Monday, September 06, 2004

Crime Scene Investigation - Asphyxiation (electrical shock)

Death by asphyxiation can occur as a result of electrical shock. The shock stops the action of the heart, and if the brain is deprived of oxygen, it will cease its function. The effect of electrical shock on a person depends on many things. It depends on their health. It also depends on their location and how wet or dry it is. In addition, it also depends on the amount of voltage they receive, how long they are in contact with this voltage, and the after-effects of the shock.

Electrical shocks often leave marks, although it is possible for a body not to show any outer or inner damage. Usually electrical shocks leave entrance and exit wounds on the body. These generally have a grey or white puckered look. Severe burns from higher voltage, called Joule burns, are often brown and take the form of the thing that caused the fatal contact. Lightning deaths leave a characteristic mark that resembles a fern leaf. High-voltage shocks may leave marks where metal objects have melted on the person. And there may be extensive fractures of the bones.

When one investigates a death by electrical shock, one needs to check the weather conditions, the electrical appliances the victim may have been using, and the victim's location and activity at the time of death to determine if the death is accidental or not. Deaths from electrical shock are most often accidental. Murder by electrocution is generally rare, but possible.