner of Alberta, Canada and founder of the Working Group on Human Asphyxia, and series Editor Vernon J. Geberth, retired Lieutenant Commander of the Bronx Homicide Task Force with the New York City Police Department. This 164 page text includes numerous full-color photographs of autoerotic death scenes. The book also provides numerous checklists for the death scene investigator that give practical guidance, particularly in the investigation of atypical scenes, and highlight the best practices for the investigation of these deaths. The [authors’] analysis of … videotaped deaths allows the authors to debunk many myths that have been perpetuated. The result provides the forensic community the definitive treatise on the subject of autoerotic asphyxia … a comprehensive text that will be a valuable resource for law enforcement, forensic pathologists, and behavioral scientists."
    Journal of Forensic Sciences (American Academy of Forensic Sciences), May 2014

     
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