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Late Occurrence of Raccoon Eyes

The Role of the Ligature

Bogdanović, Milenko, MD; Popović, Vesna, MD, PhD; Savić, Slobodan, MD, PhD; Durmić, Tijana, MD, PhD; Radnić, Bojana, MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2019 - Volume 40 - Issue 2 - p 165–167
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000470
Case Reports

This case represents a planned complex suicide in which the victim combined gunshot to the head and hanging. The most interesting finding in the presented case was pale face, but without any visible injury to it at the time the body was found (more than 24 hours after death), whereas at autopsy (20 hours later), black eyes were prominent. The removal of the ligature led to the decompression of the neck and its blood vessels with consequential blood redistribution, which, alongside the liquid state of blood, resulted in the aforementioned finding. Considering the described postponed appearance of periorbital ecchymosis, this kind of finding suggests that great caution is necessary when interpreting hematomas in terms of their vitality.

From the Institute of Forensic Medicine “Milovan Milovanović,” University of Belgrade-School of Medicine, Belgrade, Serbia.

Ethical approval: This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Manuscript received November 18, 2018; accepted January 15, 2019.

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, grant 175093.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Milenko Bogdanović, MD, Institute of Forensic Medicine “Milovan Milovanović”, University of Belgrade-School of Medicine, 31a Deligradska str., 11000 Belgrade, Serbia. E-mail:

© 2019 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.