Main differences between a suicide hanging and a faked homicide

In the dimness of a Victorian attic, the body of an individual is found suspended from the beams. At first glance, the body shows no initial signs of decomposition, suggesting a recent event. As one draws closer, the absence of life becomes starkly evident through the cold, empty stare that seems to cast a silent accusation. This discovery raises an immediate question: What circumstances led to this person’s demise?


Securing the Scene

The first step in any crime scene investigation is to secure the physical integrity and preservation of evidence. Following standard protocols, it is crucial to block unauthorized access using police barrier tape and to secure doors and windows, taking precautions not to contaminate the scene.

Initial Forensic Analysis

The preliminary forensic inspection focuses not only on the victim but also on the surrounding environment. Every element within the room—from stains to the arrangement of furniture—can provide vital clues about the events leading to death.


Signs of Conflict

Signs of struggle, such as disordered furniture or marks on the floor, suggest an act of violence. The absence of means for the victim to elevate themselves to the point of suspension raises doubts about suicide, pointing to third-party involvement.

Importance of Blood Evidence

The presence of blood, especially beyond the immediate perimeter of the victim, indicates a potentially violent act. Modern blood spatter pattern analysis can reveal crucial details about the victim’s and assailant’s final movements.


A detailed examination of the corpse can offer decisive clues. Signs of defense, such as scratches or tissue under the nails, bruises, or unusual ligature marks, may indicate a fight for life. These findings are crucial for reconstructing the final events.

Motive and Opportunity

Traditional criminology holds that a crime requires a motive and an opportunity. The investigation should explore possible motives behind the act, considering factors such as personal conflicts, debts, or vendettas.


Meticulous preservation of the crime scene is fundamental. An intact scene is a rich source of information for forensic analysts, allowing for a detailed reconstruction of events. Evidence of suicide versus foul play is determined as much by the obvious details as by the subtleties of the scene.

This structured and detailed approach provides a solid foundation for subsequent investigation, ensuring that all potential clues are carefully examined in the context of the crime scene.