While lying down, a 23-year-old man detonated an improvised explosive device placed behind his head. The posterior neck and shoulders were singed, and much of the brain was avulsed. Death was due to laceration and partial avulsion of the cerebrum, midbrain, and brain stem. The injuries had a directional nature. Facts derived from the scene investigation and gross dissection, including nature, distribution, and extent of the wounds, in conjunction with preceding medical and social history, allowed for a reasonable reconstruction of the circumstances.
From the Department of Pathology, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, California (E.B.D.); and Northern California Forensic Pathology, Medical Corporation, Sacramento, California (C.E.R., G.D.R., R.M.A.), U.S.A.
Manuscript received July 1, 1998; accepted October 31, 1999.
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