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Complicated Suicide Versus Autoeroticism?: A Case Involving Multiple Drugs and a Porta-Potty

Dickerson, Evan Matthew MD*; Jones, Prentiss PhD; Wilkins, Dennis; Regnier, Janis BS; Prahlow, Joseph A. MD§

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology: March 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 1 - p 29–33
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31827ab5f3
Case Reports

Abstract: In this report, a unique and bizarre case of complicated suicide is presented. The decedent was found dead in the basin of a porta-potty, wearing women’s pantyhose, jewelry, and makeup. The initial investigation was suspect for homicide. Although an autoerotic accidental death cannot be excluded, the patient’s medical history and autopsy results provided evidence for suicide, including several substances positive in his serum. Tramadol was quantified to be 140 mg/L, approximately 470 times the therapeutic range. Moreover, formaldehyde was also present, presumably absorbed from the contents of the chemical toilet. An exhaustive search could not reveal similar circumstances of suicide in a porta-potty or with the levels of tramadol found in the decedent.

From the *School of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis; †South Bend Medical Foundation, South Bend; ‡Portage Police Department, Portage; and §School of Medicine, Indiana University–South Bend at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN.

Manuscript received June 4, 2012; accepted September 10, 2012.

The authors did not receive sources of support or funding for this study.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Evan Matthew Dickerson, MD, School of Medicine, Indiana University, 631 N Morton St, Bloomington, IN 47404. E-mail: evandickerson@gmail.com.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.