Orensic Pathology Case Study: The 19-Year-Old Male”

Read the below case study and answer the questions that follow:

The body of a 19-year-old male is found on the roadway, alongside a vehicle that hit a tree. Three of the four doors of the vehicle have popped open. 2 other bodies are also found at the scene.

On examination at the Morgue, the decedent above referenced is found to have minor abrasions of his chin and right cheek, and his jaw appears slightly distorted. However, upon palpation of the mandible, it is found to be grossly unstable, with subsequent X-Ray demonstrating 19 distinct fractures of the jaw between the Right and Left Mandibular Rami.

At autopsy, his trachea is found to be filled with vomitus. No other injuries are demonstrable, although there is some fluid residue found in the stomach, smelling of alcohol.

a) Given these findings, what are the possible causes of death? Which do you believe to be the most likely cause of death?

b) Is it obvious from the injury pattern where the decedent was sitting in the vehicle? If not obvious, where do you believe it likely the decedent was sitting, and why? How would you go about investigating his location to confirm or refute your impression as to his location in the vehicle?