Body Coloration Artifacts Encountered at Medicolegal Autopsy in India

Chittaranjan Behera, Mohit Chauhan, Asit Kumar Sikary
American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology 2019 March 9
Application of color on the external body surface before, during, and after death, such as during a festivity, cultural occasion, or after death ritual, can present as an artifact at forensic autopsy. The present study is a retrospective review of body color artifacts collected from postmortem reports, inquest papers and photographs of each individual case autopsied at our institutes during a 12 year period from 2004 to 2015. The reason for body colorations were various festivities, after death rituals and beautification products, among others. The body coloration mimicked antemortem changes, such as cyanosis, injury, jaundice, and congestion, as well as postmortem changes, such as postmortem lividity and early decomposition changes. These artifacts were differentiated by seeing the body before the washing of the color, history of the application of the color, and by various additional features, such as unusual appearance, distribution, and sites. They were not supported by any other findings on the body to consider them as genuine antemortem or postmortem findings.

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