Each and every death occurs as a result of a specific cause. The various types of deaths are related and can be differentiated in terms of what triggered the death. Hence, based on the cause, various types of deaths such as natural death, suicide, accidental death, and homicide can be differentiated. Natural death is one that occurs through the influence of natural courses. Accidental death is death that is not natural and occurs as a result of accidental incidences such as poisoning, traffic collision, slip, and fall but cannot be suicide, murder or natural death. According to Gray et al. (2014), for a death to be termed accidental there must be a traumatic or non-traumatic event that led to the death of an individual who is healthy. Suicide is a type of death occurs when a person intentionally kills himself as a result of mental disorder or depression. A suicidal act is done deliberately and is a neither accidental nor natural death. Finally, homicide refers to a type of death in which one person kills another through pre-meditated murder (Gray et al., 2014).
Key Factors that the Police Used to Classify the Type of Death
According to Belur et al. (2014), the key factors that police use to classify the suicidal death include the information from the family members, police control room, others include the physical evidence such as photographs taken at the crime scene. However, if the dead person has already reached the hospital, the doctors rule out on the possible cause of death. Evidence is the greatest factor that the police rely on when classifying the type of death. In addition, some of the physical evidence taken at the scene of the crime is taken to the forensic laboratory for investigation. Hence, the results of the forensic investigation are another factor that the police use to classify the type of death. The police should also consider the information given by the residents of the region since they can bare useful information about what transpired to death.
Fundamental Differences in Investigating a Death Case versus other Types of Crimes
It is difficult to elucidate one death type from the other in terms of the investigation. Information collected at different scenes may be collected through the same procedure but yield different results concerning the cause of death. However compared to other types of crimes, death is different. Natural and unnatural deaths are quite different from other crimes such as terrorism. One difference is in the way data is obtained from the scene of the crime. For instance, a death occurring in the hands of a doctor as a result of illness is natural and doctors are solely responsible for determining the cause of death. In addition, suicide is an unnatural death and its occurrence can be determined by a police officer who performs investigations by taking physical evidence and samples and documentation for further investigations. Conversely, when terrorism occurs, the police will confront the terrorists and after they hold them captive, they will not barricade the scene or even stat determining the cause of death but will get involved into investigating who was the terrorists, their originality and what could have transpired their action among other factors.
Goal and Main Procedure of a Preliminary Death Investigation
The goal of the main procedure of a preliminary death investigation is to establish the underlying cause of death and how the death occurred. Moreover, the preliminary procedure is done with the goal of collecting first-hand helpful information that will aid in linking the death to its cause. The main procedure of a preliminary death investigation starts at the scene of death. Analyze the main ways in which various environmental factors may influence the medical examination and autopsy in death investigations. The police take photos of the scene before any form of intrusion has been done. First, the police must ascertain the boundary to secure the scene of the crime through barricading. Secondly, details about the scene are documented. Such information includes the time, place and the appearance of the crime scene. Thirdly, any items that can be used as evidence is taken and preserved for further investigation. Note taking ensures that all helpful information about the scene is recorded and can aid in the future determination of the cause of death and unravel the perpetrators of death.
The environment has serious effects on the investigation of the occurrence of the death and the autopsy. Environmental factors such as rain can wash away the evidence leaving the scene with no information that can be used to carry out the investigation. For instance, in case of murder/homicide, where one person was killed, the rain can wash the blood that might have been poured, and the direction of the footsteps which could show the direction and stance taken by the involved parties. In addition, the rain would cool the body hence affecting the results of algor mortis examination. As a result of bacteria found in the environment, the body might become decomposed making the color appear green and swelling of the body. The people in the surrounding area forms part of the environment and these can also interfere with the evidence available at the crime scene hence giving wrong DNA results.
Belur, J., Tilley, N.V., Osrin, D., Daruwalla, N.M., Kumar, M., & Tiwari, V. (2014). Police investigations: discretion denied yet undeniably exercised. Policing & society, 25 5, 439-462 .
Gray, D., Coon, H., McGlade, E., Callor, W., Byrd, J., & Viskochil, J. et al. (2014). Comparative Analysis of Suicide, Accidental, and Undetermined Cause of Death Classification. Suicide And Life-Threatening Behavior, 44(3), 304-316. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12079
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