The use of gasoline in a complex suicide.


Institute of Forensic Medicine "Milovan Milovanović", University of Belgrade - School of Medicine, 31a Deligradska str., Belgrade, 11000, Serbia. [Email]


This case represents a planned complex suicide in which the victim shot himself in the head after dousing his living quarters with gasoline. The spark induced ignition of gasoline vapors and led to an explosion. Liquid gasoline is not flammable, but the vapor/mixture of gases above the surface of the liquid is. In this case the victim might have counted on the resulting fire and/or explosion, but we are not able to tell that with certainty. We have assumed that the plan was for the gunshot to the head to lead to instantaneous death, and for the flame and/or explosion to lead to the destruction of the body. The explosion launched the body out of the apartment, meaning it did not get charred. It is also our assumption that the victim did not expect that the explosion would eject his body from the flames and lead to less severe burns than he had calculated, making this complex suicide "less successful" than he had planned.


Autopsy,Complex suicide,Explosive capacity,Gasoline,Gunshot,Self-incineration,