Department of Pathology, Forensic Medicine and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Vilnius, M. K. Ciurlionio str. 21/27, Lithuania; State Forensic Medicine Service, Vilnius, Didlaukio str. 86E, Lithuania. Electronic address: [Email]
A retrospective analysis of 2000 intentional homicide cases from the State Forensic Medicine Service (Vilnius, Lithuania) was carried out in order to evaluate the portrait of homicide victims and mechanisms of death between 2004 and 2016. The definition of intentional homicide appears to be quite straightforward, as a homicide occurs when one person's cause of death can be attributed to another one. Moreover, homicide is accomplished by conscious, active, intentional, or unintentional activities or inaction. All included cases of homicide were qualified as intentional murder. Children rarely become victims of intentional homicide. The group of child intentional murder made only 4.2% of all homicide cases. Seventy-three percent of homicide victims were male. The female victims were older than male and were murdered using a larger variety of objects (p < 0.001). Heavily alcohol-intoxicated victims were murdered using more traumatic affliction by sharp, stabbing-cutting objects (p < 0.001). The largest number of traumatic afflictions was associated with using a blunt object (p < 0.001). Lithuania differs from other European countries in terms of death by shooting: while 13% of homicides resulted from gunshot wounds in Europe, in Lithuania, only 5.6% of homicides did. This fact can be attributed to a relatively lower firearm ownership in Lithuania. This research is the first study that evaluates homicide in Lithuania based on autopsy findings. This study is highly important for homicide investigation tactics, as it emphasizes the portrait of the victim, providing valuable information about the most common mechanism of death, used weapons and traumatic afflictions for the law enforcement agencies.